SPORTS BLOG 1/23/12- A GIANT REMATCH

My sport allegiances are as follows: New York Yankees, New York Giants and Boston Celtics.

Yes, at first glance, people call me a front runner and an asshole. People sure are mean these days aren’t they?  “Come on Paul: A Celtic and Yankee fan? Not possible.” Yes, I do realize it’s like being a Jew in the Nazi army  but it’s true.
(I’ll leave it up to you which team are the Nazi’s in that analogy. Obvious NOTE: I’m pro Jew, anti-nazi)

I’m a real fan for all of my squads. Sure I like when my teams win but I support them either way.  Larry Bird was one of my two idols growing up, but I also stuck by and watched the Celtics suck ass for the next 20 years. I saw them lose 18 games in a row in 2007, then back to the championship in 2008.

I’m a true fan and a basketball nerd. My username is  cornbreadmaxwell, I know who Conner Henry and Fred Roberts are,  and I still think Bird is the best NBA player of all time.  I drove six hours with my dad and brother to see the Celtics final game in the original Boston Garden. I’m a die-hard.  And it’s not easy for me to be a Celtics fan.  I live in Los Angeles and dislike the Laker fans as much as I do cancer. Because at least cancer can be treated, and cancer has never tried to convince me Kobe Bryant is unselfish and that Andrew Bynum is the best center in the NBA.

As for the Yankees being the evil empire? I watched the Yankees lose for all of my childhood- rooting on my idol Don Mattingly every game. I watched them start a new shortstop every 3 games during the 80’s. Ever hear of Wayne Tolleson? Alvaro Espinoza?  Thank god for Derek Jeter.
I also started the MVP chant from the Yankee Stadium bleachers for Don Mattingly after he hit a homerun during his final season. The entire Stadium was chanting MVP for Donnie Baseball when he was hitting .230. I made it happen. Still one of my proudest moments and if I was ever to have a real job, I would list it under “Leadership Skills” if and when I have a resume.
This is still the ringtone on my Iphone:
Don Mattingly Homerun call in 1995 ALCS

But as I sit here, it’s the morning after my football team, the New York Giants defeated the 49ers and are heading to their 5th Super Bowl in my lifetime.  It’s another team that I watched lose for most of my childhood, until Bill Parcells and Phil Simms led them to their first Super Bowl in 1986 and beat John Elway and his Broncos.

In 1990 they won a 2nd against the Bills and even though the win was based on a missed field goal, I’ll take it.  It was good for everyone except Scott Norwood.  After all, his missed kick inspired the entire plot of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.  I bet even Jim Kelly got a few laughs from Ray Finkle in that flick.

The 3rd Super Bowl trip was with my least favorite Giants team, led by my least favorite Giant QB of all time, Kerry Collins.  Yes, even worse than Danny Kanell, Kent Graham and Dave Brown-( I think I blacked out the Dave Brown years as I don’t remember them, but know they were traumatic.)

When they actually got to the Super Bowl against the Ravens in 2000, I had no faith in them winning and almost felt guilty that this team made it to the big game. It almost felt like a strike year.  Like even if the Giants won, it wouldn’t have counted. The Ravens were only a 3 point favorite and won 34-7. I wasn’t surprised. Those Giants were a tough team to like. They had no heart except for Michael Strahan. Remember,  these were the Tiki Barber, Ron Dayne, Jim Fassel years. The biggest reason to not like them was pretty boy Jason Sehorn, who rarely wore a helmet because he was mostly concerned with his hair on gamedays.  I firmly believe there is no actual video of him tackling any player in his 9 year career. He either ran them out of bounds, held on until a teammate arrived or intercepted the ball. He didn’t like the contact, he just liked watching from the sidelines and being on TV.

As for this Giant team, what’s not to like?  It’s a bunch of team players and underdogs.  Victor Cruz never caught a pass before this season and made the pro bowl this year.  It’s a fact that I picked him in my fantasy football league draft even though he never caught a pass in the NFL and was about the 500th ranked receiver. He’s an undrafted free agent from UMass who never started a game until his junior year of college. He finally got a shot in a pre-season game last year against the Jets and caught 3 touchdowns, then went on to not make a catch the entire 2010-11 season. After injuries to three receivers, Cruz finally got his opportunity and has gone on to have the best single season for a receiver in Giants history. Easy guy to root for unless you don’t like Salsa dancing.

Although Eli Manning has had his rough days, the guy does the rope-a-dope as well as Muhammad Ali. One moment he looks so overwhelmed that he’s catatonic, like he’s doing an impression of Napoleon Dynamite. He has the confused look of a short kid trying to use a bathroom urinal that’s too tall for him. The next moment he scrambles and fires a touchdown with the accuracy of a  sharpshooter. The wins are often not pretty, but I will never bet against Eli when the clock is running down. I would honestly take him over any QB in the league with the last possession of the game.  In the words of a blubbering and bawling Terrell Owens, “that’s my quarterback.”

His older brother is a 1st ballot Hall Of Fame QB, which is usually a sign that Eli would be a complete bust.  The coddled youngest brother in a football family. The most we could hope for is that Eli could be our Gerald Wilkins. Solid player, but no Dominique.  He’s gone on to not only win as many Super Bowl’s as his brother, but now has the chance to leap-frog Peyton along with our generations Joe Montana- in Tom Brady.  If he were to beat Brady head to head in the Super Bowl twice, there’s really no denying Eli’s place among the best QB’s of all time.  Yes, it even surprises me. He’s so good at flying under the radar that when he mentioned before the season that he was simply “an elite quarterback” he took tons of criticism.  I think it’s because the wins are never easy, the games are always close, and every season there seems to be a point the team is playing so bad that everyone in the Giants organization is in danger of being fired and Eli might get benched- which is the only time he would ever miss a game. He’s never missed a game since becoming the Giants starter in 2004. But then again, that’s NY.  Whatever happens in this Super Bowl, it’s been an exciting ride for us NYG fans because this team has been fun to watch and easy to root for…. except for Brandon Jacobs.

Just to show you that I have a sense of humor and I’m not too much of a homer- I will make a prediction that Jacobs will be the big story of Super Bowl media week. He’s bound to say something ridiculous, get caught with a hooker or find himself in a Plaxico Burress-type situation. I’m tempted to construct an adult version of “Clue” playing cards, making a game of the possible Jacobs incidents:  
“Brandon Jacobs resisting arrest with a Shake Weight at a strip joint.”
 “Brandon Jacobs fondles a Policeman’s  Horse in the street while Naked on Ambien”
“Brandon Jacobs arrives to media day drunk with Pauly Shore and a hooker.”
“Brandon Jacobs moons the crowd then throws his helmet at Joe Buck during warmups.”

These are all comedic possibilities. Post your guess of Brandon Jacobs idiotic behavior for the days ahead:

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