Posts Tagged ‘NY Giants’

Confessions of a Michael Vick-loving Giants Fan

I live in New Jersey.  Let the jokes begin.  Sure we are known for the “Jersey Shore” reality TV show, the Sopranos and other ridiculously exaggerated representations of our state.  But New Jersey also has many other features that make it truly “special”.  What other state has a 24 hour diner every few miles?  Where else can you learn to navigate a “jug handle” and do it with attitude?  If you’re not from New Jersey, you are probably scratching your head about the exact meaning of a jug handle.  Drive here some time and you will discover this creative traffic phenomenon.

Unlike New Hampshire or New Mexico, we are so unique that people often drop the “New” part of our name and simply call us “Jersey”.   Did you ever hear anyone refer to the home state of the Yankees as “York”?  So while we are used as a punch line for late night comedians, our many distinctive qualities at least keep us from being boring!

Unless you live here, you may not realize that we are also a state divided.  New Jersey is basically two giant suburbs.  Southern Jersey seems like one huge Philadelphia suburb, while the north is like a giant suburb of New York City.  For such a little state, we are quite defensive about our residency.  Ask a Jersey native where they grew up, and the answer will be North Jersey, Central Jersey, or South Jersey – never, ever merely NEW Jersey! 

 In the South, if you want to order some turkey and Swiss cheese in a long roll, it is called a hoagie.  In the North, it is called a sub.  Want some of those tiny multicolored candy bits on your ice cream?  South Jersey locals call them jimmies, while many in North Jersey call them sprinkles.  When it comes to sports, the division is even more palpable.  South Jersey residents root for the Eagles and Northerners cheer for the Giants.  What about the Jets, you ask?  They seem to have a following that defies boundaries.

As a resident of Northern NJ, I have been a faithful NY Giants fan for years.  Though they are the NEW YORK Giants, we host them here at the Meadowlands and I consider them our very own team.  I root for Big Blue week in and week out.  There are NY Giants football ornaments on my Christmas tree, a tiny neurotic Maltese who wears a Big Blue jersey every Sunday and a multitude of other Giants paraphernalia filling my house.  As a loyal Giants fan, I have despised two teams – the Eagles and the Cowboys – with a hatred that would make any Giants enthusiast proud.

But I have a deep, dark secret that I am slowly starting to reveal to others.  I LOVE Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick.  Despite years of perfecting my disdain for the Eagles, I now find myself a closet cheerleader for #7.  I sneak peeks at him on TV, while no one is looking.  Even more shocking, he is my starting QB on my fantasy team and when he plays against the Giants, I feel like a traitor cheering for both him AND Eli.

My Vick obsession was not born out of his recent NFL success.  I was a Vick fan way back when he was the thrilling QB for the Virginia Tech Hokies.  His pure, raw athleticism and ability to make defenders fall helplessly to the ground are magical to me.  Like Michigan’s Denard Robinson, Vick is simply fun and exciting to watch.

I cheered for Vick when he was an Atlanta Falcon and felt betrayed when he fell from grace after being involved in dog fighting.  As a dog owner, I was disgusted by Vick’s actions.  My heart broke as I watched this man of great promise crumble before my very eyes. 

When he went to prison, I never dreamed he would return as a better man.  But redemption is very real and Michael Vick made the decision to repent.  When he was released from incarceration, he truly tried to turn his life around.  He began speaking to young people about the evils of dog fighting and the consequences of making bad decisions.  As I watched and listened to him, I sensed a man with gratitude and with a brand new outlook on life.

Then the unexpected occurred.  He got picked up by my nemesis – the Philadelphia Eagles!  At first, I could hide in the shadows, just lurking around to watch Vick as he got in for an occasional play or two.  As time passed, my affection for Vick once again returned, until finally, last winter I crossed the line.  It was a few weeks before Christmas and my beloved Giants were hosting our arch enemy, the Eagles.  As Sunday approached, I heard more and more mumblings from fellow Giants fans about “Evil Michael Vick”.  There were crude jokes and all sorts of mean, derogatory statements about him.  I found myself feeling very defensive.   Before I knew it, I was making a gigantic poster to take to the game.  It read..

