American football: Mixed feelings for New York fans

By Adan Hesketh

I’m living in New York and I’m pretty excited about the NFL playoffs. The mood in town is predominantly a mixture of excitement (and optimism) for the Jets, who looked no chance to even make finals late in the season, and disgust/disinterest from Giants fans, who had expected a lot more and watched their team end a disappointing season with a whimper, suffering two successive beltings.

The Packers and the Cardinals added to an exciting wildcard round in the playoffs. The scoreline of the game, 51-45, was incredible, and very unusual for NFL level, particularly when one of the teams is ranked second in defence. What an amazing game. Interestingly, there was speculation that refereeing impacted the outcome (such specualation is far less common in NFL than AFL; NFL rules are generally less contentious and refs generally get the calls right).

A lot of people think the Colts are unstoppable, but a  few see the Ravens as good value for an upset this week. For me though it’s all about the Vikings (with a soft spot for Benny Graham and the Cardinals).

You’ve got to love a professional athlete who’s still near the top of the tree at age 40 (Brett Favre, the Vikings’ quarterback, is the first 40+-year-old to play playoffs). Unfortunately the Vikings have got the Cowboys, and the Cowboys are in red-hot form, especially defensively. Should be great.

Comments

  1. Richard E. Jones says:

    WELL, well Heski. I’m an avid NFL fan, an addiction that dates back to the Fifties.
    Mind you my long-suffering club, the Cleveland Browns, ended the regular season with a late flurry but still posted just the five wins for the season.

    The Ravens did very little last weekend. Indy belted Baltimore 20-3 and as for Dallas — they were laughable. Your man Brett Favre, yep the 40-year-old and his Vikings pantsed the Dallas Cowboys 34-3.

    Benny Graham and the Cards were similarly flogged — 45-14 — by the New Orleans Saints with the big surprise being the NY Jets. Finishing the season with a 10-6 record compared with the Chargers from San Diego with a 13-3 tally, the green and white Jets’ boys won a thriller over the Chargers 17-14.

    The Jets, not the Giants, carry New York’s hopes into the Championships games this weekend.
    Incidentally, we were staying at a hotel in East Rutherford, New Jersey in October. The Giants’ Stadium was just down the road.
    The hotel’s bar and dining room were packed that Sunday with Giants’ fans, celebrating a big win. They’re not saying much now.

  2. pauldaffey says:

    Adam,

    It sounds to me like the Jets’ performance in getting this far is a real surprise. Am I right?

    If they get to the Super Bowl, is that the equivalent of an AFL team sneaking into eighth position and then storming to the Grand Final?

    I’ve had a curiosity with the Jets since reading a Joe Namath biography when I was 14. Joe’s appearance on the Brady Bunch also pricked my interest.

  3. Peter Flynn says:

    Adam,

    I’m visiting NYC next month and I am keen to watch the Knicks in action. I know very little about the basketball caper.

    The Knicks will play Memphis.

    Any tips re tickets, pre- and post-match beers etc.

    Thanks,

    Peter

  4. Richard Naco says:

    I’m terrified.

    I’ve been a New Orleans Saints fan from their inglorious ‘aints days (1979: they went 1-15; had their name unofficially changed from Saints to ‘aints; and started the trend of fans attending games in support of woefull teams wearing brown paper bags over their heads so that nobody would recognise them at the game).

    We’re one game away from the Super Bowl!!!???

    I really don’t know how to cope with success here: do I laugh, cry, or at least switch to a team underperforming at a nice safe familiar level? (Isn’t it a shame when long held sporting traditions finally evaporate?)

    lol

  5. Richard E. Jones says:

    I RECKON the Saints will make it to the SuperBowl, Richard.
    Altho’ it won’t be easy in the NFC decider against a fired-up Vikings outfit spearheaded by Favre.

    Heski, I checked why the Giants’ fans were so chirpy that Sunday evening, October 11th. They’d just steamrolled Oakland 44-7 on the back of quarterback Eli Manning’s 173-yard gains and running back Ahmad Bradshaw’s 110-yard rushing effort.

    No wonder they were so loud in the main bar of the Sheraton as well as in the bar adjacent to the dining room.

    Daff, if the Jets get past the Indy Colts then it will be the same as an AFL club coming from 8th. Most unlikely, however. Indy will be far too good in the AFC championship game.

  6. Thanks Richard. Will await the Jets result with interest.

  7. Gents,

    The Jets should be no chance. But… momentum, the cinderella story and the below article are starting to make me think they’re worth a small punt.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/sports/football/19anderson.html

    Peter,

    I haven’t purchased Knicks tickets myself. If you don’t have any luck via the official channels (NBA.com? MSG? Ticketmaster?) it is certainly worth checking the prices on stubhub.com which is effectively an online market for legalised scalping. Mark-up for a single seat shouldn’t be too bad, particularly if purchasing close to game time. I’m also not the best person to ask for bar recommendations around MSG, but the area has a ton of them and I’d be surprised if you could walk 30 yards without finding one that has plenty of tv’s and sports fans. Make sure you check out the half-time entertainment, tends to be much more elaborate than Auskick. You should also consider looking into the Rangers who are finding some very good form again – it’s a great sport and one that is much better live.

    Gopod luck.

  8. Peter Flynn says:

    Cheers for the advice Adam. Much appreciated.

    Unfortunately, Rangers don’t play while I’m there.

    Peter

  9. Richard E. Jones says:

    OKAY Heski, Daff, Flynny and others: as expected the Colts cemented their spot in Super Bowl XLIV courtesy of a 30-17 win over the NY Jets.
    The Jets did lead at the half but on the back of Peyton Manning’s arm [377 yards/3 TDs] got past the Jets.

    BTW, Manning won the MVP at Super Bowl XLI at the Dolphins Stadium in Florida when the Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17. That was played on February 4, 2007.

    The NFC decider is pretty tight as I write. Into the 2nd quarter and the Vikes lead the New Orleans Saints 14-7.

  10. Richard E. Jones says:

    RICHARD N. has seen the first part of his dream fulfilled.

    The New Orleans Saints clinched their first Super Bowl berth with a 31-28 overtime win against Brett Favre’s Minnesota Vikings.

    Scores were all tied-up at 28-28. Up stepped Saints’ kicker Garrett Hartley who landed a 40-yarder to give New Orleans the go-ahead field goal 3-pointer …. and a spot in the Big One vs. the Indianapolis Colts.

  11. Richard Naco says:

    Oh that’s awful.

    Now that they’ve cracked the Big Show, I just feel cheap.

    I’ll never forget John Madden once saying (during a Monday Night game vs the Steelers at home, in about 1984) that the Saints were the only team he’d ever consider coming out of retirement to coach, because “if they ever win the Super Bowl, the post-game celebration is likely to go down in history as the greatest party of all time”.

    The Saints have been playing in New Orleans since 1967 and have never made the Super Bowl (until now).

    It just feels … kikda …

    dirty.

    :lol:

  12. The fairy tale was alive and well when the Jets were up by 11 points, but it’s hard to keep a classy offense down. Vikings on the other hand did everything they could to lose that game. I’ve never seen one team with so many fumbles. Then the ridiculous penalty with seconds to go. Then the Favre interception. Whether he overlooked the run option or thought that his body (which had been repeatedly crunched during the game) couldn’t make it downfield we’ll probably never know.

    I would have been much more enthused about a Jets/Vikings superbowl. Still, the 1 and 2 teams are where they deserve to be. The Colts will be worthy winners given their dominance this season. The Saints (who are equally deserved winners) would be a great story for a town that has had a pretty rough time over the years.

  13. Am I the only one who noticed that Heski’s name is not Adam, but Adan?

    Superbowl should be a good game this year, Saints vs Colts, I read/heard somewhere that this is the first time both conference champions have made it to the Superbowl since 1993. Annoyingly though, the Superbowl is ALWAYS on TV during the first day of school, because Sunday night in US is Monday morning in Aus.

  14. Wait, maybe Adan was a typo.

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