Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Giants/Patriots - The Dilemma Begins

We have a small dilemma at the Monaghan home - we need to pick a team to root for in the upcoming Super Bowl.

First things first - I covered the Jets and Giants for three years in the mid-90's while at WNEW-FM spending virtually every weekend at Giants Stadium during that time. I had always followed both local football teams, but never declared allegiance to either much to the dismay of those people who claim you can't root for both teams. Fact is, when you cover a team you get to know the players a bit, you start to like them and then you start to pull for them. So yes, you CAN root for both teams (except of course when they play each other and then I generally pull for the Giants).

Unlike my undying allegiance to the Red Sox in baseball, when it comes to football I really don't have that one team that I call mine. On the contrary, I freely admit to hopping on the bandwagon of whatever team is hot, or I find a player I really like and root for his team. In high school it was Gene Washington of 49ers. I loved watching San Francisco QB John Brodie and Washington pick apart opposing defenses. And if it happened to be against the Cowboys, so much the better. The one year I played high school football, I kept trying to find a jersey with the numer 18 on it.

I stayed with San Francisco through Jerry Rice's Hall Of Fame career (Trivia - the only personalized jersey I own from any sport has RICE across the back). I still can't fathom what Rice was thinking when he decided to appear on Dancing With the Stars, but that's a discussion for another time and place. Jerry Rice was blessed with good speed and great hands, and was fortunate enough to have Joe Montana and Steve Young throwing the ball to him for most of his career.

I have been following Tom Brady's career since his rookie season. It's just my humble opinion, but I think he is going to go down as the greatest NFL quarterback of all time. He has lost exactly one postseason game in his already-remarkable career that is absolutely destined to take him to Canton, Ohio when his playing days are done. I would LOVE to see him cap off this incredible season with a perfect 19-0 record.

But then there's the case of Eli Manning. I've heard all the complaints from the agoraphobes who call into the radio shows, and the armchair quarterbacks masquerading as media types who haven't played a meaningful football game since high school (assuming they even made their high school team). "He can't play under pressure." "He throws off the wrong foot." "He can't play in bad weather." "He's not as good as his brother." Seems to me that over the course of the 2007 regular season - and especially over the past 5 or 6 weeks - Eli Manning has knocked a lot of things off that list this season, including big wins in the playoffs over both Dallas and Green Bay. So I am pulling for him to have a stellar game in 12 days.

Who to root for - history (you don't get to see 19-0 very often) or the kid who personifies the much beloved underdog?

By the way, the last time I was faced with a similar dilemma was during the 1986 World Series. Torn between which team to root for, I ultimately opted for the Red Sox. We all know how that one turned out. Stay tuned; this could be interesting.

No comments: