Greason: New York sports fans shouldn’t give up hope
Elizabeth Greason | Thursday, September 28, 2017
I am a New York sports fan. Always have been, always will be. I think that’s pretty evident if you look back at every Sports Authority column I’ve ever written.
I have blind faith in my teams, even when they have done nothing to earn it. The Giants beating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII? Ten-year-old Elizabeth called that. The David Tyree helmet catch didn’t come as a surprise to me. It was more of an affirmation of what I knew to be true: the Giants were simply a superior squad.
And while some people may find fault in that blind faith in the Mets and the Giants, if there is one thing I have learned about New York sports fans, it is that they will go down with their teams. There is no such thing as abandoning your New York squad — unless you’re a Yankees fan, of course — in its time of need. And there have been plenty of times of need in New York lately. And with not abandoning your team comes defending it to the very end.
On Wednesday, my colleague Ryan Kolakowski wrote a column in which he claimed New York sports fans “do not tolerate under-performance.” Now, other New Yorkers, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like, as a Mets fan, I’ve spent the majority of my life tolerating under-performance. And I’m still here to tell the tale. I’m still taking the 7 train to the game.
No, the under-performance that’s going on in the world of New York sports at the moment is not ideal. Would I like to see my Giants be 3-0 and at the top of the NFC East? Of course. But that’s not the way the first three weeks have gone.
I do agree with Ryan on one point: the Giants were supposed to be winners. We’ve got a top-notch quarterback in Eli Manning and potentially one of the best receiving corps in the NFL with a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. After an iffy season last year, going 11-5 and finishing second in the NFC East, it was time for Big Blue to make a charge. To assert dominance over Jerry Jones’ squad from down south and prove it has what it takes with Ben McAdoo at the helm. But that has not been the case so far.
The one point I disagree with most, however, is that the Giants have looked “incompetent” thus far. They haven’t been that bad.
Take the 19-3 loss to the Cowboys out of the equation. That was bad. That was unexpected. I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit rattled watching that game.
The Week 2 loss to the Lions was another rough one. The Lions were definitely a beatable team and that should have been a winnable game. But there was significant progress from the Cowboys blowout, and while Eli spent a significant chunk of time on the turf, the return of Odell Beckham Jr. was a necessary baby step for the team.
But let’s fast-forward to Week 3. The game that gives me hope and reinforces that New York blind faith.
A 27-24 loss to the Eagles after going on an absolute tear in the fourth quarter. I can’t complain about going down on to a 61-yard field goal. It hurts. It really does. It’s one of those things that will haunt me for a while as a fan, but I’m so very proud of my team’s performance.
Eli Manning led the NFL in Week 3 in release time, getting rid of the ball in an average of 1.86 seconds. That’s 0.39 seconds faster than any other quarterback in the League. That’s fast.
Say what you want about Manning, but Sunday he once again proved you can’t spell “elite” without E-L-I.
So, my advice to fans in New York? Stick with your team. Do what you do every season. Jets fans, keep up the “J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets” chants, and keep them loud and proud. Giants fans, keep touting your Beckham Jr. and Manning jerseys, and maybe tell Odell to cool it a little on pretending to be a dog. Sell out MetLife Stadium every weekend, whether you’re expecting a butt fumble, a blowout loss or massive win.
Don’t avert your eyes. This is your team. This is your city. Don’t give up on it just because it isn’t performing as well as we’d like right now. If we did that with everything, what kind of world would we live in?
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.