Football season is underway, meaning fans don’t judge each other based on the color of their skin nor by the content of their character, but rather the color of the jersey that they wear on Sunday afternoons. There are plenty of classic rivalries that surpass state borders: Packers and Vikings, Steelers and Bengals, 49ers and Seahawks, among many others.
The newly formed in state divisional rivalry of 49ers and Los Angeles Rams is sure to stir up some ill will in the coming years. The Raiders and 49ers rivalry has been the impetus for multiple brawls, stabbings and other violent acts. The Bengals are always at odds with the Browns, even if Cleveland has not been any good for the better part of the last two decades. The one rivalry that I will focus on, one that is near and dear to my heart, is between the New York Jets and their neighbors, the New York Giants.
The two teams share a stadium, making the geographic distance between the in-state teams non-existent. When you’re a fan of the Eagles, you are hundreds of miles away from the other team in the state, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jets and Giants fans convene in the exact same location, making MetLife stadium the Mecca of New York football, which leads to much conflict. Also, until fairly recently, it was called Giants Stadium, which may not seem like a big deal, but believe me, it was huge. Giants’ fans remarked that it was their stadium and the Jets were freeloading in their territory. The Jets fans would have to say the word “Giants” every time they were describing their home stadium. This situation of sharing a stadium was almost resolved when the New York state government was going to build the Jets a brand new stadium in Manhattan. This never materialized, and they still share a stadium to this day, which has become less of an issue in recent years.
The cultures of the teams are also very different. The Jets of course have not won a championship in 47 years and counting, while the Giants have won two in the last ten years and four in their history. The Giants predate the Jets by several decades, giving them a much more storied past. The Jets, while not new to the league, are still treated as a franchise with a losing culture. The Giants, on the other hand, remain in the upper echelon of sports, with their rings and proud traditions. The Jets also have a tendency to make bigger headlines in order to bolster media attention, such as the entire tenure of Rex Ryan, and the signing of Tim Tebow, to name a few.
I live every day as a die-hard Jets fan in a staunchly Giants family. I’ve been to Metlife stadium dozens of times in my life, both watching the Jets and Giants play. I have had one million conversations comparing the Jets and Giants, and I will surely have one million more. Both teams are in for a competitive season, one that will undoubtedly be fun to watch. One thing I know for sure is that, while the fans are contentiousness, angry and belligerent, we can all agree on one thing: we hate the Patriots with a passion.