“So, dad, I hear you skipped work today.”
“Yeah, I felt pretty bad. I should be all set for Sunday, though.”
“Well that’s good. I’d rather you sick now than too sick to make the chili.”
“The package is on the way. I should get it Friday.”
“Glad to hear it. I hope it does some good.”
“This game is going to be a lot closer than everyone thinks it’ll be. We’re gonna win this thing.”
“Maybe. They just have so many weapons. It’ll come down to the pass rush. Listen, dad, I gotta jet. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Let’s Go Giants.”
I was eight years old when the New York Giants beat the Buffalo Bills in the SuperBowl. I don’t remember Norwood’s kick sailing wide right, but I do remember the moment after. The Giants burst into celebration on the sideline, and Bill Parcells was smiling as he ran on to the field in that sweater he wore. My dad picked me up and tossed me into the air and I was terrified that I’d bang my head against the ceiling. We were all laughing and cheering. My grandfather, my father and me. And the Giants at Tampa Stadium.
That was the purest moment of sport I had ever experienced. Three generations of men (or, rather, two generations of men and one generation of me) that had grown up within a dozen miles of Giants Stadium watched one of the most amazing displays we could possibly watch. Neither before nor since have I seen my father that happy. The fan in me was defined that Sunday night, as we celebrated in the living room.
Every year, on SuperBowl Sunday, my dad watches the Giants/Bills game, and the Giants/Broncos game from 4 years earlier. You remember SuperBowl XXI, right? It’s the one where the Denver receivers stopped running cross routes in the second half because they were terrified. He makes his chili as the grainy VHS tapes are playing, and pulls out every piece of Giants merchandise he owns. Last year, the Nintendo Wii was incorporated into the pregame festivities. This year, the Wii’s coming back and is being joined by a Giants rug and Lawrence Taylor Fathead.
The reason why I want the Giants to win is because of my father.
I was asked how folks from New Jersey pick their teams. It’s a family thing. Seeing the man or woman that raised you happy makes you happy. Taking a roadtrip to a patch of the greenest grass on Earth that is surrounded by 60,000 fans makes memories that never fade. Nowadays, I know more about the daily goings on of the New England Patriots than I do about the Giants’. I’m not as familiar with the non-Strahan-and-Umenyiora elements of the defensive line as I should be. I flat-out hate the tight end. I remeber the stench of Giants Stadium more than the turf. But they’re the team I picked when I was being tossed into the air as a child. They’re mine.
I’ve been adopted by Patriots fans because I know as much about their team as they do. Gillette Stadium is beautiful. The Kraft family is intelligent and charitable. Tom Brady is legend. And I cheer for New England every game.
Except this one.
So I suppose that’s my prediction for the SuperBowl. I predict that I’ll be cheering hard for New York.
Hey dad, Let’s Go Giants.
This is the 5th installment in today’s PICKSTRAVAGANZA by the Nerds on Sports staff. Check back on the hour from 11 AM to 4 PM for more “insight” from the nerds.