Friday, January 27, 2012

Super Bowl dilemma of the day: what jersey?

The Super Bowl is a little more than a week away. I don't know if it's the same for guys, but for girls, now we're getting into crunch time for what is quite possibly the most important aspect of the Super Bowl, whether we're watching at home or out at a party: what jersey do we wear?

This is a more easily resolved issue when you're just watching for kicks, but when your team is playing, you want to not only represent, but represent well.

I already own three jerseys, all of them Manning, two of which are in the running for this year's game (rocked my Peyton Manning jersey the year the Colts lost to the Saints :( - a powder blue sparkly #10 and a Super Bowl XLII Eli Manning jersey. There are no cute women's jerseys available this year, which is making me lean toward just wearing one of the ones I already own (plus, superstitious fan girl that I am, they've helped carry the Giants successfully this far so far).

But then there's the whole falling in love with Victor Cruz and Jason Pierre-Paul this season that makes me want to represent them - and there are two versions of the Super Bowl XLVI men's jerseys that I kinda like. But I get cold feet whenever I think about buying a jersey for a player other than an established quarterback, because what if next year Cruz or JPP are playing for another team? And what if the Giants (god forbid) lose the Super Bowl (no jinx!) - would I want to be reminded of that every time I wear it should I end up buying a new Super Bowl jersey? And do I want to ruin what is so far a perfect Manning jersey purchase streak?

So guys, while this week you're deciding whose party to attend and what beer to bring and whether or not you actually want to bring your girlfriend/wife with you because all she wants to do is watch the commercials and ask questions during the game, THIS is what I will be stressing about.

Yes, I'm a little insane...go Giants!!

Out of the mouths of babes...

...for those of us who might take our sports fandom a little too seriously, you should read this. Made me cry. That's what us girls do, even the hardcore sports fans amongst us.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

If you're looking for a humorous yet insightful Super Bowl article...

...I recommend reading NBC Sport's Michael Ventre's analysis of the Giants and Patriots and Super Bowl hype here. It definitely made me chuckle. If you're not a fan of New York or New England or even football, it'll still make you laugh, and if you are a fanatic like myself who is devouring analysis and opinions and already about ready to collapse under the weight of the pressure and hype, then you DEFINITELY need a good laugh.

New York Giants rant of the day

...what I want to know is, why does the official online store of the New York Giants not sell jerseys for women? Their categories are: men, kids, authentic, customized, replica, premier, and on sale. WTF? Hellooo! What about me?

I would also like to know why Dick's Sporting Goods and Modell's don't offer a Victor Cruz or Jason Pierre-Paul jersey OR anything with sparkles, but looking on the Giants' website for a cool Super Bowl jersey to wear for the Super Bowl and finding NADA is what really ticked me off today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jorge Posada retires

You can read details about Posada's career as a New York Yankee and contributions to pro baseball here, but even though I was never a huge Posada fan, his retirement announcement makes me feel nostalgic. With him hanging up his cleats, half the Core Four is now gone. That makes me feel old, when I think that I was in college watching them lead the Yanks to four World Series wins between 1996-2000. It makes me miss those years when it was just a given that the Yankees were that good, that the World Series was a foregone conclusion. When I was away at college, Posada was part of a team that when I watched them play, I felt close to my family and friends at home. He was part of the continuity between that team and the championship team of 2009, when some of that magic returned.

Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are still here (Andy Pettitte was the first to retire) but for how much longer? These are the players I have an emotional attachment to - will I still love this team when all the Core Four are gone? But that's the way life goes - it's time to let some other players step into those shoes. It's time to give the new guard a chance to show that somewhere down the road, they might be superstars, they might be able to bring the magic. Part of my frustration with the Yankees is the insistence on keeping and/or acquiring expensive, old, fading superstars, and so I commend Posada for bowing out gracefully and graciously. We have promising catchers on the team that deserve the chance to prove themselves. So a moment like this makes me sad for the past, but at the same time, it makes me hopeful for the future.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oh my heart: Giants-Patriots Super Bowl redux

Oh my heart. That's what this fan girl kept saying during what was an extremely tense but eventually awesomely exciting game in which the New York Giants beat the 49ers to make it to this year's Super Bowl. A game like that is the kind of game you want to watch, the kind of game that has you on the edge of your seat, that has twists and turns and lead changes and turnovers and teams capitalizing on mistakes and amazing catches and passes and runs. The only thing is, it's an objectively great game, but as a fan, it's only a great game if your team wins. And there's no way to know ahead of time, hence my heart worries throughout the game. The boyfriend and I were watching at a bar, a sea of Giants jerseys, with friends. The place was so loud you would've thought we were actually in the football stadium. It was so much so that I finally had to just close my eyes, take a deep breath, trust in my team, in Eli Manning and friends, and leave it up to the football gods. When Lawrence Tynes got that field goal in overtime, pandemonium ensued. You have to watch a game like that with friends or at a bar. Even if you're not into football, if you're in that social setting, you'll get into football, I promise you. Even if it's just for those three hours.

