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I have lived in New England for almost my entire life as my parents moved my family from Northern New Jersey to the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts when I was three years old.
I no longer live in the "Bay State", but I still live in New England which would explain why when I talk to people about what football team that I root for, I get that quizzical look after giving my answer. The “look” is accompanied by the inevitable question: “How did you end up rooting for the Giants growing up in Boston?” Well, funny you should ask.
My father was born in New York City and lived there until he was eight years old when his family then moved to Northern New Jersey.
My father fell in love with football while watching Frank Gifford help the Giants win the 1956 NFL Championship (much like how I watched LT on the 1986 squad). It has been said that “the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference” and it is with this in mind that I say my father has always loved the Giants as nothing but pain penetrates his voice when he talks about the next 30 years of what it was like to be a fan of “Big Blue.” Here are some of the lowlights:
- Lost “the greatest game ever played” to the Baltimore Colts in overtime of the 1958 NFL Championship game
- The Giants had Vince Lombardi as their offensive coordinator and Tom Landry as their defensive coordinator and let them go to the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, respectively
- Traded Sam Huff (to this day, my father asks, “How could they do that?”)
- Between 1958 and 1963, the Giants lost the NFL Championship game five times (beat that Buffalo!)
- Two winning seasons in the 1970’s- no playoff appearances
- Miracle at the Meadowlands
It is with that passion, and the fact that my two older brothers are fans of teams other than the Giants, that led my father to make absolutely sure that I would be a member of “Big Blue” nation just like him. By now, you’re probably asking yourself, “wait, your two brothers are not Giants fans?” Yes, that is correct and there is a story behind that too.
Before I was born, my family was living in New Jersey when, one day, my father decided to take my brothers to IHOP for breakfast. IHOP was giving away mini football helmets and, as fate would have it, they were out of the Giants and Jets so my father went to Plan B.
As I mentioned above, Tom Landry was the defensive coordinator for the Giants and was now the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys so my father decided to get that helmet for my oldest brother. My father also liked Fran Tarkenton, the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, so my other brother got that team’s helmet. To this day my brothers still root for those teams, so when I came along my father made darn sure not to repeat his mistake. On Thanksgiving, I try my hardest to keep the fact that I am rooting for whoever the opponent of the Cowboys is that day from my brother, and, for the most part, my brothers and I keep things civil (though sometimes my father isn’t so “civil”).
Growing up in New England, being a fan of the Giants wasn’t a big deal. The Giants and Patriots didn’t play that often and many senior citizens still rooted for the Giants as there was no such thing as the Boston/New England Patriots when they were younger. That changed about 5 and a half years ago for obvious reasons (although Pats fans still hate the Jets more).
Besides that, rooting for a team other than the Patriots in New England isn’t that bad, except for when a Pats fan, upon finding out that I am a fan of the Giants, says “two lucky catches” (in reference to the David Tyree and Mario Manningham catches) and I, of course, respond with “Spygate.” That is my story and I’m sticking to it because sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction.