Eagles, Red Sox, Patriots, Post-2008 Jets Fans: ONE IN THE SAME?
I’m starting to genuinely wonder this. I’m not even trying to be funny with the sentiment, either. Think about it — particularly if you are a fan of any or all of the New York professional sports teams. That includes the New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers in hockey, which is just as heated of a rivalry as any of the other sports.
Anyone with eyes and ears knows the rivalries go like this (as pertains to New York teams):
Note: Most of these are consensus, with there always being outliers and exceptions.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
New York Football Giants.
Most Bitter Rival: Philadelphia Eagles.
Other Hated Teams: Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots.
Rival (to Lesser Extent): New York Jets (since 2008-only), Washington Redskins.
BREAKDOWN: The Eagles are a natural rival for the Giants, as the two teams have faced off annually since 1934. The Giants own the overall series lead over the Eagles, despite the Giants being inept for a decade and a half from the late 1960s until the early 1980s — when the Eagles made the Super Bowl.
The Giants have been to four (4) Super Bowls; winning 3, including being the only NFL franchise to win Super Bowls in three consecutive decades.
The Eagles have only been to the Super Bowl twice, losing both times.
Their fans, with no meaningful championships to hang their hats on, rest their laurels completely on the fact that their team has eked out 4 of the last 6 games (all Eagles wins) during the regular season.
The “rivalry” is more steeped in inferiority on the end of Eagles fans, and therefore they resort to bragging about regular season games that non one outside of the mid-Atlantic states care about until ESPN, NBC or CBS mentions it during the games that they cover.
I shudder to think what will become of them when the Giants defeat them this season.
The Cowboys rivalry is slightly — SLIGHTLY less intense between Giants and Cowboys. Interestingly enough, the rivalry between players of the Giants and Cowboys is more vicious on the field than it is off. Only until recently did Eagles and Giants players develop a genuine (mutual, anyway — Eagles players have always hated Giants players) distaste for one another. Giants and Eagles fans physically fight more. Cowboys fans have bragged about ancient Super Bowl wins less and less over the past 5-6 years, as they have only won one (1) playoff game since Deion Sanders’ turf toe injury, Emmitt Smith’s departure to Arizona, LaVar Arrington abruptly ending Troy Aikman’s career, and of course, Michael Irvin’s career coming to a vicious halt — in Philadelphia, at the worst NFL stadium ever, Veteran’s Stadium — with Eagles fans… wait for it… CHEERING BECAUSE THEY INITIALLY THOUGHT IRVIN WAS PARALYZED.
THIS IS ONE OF THE DOZENS OF REASONS WHY EAGLES FANS ARE THE WORST IN ALL OF PROFESSIONAL SPORTS.
Far too much bravado from a team that has NEVER WON A SUPER BOWL.
The Skins have been also-rans since Daniel Snyder purchased the team about 15 years ago. They’ve been largely irrelevant other than making the publications for the wrong reasons. They’ve won three (3) Super Bowls, but none in 20 years. Redskins fans expect their guys to lose to the Giants at this point, so the rivalry has been reduced to “we own you” level worthlessness. I don’t even hate Washington anymore, unless they play spoiler (and succeed; which has been rare).
New York Jets.
Pre-2008 Jets fans, FOR THE MOST PART, are decent. True Jets and True Giants fans are almost similar: largely pessimistic, always expecting the worst (because both teams have committed some of the all-time worst blunders in the history of the NFL on multiple occasions) and most Giants fans are apathetic about the Jets unless the two teams are playing — or if the Giants are eliminated and the Jets are advancing into the playoffs, which outside of 1998, has been extremely rare. However, those become “Pull for the Home Team” scenarios.
However, with Brett Favre (albeit a shell of his former self by 2008) coming to town, and then Rex Ryan as new Head Coach the following season, and his thus-far Patrick Ewing-esque predictions at the beginning and throughout the duration of every season — their fans (obviously jumping onto the bandwagon since Favre and subsequently, Ryan, came to town) have developed this unfounded bravado and have become delusional about the demographics of the New York Tri-State fandom and the history of both teams. They have become almost the twin to Eagles, Patriot and Red Sox fans.
New England Patriots.
This one is largely personal for most long-time Giants fans for several reasons. Not in the least cheating their way to three *Super Bowl Wins.
* – NFL confirmed that the Patriots cheated and gained an edge by videotaping teams’ walkthroughs and practices.
New York Jets.
Most Bitter Rival: Miami Dolphins/New England Patriots (Tie — New England 2001-Present, Miami 1960-1999).
Other Hated Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rival (to Lesser Extent): New York Football Giants.
BREAKDOWN: The Jets have been historic rivals with the Dolphins for decades, although it has largely cooled since Dan Marino’s retirement in 1999. Despite each other’s place in the standings, the Jets have given the Dolphins fits and vice versa for the past 50 years. The rivalry became intense in the late 1990s, as the Dolphins were still making the playoffs, but fading, and the Jets put together a decent run to end the 1990s.
