Two of the most Irish communities in the country are headed for battle in less than two weeks for Super Bowl XLVI. With names like Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, and Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants attached to this year’s showdown, rivalries between the New York and Boston Irish will be coming to a fever pitch.
New Yorkers are remaining optimistic about their underdog Giants, and hoping for a repeat of 2008.
New Yorker and Irish-American Daniel Jagoda said of Big Blue that they’ve “rebuilt” this year.
“They’re the underdogs of the season! No one thought they would get this far.”
It was only four years ago when the Giants met the New England Patriots for a Super Bowl showdown and gave a ‘giant’ upset by ending the Patriots’ run for an otherwise perfect season.
Tara Sullivan, sports writer for the The Record in New Jersey, writes that the Giants are headed down a familiar path and will beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
“Four years ago, Eli Manning wrote his first stirring championship story by upending the undefeated, heavily favored Pats,’” writes Sullivan. “Now, he has the chance to do it again, to become the first Manning brother with two Lombardi trophies, to do so in Indy where big brother Peyton has soared, to become the first Giant quarterback to make the same two-title claim.”
In Boston, however, the memory of a famous upset at the run for a perfect season is still a sore topic.
When asked about the Irish and Irish American attitude in Boston towards the upcoming Super Bowl, Connell Gallagher, publisher of the Irish Emgirant newspaper in Boston, noted how the Irish are quick to form allegiances to their new found hometowns in America, and that that rings very true for places like Boston and New York.
“It’s fair to say that there’s true pride and loyal support for the Patriots here in Boston,” said Gallagher about the Irish and Irish American fan support, which is similar to that in New York.
He remembers how the die hard Patriots fans were not so upset with the Super Bowl loss in 2008 against the Giants, but rather that the Giants famously ended the Patriots’ run at a perfect season.
That sentiment is sticking with New England fans now for the coming weeks, setting the stage for a brutal match of fan support on February 5th.
Kiera Keller, an Irish American in her freshman year at Boston College, is a recent New Jersey transplant to New England. When asked about the attitudes towards the upcoming match, she said that “tensions have been running high since Sunday” once the Giants confirmed their place in Super Bowl XLVI.
“All of the Pats fans are claiming that this is their chance to get revenge on the Giants for stealing their Super Bowl win last time,” said Keller. “And all of the Giants fans are preaching their confidence that they're just going to destroy the Pats again, since they did a couple of years ago.”
Keller adds that adding fuel to the fire is the fact that despite their dismal regular season record, the Giants already beat the Patriots in the fall.
“Everyone is talking about it in the dining halls, at the gym, and even our professors are in our classes,” said Keller of the atmosphere at Boston College.
Back in New York, the going is tough for Patriots fans. Connecticut native Erica Conover attends Marist College in Giants-centric New York state. A born and bred Patriots fan, she’s seeing the next few weeks as a “challenge.”
“It has only been a day since the championship games, and blood is starting to boil among students involved in the rivalry already. Anytime you get into a discussion involving the Patriots and the Giants, you wouldn't be able to walk away without hearing the words, ‘Super Bowl XLII’. It is almost like that is the only thing used to justify a Giants’ victory in this upcoming Super Bowl.”
Despite the swaying tides of Giants support at Marist, Conover remains resiliently hopeful. “I'm sure as hell excited to witness what will be a giant loss for the state of New York,” said Conover.
And for every die hard Giants or Patriots fan, there are a slew of other disappointed fans who didn’t get to see their team go all the way to the Super Bowl this year. Attitudes remains split as to who they’ll support in Super Bowl XLVI in this section of NFL fans.
New Jersey native Colin Power is throwing his support behind the Giants for victory in the Super Bowl, despite otherwise being a Jets fan.
“I'm a Jets fan, but even I can get behind the Giants on this one. Better a New York team than the Pats!” said Power.
Not all Jets fans are as willing to jump ship and swing their support for Big Blue. Co Kerry native John O’Shea, a Jets fan since he moved to New York in 1982, says that he’d rather not see either team win.
“The Patriots and the Giants are pretty much the sworn enemies of our Jets; I could care less who wins.”