I am a Giants Fan

And a Dog Owner

And I STILL Love Michael Vick

Then, being the nerd that I am, I drew a Christmas tree and finished off my little art project with the phrase “Tis the Season for Forgiveness”.

Any teenage girl who has ever had a big crush can tell you that when it comes to things like this, reason goes out the window.  Therefore, without thinking about the consequences, I proudly carried my sign through the Meadowlands parking lot, dressed head to toe in Giants clothing.  The reaction was not pretty.  Sure, I was booed.  But since it was a night game and many fans had been tailgating for a few hours, I got lots of intoxicated rants that would make even Tony Soprano blush.  Before I reached the turnstiles, I crumbled my sign and cowardly threw it in the trash.  

By last spring, I was once again a full-blown Michael Vick fan, but wisely decided to keep my dark little secret to myself.  After all, I live in North Jersey and am a Giants fan.  After my Meadowlands melodrama, I didn’t want another confrontation. 

But when Vick became the starter for the Eagles, I could not contain my excitement.  I simply had to cheer for him.  He was playing like the Vick I first saw at Virginia Tech, but even better!  He no longer relied solely on his legs and pure athletic ability, but now he was reading defenses and using his arm to beat opponents as well.  Again, like a school girl with a crush, I found myself online ordering a Michael Vick Eagles jersey.

The Giants and Eagles face each other this Sunday.   The winner of this game will be in first place in the NFC East.  As I post this blog, I know my secret is out.  They say confession is good for the soul, but football (and a division rivalry game for 1st place) is as serious as it gets.  I am not sure my friends and family who are Giants fans will ever, ever forgive me.

On Sunday, I will proudly wear my Michael Vick jersey and still cheer for the Giants.  Unconventional?  Yes, I suppose it is.  But for this weekend, I will neither be from North Jersey nor from South Jersey.  Instead, I will simply be from Jersey and divide my loyalties between both the Eagles AND the Giants.  Wish me luck getting through the parking lot!

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! A Gridiron-Infused Holiday Song…

Yesterday brought cold, blustery weather to much of the country.  Instead of fighting the bitter wind and the (at times) bitter-like crowds at the mall, I decided to stay in and do a little online shopping.  I wrote out my Christmas cards and wrapped presents, perfectly positioned in front of the TV so I could watch a slew of great NFL games!  Spending the day like that truly put me in a festive mood and reminded me why this is one of my favorite times of the year.

 In the spirit of the holidays and with yesterday’s games in mind, I give you my gridiron-infused version of the classic holiday song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”!  Feel free to sing along to my version or, better yet, click the video to enjoy the traditional song by Johnny Mathis!  Hmm…maybe I have had a bit too much eggnog??!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

With Favre’s shoulder still swelling

And Giants fans yelling

A win may be near

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

It’s the hap-happiest season of all

With 2 Jets defeatings

In rival team meetings

The Pats will stand tall

It’s the hap-happiest season of all

 

There’ll be playoffs for hosting

Mike Vick will be toasting

The Vikings will clear out the snow

There’ll be more Dallas stories

And tales of the glories of

Romo from long, long ago

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

There is Matt Ryan knowing

His record is glowing

And playoffs are near

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

There’ll be victories for boasting

Locker room toasting

Celebrating after the show

There’ll be ESPN stories

And tales of the glories

Of playoffs long, long ago

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Some teams will be going

The beer will be flowing

The fans can cheer!

It’s the most wonderful time

It’s the most wonderful time

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Fantastic Four – Which Four Teams Can Clinch a Playoff Spot Today??

As the season continues, teams throughout the NFL are desperately trying to win in order to receive a coveted playoff spot.  This week brings a number of games with playoff implications.  Four teams can actually clinch a playoff spot today.  Here is a look at the scenarios involved with each team that can propel them into the playoffs!