New England Patriots.
A natural, geographic rivalry, the teams have flip-flopped “ownership” of the other several times over the 50 seasons of both teams’ existence. Many players and coaches have had tenure on both teams, forming an even more personal and intense rivalry. The Patriots have demolished the Jets most of the new millennium, but the Rex Ryan Jets have broken through a few times in 2+ seasons and it has been cause for the rivalry to be renewed and intensified. Probably one of the most evenly-matched rivalries in the NFL as of 2011.
This rivalry is more about overcoming obstacles than a series like the Giants and Eagles, which is relatively close. The Steelers virtually own the Jets historically, but the Jets have faced the Steelers a few times in the past 15 years in the playoffs and have been unable to defeat them.
New York Giants.
Only Post-2008 Jet fans know why they hate (jealousy???) the Giants, but Pre-2008 fans tend not to, and feel nothing more than the backlash of the Big Brother attitude displayed by Giants players, even the team itself (the Stadium that both teams shared for 25 years bore the Giants’ name for 33 years) and especially the fans. Giants fans had no reason to hate the Jets nor their fans until 2008-2009, when Jet fans began becoming insufferable for reasons unbeknownst to anyone in the NFL.
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
New York Knicks.
Most Bitter Rival: Chicago Bulls/Miami Heat (Tie — Chicago 1989-1998, Miami 1995-Present).
Other Hated Teams: Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics.
Rival (to Lesser Extent): New Jersey Nets.
This was all about Michael Jordan and the inability to defeat the Bulls in any playoff series faced against Michael Jordan from 1989-1998. The rivalry is all but dead, with only flickering flames and the desire by the media to rekindle it.
This is actually the Knicks’ current and most bitter rival. It all began when Pat Riley accepted a cushy setup in Miami to become the coach of the Heat in 1995, a summer following the Knicks’ NBA Finals appearance. The Knicks were poised to get back to the Finals in 1996, and mostly fell flat with the shake-up in coaching, with Jeff Van Gundy assuming the reins from Riley.
The Heat and Knicks met in the playoffs seemingly annually for years, including a seminal match in the 1997 NBA Playoffs, where a huge brawl ensued. The Knicks were the only rival to the Bulls that year (as even Michael Jordan has repeatedly admitted in the years since). The Knicks lost 3 of their top 4 scoring threats due to the suspensions that were the result of the brawl — the beginning of suspensions associated with bench-clearing brawls.
The rivalry has been rekindled as of 2010, with the arrival of LeBron James in Miami and the Knicks becoming semi-relevant in the 2010-2011 season.
Mostly historical, the Celtics have almost completely owned the Knicks, but the New York-Boston dynamic makes the Boston fans’ inferiority complex arise, even when the C’s own the Knicks.
This was a 1990s rivalry, and mostly because of the trash-talk of Reggie Miller, who has been retired for a few years. The Pacers have been just as irrelevant and inept as the Knicks have been since 2003.
New Jersey Nets.
Lopsided series record, but the Nets had a stretch (with Jason Kidd manning the point guard position) where they rolled the Knicks for nearly a decade, including playoffs. The Nets do not matter in the grand scheme of things in New York, the tri-state and even in New Jersey, as their “fans” number less than 10,000 every home game. They’re going to always pale in comparison in number (fan-wise) to the Knicks, even when (if) they move to Brooklyn and gather up all the fake new “Brooklynites” in “Billyburg” who will just be looking for something to do… all while NOT watching the game, nor understanding/caring what’s taking place on the court.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
New York Mets.
Most Bitter Rival: Philadelphia Phillies.
Other Hated Teams: Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins, New York Yankees.
Rival (to Lesser Extent): Colorado Rockies.
BREAKDOWN: The Phillies and Mets go back for years and they are nasty rivals. The series is rather even since the early 1980s, with the Mets mostly owning the Phillies early and the Phillies in the past decade. The Phillies winning the 2008 World Series — the only Philadelphia-area championship of ANY SORT in 25 years at the time, despite bragging by all Philadelphia sports fans that would suggest otherwise — was probably the worst thing that could have happened in Mets fans (and Yankee fans also) minds, as the Phillies will never cease attempting to hold this over the Mets’ heads until the Mets win another World Series.
The Yankees, however, defeated the Phillies in the 2009 World Series, so the Mets temporarily took pleasure in that result.
New York Yankees.
Most Bitter Rival: Boston Red Sox.
Other Hated Teams: Philadelphia Philles, Tampa Bay Rays.
Rival (to Lesser Extent): Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
BREAKDOWN: The Red Sox have been inferior to the Yankees since both teams’ inception. The Yankees have won 4 times the World Series titles that the Red Sox have, 40 pennants and, unlike Boston, didn’t go 86 years without winning a *World Series.
* – Denotes Team Loaded With Steroid Cheats.
The Red Sox have spent as much as the Yankees since 2001, and have been able to acquire talent commensurate with the Yankees’ over the past 15 years. However, despite a relatively even series split since 2001, Red Sox fans take far too much pleasure in regular season wins and failing to remember the numerous seasons where the Yankees ended their season (ask them about 1978 — perennial Lawn Chairs, FOLDING) or won World Series while the Red Sox were scuffling just to reach .500.
The Phillies are irrelevant to the Yankees, but their fans and players are disgusting and impossible for any New Yorker to root for. Besides, all the bragging the Phillies fans did before the 2009 World Series began (ceased) and the renewed bragging after acquiring pitcher Cliff Lee, who the Yankees courted heavily late in 2010, has developed a semi-rivalry/distaste amongst fans only.
Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays are division rivals and have been hyper-competitive since 2007. No long-term history between the two teams, however. They’ve been playing spoiler to the Yankees the past four seasons.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Angels have OWNED the Yankees during the regular season, as well as the 2005 ALCS. The Yankees’ defeat of the Angels in 2009 was a major obstacle to overcome. However, this is not a bitter rivalry.
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
New York Islanders.
WHO CARES ABOUT THE ISLES?
New York Rangers.
Most Bitter Rival: Philadelphia Flyers.
Other Hated Teams: Boston Bruins.
Rival (to Lesser Extent): Washington Capitals.
BREAKDOWN: All you need to know is 1973.
All of this sets the premise and the unction for writing this. Philadelphia and Boston fans hating New York teams is one thing, but fans of the Football Giants, Knicks and Yankees get just as much vitriol hurled at them (fanbase vs. fanbase, even players vs. players, although many of them are friends off the court/field — they buy into the rivalry a bit) from their crosstown city-mates than fans from Philadelphia and Boston.
While the Giants and Jets play in East Rutherford in New Jersey, everyone knows it’s still New York by default: the Giants played in Harlem originally, at the old Polo Grounds, and the Jets began play in a couple of the baseball parks in the city as well, the latest being Shea Stadium (RIP) before moving to East Rutherford for the 1984 season.
The New Jersey Nets, who currently play in Newark’s Prudential Centre, played in East Rutherford as well, at the old Brendan Byrne/Continental Airlines/etc. etc. etc. Arena for years, including the period when Jason Kidd led the Nets to several wins and playoff success over the Knicks.
However, the most startling aspect of these intra-city rivalries is the complex that Met fans have. Many assert that the Yankees attempt to “buy” championships, when the Mets have perennially had a Top 5 payroll dating back to the Frank Cashen days. (Cash)en lived up to his name in every regard, until the Wilpons forced him to reel in his spending in the early 1990s. The Mets continued to invest big bucks in pricey free agents such as Mo Vaughn and Billy Wagner, as well as Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran. Stop it, Met fans. The Yanks spend big bucks. The Mets spend big bucks. Met players have been a M*A*S*H* unit for most of the past 10-11 years, and it is unfortunate, but outside of the 2000 Subway Series/World Series, Yankee fans have no distaste for Met fans. In fact, most of us support them because they represent New York City.
As someone who was a Met fan from 1984-1988, I certainly have no issue with Met fans, and most Yankee fans (the real ones) don’t either. To this day, most of us do not, but Met fans only begrudgingly supported the Yankees in the 2009 World Series, because it meant that Met fans would not have to deal with ragging by Phillies fans who would chant “Back to Back!” year-round otherwise. The support should have been unconditional, for the same reason Yankee fans would support the Mets, particularly if the two were not facing one another and the Mets advanced beyond the Yankees.
Jet fans (of the post-2008 variety) have become as insufferable as a whole of late. Their coach is a blowhard, but a damn good coach. However, he promises more wins and guarantees Super Bowls every year, taking over the reins of that job that was vacated by Patrick Ewing when was traded to Seattle SuperSonics in 2000.
The Giants’ success, history and prestige far outweighs the Jets’, and there is no rhyme, rationale or reason for the rampant “Giants Suck!”, “You guys are ‘wawshed’!” and worse yet, “The Jets run New York, the Giants haven’t won anything in years (3 to be exact???)”
Anyway, you’d expect that from a bitter out of town rival, not from someone who shares a stadium with you, and were your LESSEES for 25 years. Jet fans (again, Post-2008 mostly, not the old guard) feel and sound like Eagles, Red Sox and Patriots all rolled up into one.
AND THEY’RE IN OUR BACKYARD, AS GIANTS FANS.
Talk about keeping your “enemies” closer or thinking someone’s got your back when they turned out to be setting you up like Brutus and Caesar.
GET A GRIP.