So this is what it feels like to root for the good guys.
In the past, the Boston-New York dynamic always boiled down to the poor Red Sox getting beaten up by the big bad Yankees. But now the roles have reversed; now, the New York team is the underdog. The New York team is the one who has the opportunity to beat the villains.
Indeed, when the New England Patriots and New York Giants step onto the field Sunday night at the Super Bowl Championship, the game is not the only prize up for grabs. For the Patriots of course, a perfect season and immortality hangs in the balance. For the Giants, they have the opportunity to pull off arguably the biggest upset in sports’ history while rejuvenating a regional fan base that is in desperate need of something to gloat about.
That’s because things just haven’t been the same in New York and Boston ever since the calendar flipped to 2001. The Patriots and Red Sox have combined for five world championships in that time, with a possible sixth title that could be won on Sunday.
Meanwhile, New Yorkers are the ones suffering through epic collapses and heartbreak thanks to their favorite local teams.
That’s where the Giants come in. Suddenly, New York fans have a shot at some redemption. It’s not going to be easy, but that would make it all the more satisfying if the Giants win. If the Patriots lose in the Super Bowl, then 18-0 suddenly becomes an empty accomplishment. Regular season records mean nothing without a championship trophy. Case in point, everyone remembers the 1998 Yankees, but who remembers the 2001 Seattle Mariners?
A win by the Giants and it’s the feel good, Cinderella story of the 2007 NFL season. This is a team that started 0-2 by allowing 70 points to the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. This is a coach in Tom Coughlin who might have already been fired if his team had lost four weeks ago. This is a quarterback in Eli Manning who is in the middle of writing an amazing tale of redemption that began in Week 17 against these very Patriots.
As for the game between the lines, everyone knows the story. The Patriots win if the Giants simply cannot keep pace with the Tom Brady show on offense. The Giants win if Eli continues his stellar, mistake-free play and the defense manages to, at the very least, force the Patriots into kicking a few field goals.
Can the Giants pull off the upset? Anything is possible. Would you want to bet your life on it? I’m not so sure. Luckily no one will have to do that on Sunday. Instead, you can dream and pray for a Red and Blue ticker tape parade through the Canyon of Heroes next week.
Impartiality be damned: let’s go Giants.