New England Patriots

Perhaps the best contest of Week 14 is between the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears.  After Monday night’s destruction of the Jets, the Patriots find themselves with the best record (10-2) in the AFC East.  Chicago comes into today’s game at 9-3 and holding only a one game lead over Green Bay in the NFC North.   Though they are in different conferences, both teams desperately want to win this one.

Green Bay plays the Detroit Lions today and should walk away with a win.  If Chicago wants to maintain its first place standing, they need a win vs. the Patriots so they are not tied with the Packers in their division. 

 New England can clinch a spot in the playoffs if they win or tie today.  They also earn a playoff spot if Miami loses or ties AND Jacksonville loses or ties.  Another way the Pats can secure a playoff spot today is with a Miami loss or tie AND an Indianapolis loss or tie.

Tom Brady (it pains me to say) is in “the zone” and is leading the NFL with TD passes (27).  He is in complete command of his team and should win this one, thereby securing a playoff spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The 9-3 Steelers host the struggling Bengals today, who limp in with a 2-10 record.   The Steelers, in first place in the AFC North after defeating the Ravens last week, should dominate this matchup.   The Steelers can secure a playoff spot today if they win and any of the below scenarios takes place:

A Colts loss/tie AND a Patriots win/tie AND a Miami loss/tie

A Colts loss/tie AND a Patriots win/tie AND a Raiders loss/tie AND a Chargers loss/tie

A Colts loss/tie AND a Miami loss/tie AND a Raiders loss/tie

A Miami loss/tie AND a Raiders loss/tie AND a Chargers loss/tie AND a Colts loss

A Jacksonville loss/tie AND a Patriots win/tie AND a Miami loss/tie

New York Jets

After the build up to last week’s Monday Night Football game vs. the Patriots, the Jets were humiliated in the national spotlight.  No one anticipated the 45-3 beating the Jets endured at the hands of Brady and company.   The 9-3 Jets face the struggling Miami Dolphins who are 6-6 and the perfect remedy for the Jets after their MNF embarrassment.  Mark Sanchez will look to redeem himself and Gang Green and unlike last week, should emerge with their heads held high.  The Jets can clinch a playoff spot if they win and any of the following scenarios occurs:

A Chargers loss/tie AND a Jacksonville loss/tie

A Chargers loss/tie AND a Colts loss/tie 

A Raiders loss/tie AND a Chargers loss AND a Colts loss

If the Jets tie today’s game, they can still secure a playoff spot. But, the Raiders would have to lose or tie AND  the Chargers would need to lose AND, finally, the Colts would have to lose.  Yes, the various scenarios involved in teams securing playoff spots can be quite complicated, but it is one of the exciting aspects of this time of year!

Atlanta Falcons

The 10-2 Atlanta Falcons sit atop the NFC South and face the Carolina Panthers who have the worst record in the NFL.  Atlanta should easily win this one and can clinch a playoff spot if they win and any of the following scenarios takes place:

A Giants loss AND an Eagles loss

A Giants loss AND a Packers loss

An Eagles loss AND a Packers loss

If the unthinkable occurs and Atlanta ties the Panthers, they could still secure a playoff spot if the Giants lose AND the Eagles lose AND Green Bay loses AND Tampa Bay loses or ties!

There are lots of other games today and tomorrow that offer excitement in their own right.  Here are a few non-playoff scenarios of interest…

Will Brett Favre keep his NFL streak for consecutive starts, despite the sprain to his throwing shoulder and his inability to throw a pass in practice?  More importantly, how will the blizzard that shut down the Twin Cities and pushed the game from Sunday afternoon to Monday night impact the game?  Will another day of rest allow Favre to start?  Will the layover the Giants were forced to endure in Kansas City affect their play?  We think the Giants win this one, but it may be a bit harder due to the chaos the team has lived through for the past few days.  Being stranded in an airport and forced to eat airport food cannot be the best preparation for an NFL game!  

