Monday, August 31, 2009

Sportsology: Jets-Giants tilt electrifies the Big Apple

By Rick Morris

Here's some great first-hand coverage of New York's big football showdown over the weekend, courtesy of our friend Russ Cohen and Sportsology in The 21st Century Media Alliance.

Russ's Rants - Jets-Giants: The Showdown at the Meadowlands Was Fun
By Russ Cohen

The Jets and Giants have been playing against each other for 40 years and the vast majority of them have been played at the Meadowlands, or "Giants Stadium," where the Jets have been second-class tenants for too many years to count. Well, they played their last game at this old football field over the weekend and the Jets won -- and it meant something, even though it was preseason.

Giants fans were asking: why did the Jets fans care, and the answer is simple. Fans don’t know what to expect from the team this year with a rookie QB, so they were looking to see how Mark Sanchez would fare in his first pro start and this was a good test against yet another strong defensive team. He faced Baltimore the week before and even before he was named the starter, his coach was gushing about what he saw.

“He has earned the reps with the first-team,” says Rex Ryan of his rookie QB. “The guy had to earn his reps, and he’s done that. Without question, he’s done that.”

Sanchez looked poised in the pocket, and even when the Giants had the pass rush going, he was able to avoid trouble and throw for some big gains. The Giants' lack of tackling skills really showed in this game, but again, the rookie slinger had a better game than Eli Manning.

Jets running back Leon Washington was the best offensive player and Jericho Cotchery was a close second. Vernon Gholston, the team's slow-starting first-rounder from last year, had an impressive sack on Giants QB David Carr.

I think the Jets are an 8-8 team, but with a few breaks and a relatively easy schedule, there is some cause for optimism.

For Gang Green fans who are trying to forget about Brett Favre, this quote should make them chuckle: “Each day, things have gotten a little smoother,” says Favre. “It’s now just about football. Business as usual.”

I’ve been coming to this stadium for years, and I have seen a few Giants games, one of them a Monday Night contest when Joe Namath was a part of the broadcast team, and the other on Thanksgiving when PA announcer Bob Sheppard (who amazingly announced Saturday’s game as well even at age of 98) angered the crowd when he announced “Game Over” just as the team’s drive was cut short of the goal line with no time left on the clock. But I will talk about the Jets memories I have, and here they are, not in any particular order:

1) Jets-Jags - 1999 playoffs – The Jets beat the Jags and head coach Tom Coughlin 34-24. We had great seats in the lower bowl, we were wearing Tuna Heads and Curtis Martin and Vinny Testaverde were stellar. It was a great week and a great day.

2) Jets-Pats – 1985 playoffs – It was a 4 PM game. I was wearing after ski boots, and full winter regalia as I sat in the upper level. I had my Sony Watchman for replays and it had frost on it. Tony Eason led the Pats to an easy 26-14 win and I was annoyed, to say the least. Johnny Hector scored a touchdown and then fumbled one that the Pats turned into six. More Jets frustration.

3) Jets-Seahawks – 2000 – Parcells, last game as Jets head coach. They won the game 19-9. Curtis Martin ripped off a 50-yard run and Wayne Chrebet was the best receiver on the field. Ray Lucas won the game and “The Tuna” didn’t make the playoffs and he swore this was his last NFL job. What a joke!

The Giants are a class organization, but I hope the new shared stadium will offer Jets fans more than just a banner with the team’s name covering up the Giants name. It has always rubbed me the wrong way.

No comments: