I'm a baseball fan who doesn't care about football. The Super Bowl was, I believe, the second game I've watched this season. But I watched the Giants upset the Patriots with all the fervor and enthusiasm of a lifelong pigskin enthusiast.
Why did I care at all, let alone so passionately? It all goes back to 2002, when the Pats won their first Super Bowl. What did the fans chant at the victory parade? "Yankees suck! Yankees suck!" It seemed appropriate, somehow, given that the Yanks, who at the time were the four-time defending American League champions, had been driving stakes through the Red Sox's hopes and dreams for over three quarters of a century. No mere football team could erase a pain so deep and long-lasting, but at least they gave Bostonians an opportunity to vent during the off-season.
Back in '02, this lifelong New Yorker and Yankees fan was happy that the Pats had won the big one, given that New England sports fans had endured a 16-year drought without any of their sports franchises winning a dang thing. And I enjoyed the "Yankees suck!" chants, in a way that only a sports fan who'd grown used to winning, and winning often, could enjoy them.
Six years later, the tables had turned, in a huge way. The Red Sox had won not one, but two World Series, and had stomped on the Yanks on the way to the first one. And if that's not bad enough for New York sports fans, the Celtics currently have the best record in the NBA while the Knicks stumble through yet another pathetic, embarrassing season. And the Patriots were chasing not only their fourth Super Bowl title this decade, but the title of Greatest Team In The History Of The NFL. And only the Giants stood in their way.
So I watched the Super Bowl not as a Giants fan, but as a Yankees fan desperate for some measure of revenge, even if it was in a different sport.
I don't think I'd ever heard the name Plaxico Burress until about a month ago, but now the man is my hero. And Eli Manning didn't just invent the cotton gin, he's a heck of a quarterback as well.
A New York team spoiled the Patriots' perfect season AND derailed the Boston sports juggernaut. While I wait for the long winter to end and get ready for pitchers and catchers to report, life is sweet.
Go Big Blue! Red Sox suck!