So now it's on to Indianapolis in two weeks for a rematch with the New England Robots, er, Patriots. In 2007, the Little Team That Could i.e. the Giants won the Super Bowl against the until then undefeated Patriots. To call it an upset would be an understatement. To call it quite possibly the most exciting game of football (or any sport) I have ever watched in my entire life would also be an understatement. If you don't know why, if you've never seen Eli escape a sack attempt followed by David Tyree's catch, you have to watch this:

These are the same teams from four years ago but they're not the same teams. This time around, the Giants know they can beat the Patriots. The Patriots know the Giants can beat the Patriots. But the Patriots are looking better than any other team the Giants have faced in the past few weeks, so all I can say is, I think it's going to be a good game. I trust in my team. Let's show New England how we get it done in New York!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My reaction in the final moments of the New England Patriots v. Baltimore Ravens game

I have so much to say about how much the Ravens proved they could, in theory, hang with the Patriots; in that second half, I really thought they might actually have a chance to beat those robotic, well-oiled Patriot machines...but on their final field goal attempt to tie up the team, this is exactly my reaction...

No joke. For this sports fan, the Ravens tie-making missed field goal = Edvard Munch's "The Scream."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Who wants it more: New York Giants victory over Aaron Rodgers

I'm sure it's all been said at this point about the 9-7 New York Giants beating the snot out of the number one seed Green Bay Packers. I did realizing watching this game that I hadn't really seen the Packers play all that much this season and that in this game, Aaron Rodgers, though he was obviously off his game, still looked amazing while the rest of his team just looked...well, ordinary. I guess sometimes one player can elevate a whole team. Makes the Colts collapse sans Peyton Manning make a bit more sense. But there's something wrong when a quarterback, in a pass play, has no choice but to run the ball himself. Whereas Eli Manning had his choice of receivers, guys he trusted to get that ball even in a crowd of Packers players. I won't call the final first half play a Hail Mary pass because I think it takes credit away from Eli and Hakeem Nicks, that the play was a desperate attempt on a wing and a prayer - I think it was a risky, gutsy play that could have ended badly except that Eli trusted his man down field to catch the ball. And he did. Big risks bring big rewards. The Giants are finally, FINALLY, playing like a team that deserves to be in the playoffs, that deserves to beat top tier teams, that deserves to make it to the championship. You can't win a playoff game looking the way the Packers looked Sunday. You have to keep your head in the game and keep bringing it even when you make mistakes (like Eli's interception), even when calls don't go your way when maybe they should have (don't even get me started), and you have to capitolize on a team that's having an off day. Next up, the 49ers. I don't know anything about this team except what I saw this weekend. I don't know what they're known for, what they're good at, or any of their players. But if the Giants can keep their game face on, we're looking at a rematch of either their 2000 Super Bowl loss against the Ravens or of their 2007 Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. But I don't want to jinx it. You have to take it one week at a time. Four weeks ago I wasn't sure we'd be at this place, but I'm gladly going along for the ride... ...go Big Blue!!

Watching football like a girl

For someone who is a girl, I was starting to think I was learning to watch the game like a dude - knowing players, knowing stats, knowing jersey numbers and what plays are called. I was super excited during the Ravens-Texans game because for the first time ever, when the defense showed blitz, I actually saw it! Everyone was lined up right on the line and I saw it, I KNEW, the blitz was coming. Yes - I was going to be unofficially declared a bro! And then my actual bro brought me back down to reality with one innocent statement by this fan girl: "I don't like the way the numbers are printed on the Ravens' jerseys." I don't. It's too stylized. It looks like something out of a comic book. But my brother just smiled and shook his head. "You're such a girl," he said. "You totally watch football like a girl." I made it worse at half time when I said I like to judge the commentators' ties. Another smile and shook head. But you know what? That's okay. Because I am a girl. I like that I can see the defense show blitz and that I know stats and players but I also like that I don't like Tom Brady and I don't necessarily have a concrete reason why besides the fact that he's a smarmy robot. I like that I don't like the Titans' team colors and that I didn't like Michael Strahan's tie during the half time show. I'm a girl. That's who I am. But this girl is also a sports fan, and that's just who I am, too. :-)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reality vs. delusions

