Our good friend on Twitter @ElieIsElite relayed a comment made my Mike Lupica today on ESPN 1050:
“There’s nothing bigger in this area than Giants football; not the Yankees, not the Mets, not the Jets, nothing! nothing! nothing!”
I am not sure I agree with this statement. Right now, the Giants clearly have overtaken the Yankees for the talk of the town. Check in with me in about four weeks when, win or lose, the buzz from the Super Bowl will have worn off.
For as big as football is in the country, I never have seen it discussed 24/7/365 in New York like baseball. Nothing gets more intense than when both the Mets and Yankees are in contention. Look at the buzz in the city in 1999 and 2000, and from 2006-2008 when both teams were considered “contenders” at the same time. There was a tremendous amount of buzz here for the 2000 World Series. I don’t remember anyone not being excited about it.
The only teams that have “overtaken” the Yankees the last 30 years is the Knicks and the Mets. There was nothing bigger than the Pat Riley Knicks in the early 90s; right before the Yankees first World Series in 1996. The Mets in the 80s were also a bigger story than the Yanks. It bothered George Steinbrenner so much he obnoxiously penned a column for the NY Post during the ’86 World Series. You could put the Rangers in that category for a brief moment during their championship run in the spring of 1994. Of course, my perspective starts in the mid-80s, so perhaps some of you more tenured New York sports fans can add to the conversation. How does the Islanders dynasty in the early 80s stack up?
Baseball in this town always seems to take on a life of its own. Remember, as many as 8 million people have paid to watch a baseball game in this city. That’s a lot of fans, and I am not sure either football team can expand to that reach. Perhaps it has nothing more to do with the fact that football is once a week and only 16 games. The baseball daily grind might give it an unfair advantage in this conversation.
Lupica is saying this because December and January are football months so whatever local team – Jets or Giants – is in the hunt, they will be the story.
I will say that both the Giants and Rangers seem to have the most loyal fans of all the pro teams in this city. If one team could overtake baseball I think it would be the Knicks, for the simple reason they are the only game in town when it comes to the NBA (sorry Nets fans you don’t count), and they unite the city in a way that not even the Mets and Yankees can. Let’s face it; most fans don’t root for the opposing New York team.
Let’s see what you think. Do you agree with Lupica? Are the Giants bigger than the Yankees? What if they win the Super Bowl? Have they become the darlings of the city?
I will say this has been a special run for the Giants, and it’s been a ton of fun to watch.
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