Yankees versus Red Sox! Tomatoes versus no tomatoes! Comical accents versus . . . other comical accents! But Giants versus Patriots? Is the Super Bowl really a New York/Boston rivalry game, as suggested by John Buccigross on SportsCenter this morning? Let's run the numbers.
Yes, in many ways Boston versus New York is a true rivalry. Boston has long envied New York's usurpation of Boston's place in the financial and commercial world; New York has long been intensely annoyed by Boston continuing to consider itself the center of the universe despite that usurpation.
And it's also true that Boston has been getting the better of New York in many ways recently, from the recent dominance of the Red Sox and Celtics, to the installation of a Bostonian as mayor of New York City, to (SPOILER ALERT) the fact that the mysterious creature that destroys lower Manhattan in the movie Cloverfield turns out to be an giant, irradiated, developmentally challenged 11 year-old from Swampscott, Mass.
But how does that have fuck-all to do with a Patriots-Giants Super Bowl matchup?
The real NY/Boston football rivalry is between the Pats and the Jets, who play in the same conference and division. The Giants and Patriots only play each other once every four years, and even then nobody cares--scores of Giants fans sold their tickets to this year's game to day-tripping Patriots fans intent on seeing the completion of a perfect regular season in person. Can you imagine Yankee fans doing the same thing in the same situation?
The big problem with this meme is that it treats New York sports fans as a monolithic entity. In fact there are many sub-species of New York fan, many of whom hate each other, and many of whom couldn't care less about any potential rivalry game between the Giants and Pats. Because we here at the GRBG are nothing if not sticklers for precision in socio-athletic taxonomy, here is a breakdown of the four main species of New York fan:
Roots for the Giants and Yankees, the two most popular teams in the region. This sub-species includes both front-running locals and casual arriviste sports fans who can't be arsed to seek out coverage of the less popular franchises. The former can be identified by their mustaches; the latter by their late arrivals and constant Blackberry use. This is the group most likely to care about this Super Bowl, as their Yankee roots cause their hatred of Boston to bleed over into football.
Roots for the Jets and Mets. Includes those who can only afford to buy remaindered sports gear, those attracted to lost causes, and people in Queens. The easiest way to identify t. zeilonius is to mention the name of a former Met or Jet player; if an answering call of anguish immediately follows, you've made a positive ID. This group is actually likely to root for the Patriots in this Super Bowl, out of a combination of antipathy for the Giants and a Stockholm Syndrome-like identification with their Patriot tormentors.
Roots for the Jets and Yankees. Characterized by wild mood swings, as the smug self-certainty of baseball season gives way to the free-floating anxiety of football season. Identifiable from their nesting patterns on Long Island. Were planning to root heavily against the Patriots, until the fucking Giants somehow got to the Super Bowl again, goddammit.
Roots for the Giants and Mets. Only rarely observed in nature, these reclusive creatures nearly all came of age as sports fans in the mid-'80's when both franchises were good at the same time. They have nothing in particular against Boston, but would like to finally see one of their teams win something as it's been since..., well, the mid-'80's.
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So there you have it--out of the four main sub-species, only one will really view this as a rivalry game. So not only will this meme irritate the rest of the country by forcing more Boston/NY talk down their throats, it's also flatly wrong. For all of the above reasons, this meme gets a 7 on the pre-Super Bowl Story Desparation Scale. Try again, guys.