As I ride the subways every morning, I notice the great amount of Giants gear everyone is wearing all of a sudden. Yesterday I saw a girl dressed in Giants colors from head to toe, including boots with blue sparkles on them to match her cap. Blue, red and white is certainly the hot fashion colors in New York City this week.
But when I personally think of the Giants, I do not think of New York City. Heck, when I think of “local” NFL football, neither the New York Giants nor the New York Jets are considered a home team. I’m a New Yorker. There is only one New York, and that does not include New Jersey. It’s not a borough, and it’s in another state.
So I feel absolutely no connection to this team everyone is supporting around me all of a sudden. Half of them are bandwagon hoppers, and the others do not realize or care that there is truly not a team in New York City anymore. There has not been a true professional football team in New York since the Jets left after the 1983 season. Unless you count Arena Football League teams like the New York Dragons.
Look, I am not telling anyone from New York not to root for the Giants. I’m saying that in my own singular view, to me, they are not a true New York team. They are physically based in another state, as are all of their operations. New Jersey is not New York. I hear all the time that the Giants are close enough to be a home team. Well, not for me. Just because something is close to something else does not make it part of it. If you live across the street from me, you are not part of my home.
To understand where I am coming from, you need to know some personal history. I grew up in Flushing, Queens, and the Jets were my backyard team. A real home team, one that was as close as a home team could be. When they left New York, and I had to take a city bus, two subways and then a New Jersey transit bus to see them, instead of walking to Shea Stadium, I was finished with them. The Jets deserted New York City, as the Giants did before them. They left me behind and went to another state.
That hurt badly. The Jets were part of my community, my identity. To me, it was akin to the Dodgers leaving Ebbets Field in some ways. New York City tried to get the Jets to stay, they even tried to get them to come back a few years ago, but the Jets want to stay in another state. Good. Let them continue to lose where I don’t have to see them up close anymore.
I will always cherish memories of the real New York Jets. The New York Sack Exchange, Jerome Barkum, Bruce Harper, etc. Those were my Jets. Thankfully, they left and I did not have to deal with Ken O’Brien or Blair Thomas in close proximity.
Being deserted by your team is painful, and surely different for me than others who still root for the Jets and Giants. These rules only really apply to me, and I’m not telling anyone else they should not consider the Jets or Giants their home team. But for me, they are not. I had a home team once and it is long gone.
Spare me the arguments that New Jersey is not far away. It’s still “away”. I’m told all the time that the Giants and Jets are closer to home than any other team I could pick. Well, sorry, once you’re out of sight you’re out of heart. I can pick any team I want to, they are all “away” teams. The Buffalo Bills? Much too far away to consider a true home team.
I understand why the Jets and Giants still refer to themselves as a New York team, but I am not into that “regional” thing. You’re either in my town or you are not. The Mets play a few minutes away from me, I can get to a Knicks game in a few minutes after a day’s work in Manhattan, and if I watched the NHL, the same for the Rangers. To see an NFL game, I have to leave the state and it takes me over an hour to get home sometimes. Close, but not nearly close enough.
Lots of people do not feel the same way as me, and that is fine. Revel in the victory and have fun. I’m happy for all my Giants fans friends. But my heart was broken nearly 30 years ago, and I have moved on. Good for my neighbors, but they are not my home boys.
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- Scott Engel joined RotoExperts.com in 2008 after four years at ESPN.com, where he was an Associate Editor and Fantasy Writer. He began his career as a Fantasy professional in 1996 at CBS Sportsline, where he served as Managing Editor of Fantasy Sports and Senior Writer during his tenure. In 2006, Scott was named Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in his first year of eligibility. Since joining RotoExperts, Scott's work has also appeared regularly on NFL.com and Yahoo Sports. Scott hosts the RotoExperts morning drive program on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio. In 2011, Scott was inducted into the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class. You may email Scott @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @scotteRotoEx