By Nate Boroyan
As a New England sports fan, I often take it as a personal insult if a player on an opposing team starts talking “trash” about Boston sports. I don’t know why, but I guess after a decade of dominance, I’ve found it hard to believe that people could insult any team located in Massachusetts.
This week however, the teenage angst has dissipated and I have fallen back into a state of euphoric reflection.
If you don’t already know, the New England Patriots have a big game on Sunday, and for the record, they’re playing the New York “Football” Giants.
Yes, it’s the rematch of Super Bowl XLII, but it’s also a chance for redemption, as well as the opportunity to erase the past and remove the phrase, “What could have been” out of our minds.
Admittedly, the matchup originally petrified me. The prospect of facing a team with as much momentum as the Giants with the “mouth-breather,” Eli Manning himself, playing the best Football of his career seemed like a daunting task, but then media day arrived, and from listening/reading quotes from various Giants players, I realized that this is the most emotionally confused and damaged group of football stars.
Half of these so-called, “New Yorkers” admitted that they’ve already won the Super Bowl, while others attempted to act like the Patriots, who’re regularly humble human beings.
Heads up guys, you can’t be world-beaters and underdogs because that’s not how it works. You pick an angle and use it to your advantage. If you say, you’re going to win the game, then stand by it and make sure everyone on the team is on the same page. Although, if you’re going to be the underdog, utilize it to you’re advantage and jack up you’re intensity.
With New England, you know what you’re going to get. They’re going to try and be as down to earth as possible. True, its 99.99 percent mind games, but still, they absolutely won’t say anything that will give the other team added motivation, right?
Although, I must ask, has anyone heard listened to the “talking heads” this past week on ESPN? Well, in case you haven’t, they believe that New York is going to roll over New England, and capture their second NFL championship in four seasons.
In fact, almost every analyst, most notably Phillip Simms and Ron Jaworski picked the Giants to beat the Patriots because of New York’s prolific pass rush. On top of that, the Patriots are only three-point favorites – a line that doesn’t seem unreasonable, especially since New England finished the year, 13-3.
Although, I do wonder if it’s really an insult for a 9-7 team, who ended the season with two loses to the Washington Redskins, as well as one to the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks, to be labeled underdogs against New England?
Last time I checked, the Patriots finished the year with four more wins, but that doesn’t seem to faze Manning, who told the reporters, “Whoever they try to take away, other guys will be open.”
Take it easy there, gunslinger. I know you’ve won a Super Bowl, but you’re not exactly Cam Newton when it comes to charisma.
Cornerback Corey Webster, who has decided to backtrack a bit when it comes to the Giant’s confidence said, “We are just happy to be here. We had a great first practice. The enthusiasm was there and if we keep on doing that then we will be ok.”
Well you might be happy to be in the Super Bowl, Corey, but others seem to think that it’s ludicrous that New York gets to play in this particular game.
Giant’s alliteration and confusion aside, I happen to appreciate the talk, and from a media standpoint, it makes it so much more interesting.
As a Pats fan, the talking has put me in a comfortable mood, and while analyst and players will downplay the significance of trash talk by players, I won’t.
The fact that I’m hearing and reading everything that the Giants are saying leads me to believe that one or two of the Patriots might be doing the same thing, too. However, we’ll never hear about it, but I think its safe to assume that a Bill Belichick coached team is well versed in the practice of finding bulletin board material.
People going against New England and riding the wave of the hot team. They may be favorites, but in reality, they’re underdogs. They can’t overcome Rob Gronkowski’s injury. Their defense can’t contain the Giants offense. Their offense line can’t stop the Giants rush, and certainly they cannot win a fourth Super Bowl.
I don’t think the Patriots would want it any other way. Despite their accolades, they are the same team acting as if they’re the ones that are just happy to be there.
So what does all this mean? Ahem… Cue the Duck Boats!