Fans across the country are gearing up for the Super Bowl -- and, if a short-lived intraoffice feud is any proof, the denizens of the Hart Senate Office Building are no exception.
The rivalry started small, with a "Go Patriots" sign appearing Monday in the window of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). Then came the jerseys for the team's BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Wes Welker.
That's when staff from the office of Sen. Robert Menendez's (D-N.J.), which is directly across from the office of Shaheen, decided to retaliate, invoking their claim on the Giants, who play and train in New Jersey.
"Our friends from the great state of New Hampshire put this huge 'Go Patriots' sign and taped it across their window," said Tricia Enright, Menendez's communications director. "It was like the length of a hallway between us. So we responded."
"We're obviously not as artistic, but our young folks here responded with their own 'Go New Jersey Giants,'" she added.
"And then the Shaheen folks started putting Patriots jerseys in the window," Enright said. "I guess our folks here don't own their own jerseys, so were were unable to go tit for tat. But the signage got larger and larger."
"The Granite State support for the Patriots is rock solid," said Al Killeffer, Shaheen's deputy press secretary. "They put up a 'Go, New Jersey Giants' sign, sort of making a joke of New Jersey. It was inaccurate and sad, is the way we felt."
The mounting feud came to an abrupt halt on Wednesday after a Senate Rules Committee email instructed both offices to dismantle the displays.
"You're not allowed to hang things in the Senate windows," Killeffer said. "The senator was obviously not trying to disrespect this prestigious institution ... We just have a lot of fans in the office."
The decorations are gone for now, but Enright says the Menendez camp isn't calling off the fight. "We have to figure out a way to continue the rivalry without running afoul of the Rules Committee," she said. "The funny thing is our boss didn't know anything about it."
Shaheen's staffers, for their part, say they're planning some sort of food bet for next week. In the meantime, the senator is hoping the feud draws some attention to a pending issue -- a TV contract dispute that Shaheen says could prevent New Hampshire residents from watching the game. "Yes, even Giants fans deserve to watch #SuperBowl," she tweeted to one follower.