Will the Dallas Cowboys be a spoiler and defeat the high-flying Eagles and QB phenom Michael Vick?  It’s a Sunday night prime time game, but we think the Eagles will prevail and remain tied for first place with the Giants.  Next Sunday, the tie will be broken when the Eagles and Giants face each other for a critical game.  That is a matchup that cannot be missed!

It’s Week 14 in the NFL!   Make some hot chocolate, wrap up in your favorite comfy blanket and watch the drama unfold!

A Serving of Sunday Showdowns Better than Your Momma’s Best Sunday Dinner!

It is week 12 in the NFL season, which means do or die time for a number of  teams trying to reach the playoffs.  Today’s games offer a football fan’s dream come true in terms of playoff implications and pure adrenaline boosting excitement!  Here are three of today’s key matchups…

Jags vs. the Giants

The Giants are in second place in the NFC East, trailing the Eagles.  After a five game winning streak, they got shocked by the struggling Cowboys, who had just fired their head coach.  The next week, the Eagles served up yet another defeat.  The Giants are playing inconsistently, due in large part to the multitude of injuries plaguing the offensive line and receiving corps.  It is a must win for the Giants.  Their remaining schedule is tough, so they need a victory in order to break their losing streak and get ready for their remaining NFC East division games.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are tied with the Colts for first in the AFC South. It is shocking, given how they started the season.  Frankly, they have been getting lucky in some games this season.  If they lose today, it just may be the start of a long streak of bad luck for the Jags!  Should the Jags fall behind Indy, it will be difficult for them to secure a wildcard spot given all the strong teams in the AFC.

Colts vs. the Chargers

Two phenomenal QBs meet tonight in what will most likely be a high scoring, blazing contest.  San Diego QB Philip Rivers is the top passing QB in the AFC, passing for over 3100 yards this season.  He is a favorite for this year’s NFL MVP.  For the Chargers, who started 2-5 before going on a three game winning streak, they need a win.  They are in 2nd place in the AFC West, behind Kansas City.  Their late season comeback has been a great reversal on a season that looked quite gloomy, but if they want to make the playoffs, they simply cannot afford to lose any more games.

The Colts are tied with the Jags for first place in the AFC South. It appears that there will not be any wild cards slots from this division, so winning it is the only way a team will make it to the playoff rounds.  Peyton Manning has an uncanny ability to win in the home stretch, despite all the injuries the Colts are enduring.  The Colts need Manning to once again work his magic if they are to make the playoffs this season.  A win today is crucial.  Whatever the final outcome, with Manning and Rivers on the field today, look for a scoring extravaganza!

Chiefs vs. the Seahawks

The Kansas City Chiefs hold the first place position in the AFC West, but the Chargers and Raiders are tied for second in a very tight division.  The Chiefs need a victory today to keep their division rivals from overtaking the lead, especially San Diego.  Kansas City has won all 5 of their home games this season, but as they travel to Seattle, they bring with them only one victory away from home.  The Chiefs need a victory on the road to help win the division and leap into the playoffs.

The Seahawks lead the NFC West with a 5-5 record.  St. Louis is one game behind them and struggling.  Winning at this time of the year is important for every team. But in the NFC West, there will likely be no wild card slots because of how poor the teams within the division are playing.  The Seahawks need to use their home field advantage to snag a win and keep their top place in the division to earn a playoff spot.

There is a full menu of mouth-watering games today.  Many of them have playoff implications and are more scrumptious than your momma’s best Sunday dinner.  Check out the Bears vs. Eagles, Packers vs. Falcons and the Ravens vs. Buccaneers.  With today’s delectable choices, you will be sure to have your football appetite filled!

NFC Rivalry Game! Can the Cowboys Save Their Season?

The struggling 1-7 Cowboys travel to the New Meadowlands Stadium today for a game vs. the NY Giants, who are 6-2 and are first in the NFC East.  The Giants have won their last 5 games, the Cowboys have lost their last 5.  Don’t let the Cowboys dismal record deceive you.  This conference rivalry is always electrifying, due in part to the pure loathing Cowboy and Giants fans feel about each other!  Here is a glimpse at some of the key factors in today’s matchup and how they may affect the outcome.

