It's been an exciting week for a NY football fan. The Jets faced the biggest challenge of their season, trying to avenge the hometown loss to the Patriots in week two. "Avenge" may be too strong a word, but they came away with a win, in overtime. After beating the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo last Sunday, this was a huge step toward being a real contender in the overall NFL. Eric Mangini is young, but he's "earning his stripes" right now, as a head coach. Bret Favre has earned his stripes, as a guaranteed Hall of Fame quarterback, and willingly works under a coach that's younger than he is. These are a few of the things that make me like the Jets this year.
They have the foundation of a "great" team, and will develop into one, given time. They are leading their division, after beating two of their toughest rivals on hostile turf. The Jets are also known for collapsing at the end of the season, which is a worry for every team, but an all-tooconstant for Jets fans, in the past. Of course, last year they only won 3 games, so all expecations of a "late season crash" were moot. This year, I'm proud that the Jets have a record worth worrying about!
If you didn't notice, the Jets are my SECOND favorite football team. I was born in Manhattan, and raised a NY GIANTS fan! My mother had a friend at their office in the '70's, and she gave us a football signed by the whole team, including Ron Johnson and Fran Tarkenton. The Giants stunk back then, but they were my team. I remember a news cartoon from the '70's, when our enemy Dallas was dominant, that showed a guy in a Giants uniform saying "Who cares who shot JR? I killed Dallas," when we beat them one year.
All reminiscing aside, the Giants have developed into the most powerful team in the NFL, perhaps more dominant than they were under Parcells. Head Coach Tom Coughlin has created an amazing chemistry in his team, with signifigant roster changes. Since Coughlin became head coach, the team has lost Tiki Barber, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Jeremy Shockey, and several other great players. Somehow, they're still 9-1. This is a great team, which I'm proud to be a fan of.
Look at how the Giants "dismantled" the Ravens. It was a sloppy game by both teams, but the Giants attacked the core of the Ravens' game plan: they ran the ball down their throat. The Ravens had allowed an average of 65 rushing yards per game, before this. Giants running back Brandon Jacobs broke that yardage in the first half, and the Giants ran for over 200 yards in the game. That's going to signifigantly raise the Ravens' "rushing yards allowed per game" average.
It's week 11 of 17, and things are shaping up. The Giants face the toughest schedule of any team, for the remainder of the season. When I first saw the Giants' schedule, at the beginning of the year, I had fits of terror. All of the toughest teams are piled up in the final stretch of the season, and how many more players would we lose, by then? "Then" being "now," it doesn't seem to matter what players the Giants have on the field, as long as they're part of "the team." They struggle sometimes, but have shown a will to win that "dominates" most of the on-field battles.
I see the Jets as the Giants' "little brother," much as I see the Mets as the same to the Yankees. The Jets play against the only undefeated team in the NFL, the Tennissee (sp?) Titans, next week. I wish the Giants were playing them, but it would be fitting if the Jets beat them. If they can "step up" to beat the only undefeated team in the NFL, Jets fans will have something to counter Giant fans' taunts. I really think the Jets can beat the Titans next week, but I don't bet, so I can't "put my money where my mouth is," as they say.
This is a NY football fan's dream, for both of my teams to be in first place in their divisions, and on a "hot streak," to boot! I've waited too long to write about football, this season! GO, NEW YORK GIANTS, and J-E-T-S!
Here's a funny anecdote: NYers are wearing "cheescake" heads, to welcome Favre to NY. It's not pretty, but it's pretty funny! Only in NY, kids!