Anybody who knows me know I hate to give the New England Patriots credit for anything but the fact of the matter is that the Denver Broncos were out of their league from the very beginning. The fact that they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last week to make it this far was a sports miracle for sure, but it looks like maybe God is a Patriots fan after all. I guess the Broncos were kind of like the little engine that could...up to a point. Even the little engine that could would break down faced against Stonewall Brady and the brickwall that is the Patriots. The Broncos have the potential. Tim Tebow is young and unseasoned. But the Patriots have experience. And a whole slew of good players who know their way around a playoff game. The Broncos-Patriots game was the one I was most looking forward to but it was over by halftime - New Orleans-49ers was where it was at. I'm no New Orleans fan either - I was totally rooting for Peyton Manning and the Colts the year those two teams met in the Super Bowl but the Saints were looking like a real contender by the end of the year. The truth is, though, I don't know the 49ers - I don't know a single player or a single thing about them, so for all I know, they were the better team all along, but I wanted them to win anyway. I hate jumping on bandwagons and I know a lot of people who jumped on the Saints' bandwagon after their Super Bowl win. But the fourth quarter of that game was the kind of quarter you hope to have throughout an entire game in the playoffs - the kind of back and forth nailbiter with multiple lead-changes that keeps the viewer on the edge of her seat through the whole thing. Granted, if the team you're rooting for loses this kind of match-up, then it sucks, but if the team you're rooting for actually pulls off the win, then this is the kind of game you can go back to and watch over and over again all the time. (Case in point, I have the New York Giants' entire 2007 postseason on DVD). So now I don't know what to expect from the game I'm most invested in, tomorrow's New York Giants - Green Bay Packers match up. The Patriots were expected to win and they did, but the Saints were expected to win and they didn't. I'm hoping I'm not delusional in thinking the Giants might actually have a chance against the Packers. I know the Packers are favored to win and as someone who has been rooting for Aaron Rodgers all year whenever he wasn't playing a New York team, I'm finding it hard to root against him tomorrow but I feel like my expectations that the Giants can at least give the Packers a run for their money, if not take advantage of any Packers mistakes or just WANT IT MORe, is grounded at least a little bit in reality, but I guess in less than 17 hours, we'll find out...

As the Denver Broncos are fighting for their lives against the New England Patriots, something to lighten the mood....

I am not a fan of either team - although I was rooting for Denver since I'm soooo over the Patriots, not that I was ever, um, under them - but I AM a huge David Bowie fan, so for anyone who is getting bored by this match-up that I was so looking forward to before the Patriots completely obliterated the Broncos, enjoy this Jimmy Fallon Tebowie video!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Giant win...

...sorry! I couldn't help myself!

So the universe must have seen how good I was going to be about choosing family over football, because our dinner was moved to 5 p.m., which meant the boyfriend and I were able to watch the entire New York Giants game at home. Big Blue got off to a very slow start, causing this fan girl's heart to experience a bit more agita then I would have liked, especially when Eli Manning scored the very first points of the game. For the Falcons. But after that, the Falcons couldn't buy a touchdown or a field goal. The Giants defense was monster. You should have seen the boyfriend hooting and hollering around the apartment like a goofy teenage kid each time the Falcons went for it on 4th and inches and every single time the Giants held them back. But what stood out for me was the fact that Manning used all of his receivers. Nicks, Cruz, Ballard, Manningham were all part of the game and when the quarterback has reliable, varied choices it makes our offense better and the other team's defense have to work all the more harder to figure out who to cover. Everyone stepped up and it showed.

And what do we get as our prize for winning? A trip to Green Bay and a visit to Aaron Rodgers and friends. Soo not cool. This fan girl is not sure her heart can take next week's game. My only hope right now is that this week's game gave the Giants momentum and confidence, and the last time they played the Packers, they were on an 0-4 losing streak and lost by only a field goal. So if they can give the Packers a run for their money when they're sucking, the Giants might actually have a chance when they play well.

On another note, love love LOVE that the Denver Broncos beat Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. The boyfriend's poor brother-in-law is a Broncos fan and had to follow the game updates on his phone during the family dinner. He chose family over football, too, though it should be noted it was under duress. But he'll get a chance to watch his team play the Patriots next week while the Steelers will be sitting at home. Maybe next year, folks!

Go Blue! Giants v. Packers, Sunday 4:30 p.m. EST on Fox

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A sports fan's dilemma: your team versus your life

The boyfriend's family wants to go to dinner Sunday evening. They were very nice to invite me and of course I accepted. But my first thought upon receiving the invitation was, "They obviously aren't football fans."

Dinner is at 4 p.m. in Manhattan. The New York Giants play at 1 p.m. What that means is I can watch the first part of the game. I can listen to the middle of it on the radio in the car. But unless the restaurant has televisions playing the game, I'm going to miss the end. Which is going to suck. Even though I said I'd go, I'm feeling very conflicted about it. I have a sports fan's heart. If the Giants win, I'll have another chance to watch them play next week, but if they lose, their season is over, and a sports fan wants to be with her team until the very end, even if it's a bitter, premature one.

The thing is, it's not even a real dilemma. The question is, what's more important? Fandom or family? If I was a guy, I might answer the question differently, but I'm a girl, so of course I'm going to go to dinner with the family. ...with a fully charged phone so I can check on the score. I may be a girl, but I still have a sports fan's heart ;)

Go Big Blue!

Do or die

Yes, it's a Saturday, but there are NFL playoff games today. In case you were wondering where your boyfriend or husband disappeared to. He's watching football. But don't worry. Saturday games means the season is almost over.

I'm not really invested in either of today's games, but every game now is do or die and we have a couple of recent champions in the mix, including tonight's game with the New Orleans Saints. My best friend totally jumped on the Saints band wagon the year they beat the Colts in the Super Bowl, so she'll be rooting for them today. I'll be interested to see which champions get knocked out and which ones make it to the next round.

Tomorrow is the day I'm excited for. My New York Giants are playing, of course. I'm calm right now because I haven't been thinking about it. Tomorrow is also Steelers v. Broncos. I hate Ben Roethlisberger. For that reason alone I'll be rooting for the Broncos.

But this weekend is where we find out which teams will step up and which teams want it more. Because the winners get one step closer to the Super Bowl, and the losers just go home.

Monday, January 2, 2012

We've got a postseason, baby!

Wearing the powder blue sparkly Eli Manning New York Giants jersey and the Victoria's Secret Giants underwear apparently paid off big time - Big Blue stepped up, manned up, and acted like a team, and beat the Cowboys for the final postseason NFL slot. I knew if the Giants pulled it together, they could beat the Cowboys. The Cowboys, with Tony Romo as their quarterback, are ordinary. Don't listen to the commentators. The commentators were sooo biased last night I wanted to throw something at the tv screen. I get that the Cowboys used to be great, but realize that time has passed. REALIZE IT!!!

Obviously, I have some issues.

But it doesn't matter, because the Giants will be playing next week. Not the Cowboys. The boyfriend and I had a whole conversation last night brought on by the game about how you can have great players, awesome players, but sometimes those players don't like each other. Off the field, that's fine. That sucks, but that's fine. As long as you can suck it up, step up, and man up on the field. Which is what the Giants did. Which maybe they should have done it before the last game of the season. But I digress. If they can play during the playoffs the way they played against the Cowboys, they can get past the first round. And maybe a little further.

I want to give a special shout out to Victor Cruz. I believe this is his first real, full season and from the very beginning of the season, he has been going all out, giving his all, and people have noticed. He has had an amazing season. Just watch his touchdown run in this past game. I don't know if he'll stay with the Giants, but if he keeps playing as passionately as he did this year, he is going to have an amazing career.

End zone salsa dancing yo!

Giants v. Falcons next Sunday - be there or be square!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

End of the road

For most NFL teams, this week is the end of the road. Unfortunately for my dad and brother and many other male relatives, one of those teams is the New York Jets. The thing is, you can't wait until Week 17 to step up and start playing like a playoff team, and on top of it, if you need to not only win but have three other teams lose in order to even make the playoffs, you can't throw 3 interceptions. I'm looking at you Mark Sanchez.

But us New Yorkers have one more shot. Unlike the Jets, the New York Giants have their destiny in their own hands. All they have to do is beat the Dallas Cowboys tonight. The hated Cowboys. The Giants haven't been playing like a playoff team at all toward the end of this season. I feel like even if they win tonight, they're not going to get far in the playoffs at all. But I'm wearing my Victoria's Secret Giants underwear for good luck. I'm wearing my powder blue sparkly Giants jersey for good luck. I really want to see them crush the Cowboys. I don't like them and I really like having a New York team to root for in the postseason. But if that plan falls through, I'm gonna have to go with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. As I've said before, I'm no cheesehead. But Rodgers, unlike Tom Brady, is very likeable, and he's very talented. Hopefully he won't have to carry his whole team. But we still have a bit of a ways to go. Giants v. Cowboys at 8:20 p.m. EST tonight. Be there or be square!