Factor #1 – Jason Garrett

After firing Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett has stepped in as interim Head Coach.  His coaching style is markedly different from Phillips’.  This week he had the team practicing in full pads on Wednesday, the first time they’ve done so since training camp.  Garrett is definitely trying to change the tone and culture of the team, but will that translate on to the field?  Garrett was the offensive coordinator all season and his players didn’t exactly play winning football!  

We do expect the Cowboys to play a little more motivated after losing Phillips. Many of the players truly admired him and his dismissal may have been the wakeup call they needed.  If the Cowboys step up their performance this week, it will be due in part to Garrett and his more authoritative coaching philosophy.  Any improvement in performance, though, will also be a result of simple human pride.  The Cowboys are tired of being embarrassed, so look for them to play more disciplined, focused football against their nemesis today.

Factor #2 – A Banged Up Giants Offensive Line

Giants tackle David Diehl will miss today’s game due to injury (hamstring, hip) and will be replaced by Shawn Andrews.  Diehl is a staple on the line, having started in 120 straight games.  Rich Seubert will move from guard to center, after starting center Shaun O’Hara sprained his foot. Either rookie Mitch Petrus or Kevin Boothe, who was recently taken off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, will step in at left guard.  Will this offensive line shuffling impact the outcome of the game?  Not likely.  The Giants o-line appears to be versatile and well-coached and should match up well against a Cowboys defense that has given up 232 points through eight games.  Only Buffalo’s defense has given up more.  Ouch!

Factor #3 – No Romo

With QB Tony Romo still injured, backup Jon Kitna will once again lead the offense.  Kitna’s performance this season has been shaky.  In the three games since Romo’s injury, he has thrown 4 TDs and 6 interceptions.  Look for Giants defensive ends Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck to bring the pressure.  Even if Kitna avoids the sack, the pressure may lead to some key turnovers and make it a long day for the Cowboys and new Head Coach Jason Garrett.

The Bottom Line

The Giants are firing on all cylinders right now.  Eli is playing exceptionally well and making smart decisions.  For three weeks straight, he had a QB rating of over 100.  The receiving corps (Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham), known as “Jet Blue”, is flying high too.  Although Smith will miss today’s game with an injury, the two remaining Jet Blue receivers should be able to make some big plays against a struggling Dallas defense.  Running backs Ahamad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs comprise the other threat that makes the balanced Giants offense so efficient.  Look for them to put up big numbers today as well. 

Despite the emotion the Cowboys are feeling about Phillips’ firing, that desperation alone will not be enough to overcome the Giants today.  The Cowboys may come into the game with more focus and motivation, but the Giants seem prepared to handle any Cowboys resurgence.

It’s Week 9 and Oh What a Season it has Been!

Here we are, in week 9 of the NFL schedule, which means we are half way through the regular season!  Time flies when you’re having fun.  As we reflect on what has unfolded in the NFL thus far, we were inspired to say it with poetry.  (Don’t ask why, frankly, we really don’t know)

 

The NFL season is already half completed

Some of our teams have won, others were defeated

Players have been benched, a few were even traded

Coaches have been praised, a few are truly hated

So at this point in the season, we look at where things stand

One thing we know for certain, this season has not been bland!

 

The great and mighty Saints were expected to be dominant

But here in 2010, they’re not so prominent!

The trendy “who dat” slogan was such a catchy phrase

 But the way the Saints are playing, was it only just a phase?

So as New Orleans struggles to find a way to win

Will another team replace them as America’s new darlin’?

 

All throughout the league, quarterbacks are making news

With so many controversies, it’s easy to feel confused

In Philly, Vick was out…then in..then out again

The Steelers had their own QB troubles – the behavior of Big Ben

McNabb was benched for Grossman, a decision that boggles the mind

Grossman fumbled his first play, and the Redskins fell behind!

 

The Vikings made a trade to pick up Randy Moss

Four short weeks later, they gave him quite the toss

Randy’s open praise of his former coach and team

Caused coach Childress fury and to fire him it seems

Randy’s now a Titan, playing in Tennessee

Will he find a home there?  Or will he have to flee?

 

Jerry Jones’ Cowboys now stand at one and six

How does this happen to a pre-season Superbowl pick?

The Bills are once again at the bottom of the pile

Will frosty Buffalo fans ever find reason to smile?

The Panthers and 49ers are also down this year

Their fans are not celebrating, but drowning in cold beer

 

The Patriots are once again winning, doing it with flair

Even with Tom Brady and his Justin Bieber-like long hair

The Giants and the Falcons are tied for first in the NFC

Who will win their division?  We will have to wait and see

The Ravens, Chiefs and Colts seem to be true contenders

While the Jets, Packers and Steelers may just end up pretenders

 

The season’s only half way through, there’s lots more games to play

Some teams will continue to win, some may go astray

Football is a game of inches, so the saying goes

It’s a game that can’t be predicted, as any true fan knows

So enjoy the “second half”, it will be an adventurous ride

It’s what makes football the greatest game – that cannot be denied!

Has Playing Fantasy Football Turned Me Into a Traitor?

Today I went outlet shopping and picked up some great deals at the Michael Kors store.  My most prized purchases, though, were discovered at the Reebok outlet.  They had an amazing sale on NFL Jerseys and other apparel.  I snagged a DeSean Jackson jersey, an Ahmad Bradshaw jersey and a Michael Vick t-shirt.

The cashier, a young guy donning an Ochocinco jersey, asked if I wanted gift receipts.  I smiled back and explained that, in fact, they were all for me!  With a puzzled look, he asked how I could be a fan of two teams like the Giants AND the Eagles, given they are such huge rivals.  Fantasy football – was my two word response. He nodded, mumbled something about how fantasy games are destroying team loyalty, and bagged my jerseys.

As I left the store, I thought about the cashier, whom I presume has never even tried out a fantasy league!  Fantasy football definitely changed my way of watching games, but did it turn me into a disloyal traitor?  Before joining a fantasy league, I was basically a Giants fan who was mildly interested in one or two other teams.  But once I assembled my fantasy team, The Blonde Side, I started following the players on my roster and even those of my opponents.  Instead of focusing solely on the Giants, fantasy opened up much more of the NFL to me.

Now I watch loads of football games each weekend and Monday night.  If the games are not on TV, I simply keep my fantasy league page open on my laptop and receive live, automatic scoring updates.  If you haven’t experienced this before, watch out!  It is addictive and consuming. 

There are many games where players from my fantasy roster are playing against each other.  Like a yo-yo, I vacillate between cheering on one team and then the other. If there was a hidden camera in my living room, I truly believe the authorities would come and take me away in a straitjacket. 

So what has this done to my loyalty towards the Giants?  I am still a fiercely devoted fan and would never root against them because of my fantasy players.  If being disloyal, however, means acquiring non-Giants on my roster to help me win, then I guess I am guilty.  Being successful in fantasy play requires drafting players based on stats, predictions and talent, NOT making picks based on emotion or loyalty.  In fantasy, strategy and cold-heartedness are the keys to victory!

Driving home from shopping, I wished I had answered the cashier’s grumblings.  But, as always, my come back came much too late!  Maybe I will return to the store and explain that playing fantasy football has actually ENHANCED my loyalty to football overall.  I never had an interest in so many different teams and players before now.  Isn’t that a GOOD thing for the sport?

Tonight’s Monday Night Football game is the Giants versus the Cowboys.  Sure, I may act slightly schizophrenic as I watch my fantasy RB Felix Jones run against the Giant defense, but in the end, I still desire a Giant’s victory.  My passion for the Giants far outweighs my desire for Felix Jones to get me a lot of points tonight. So for the sports store cashiers and other naysayers who believe fantasy football is destroying team loyalty, I say they are just plain WRONG!  

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