The New York Giants and New England Patriots seem pretty evenly matched.
The New York and Boston sports media are not.
It's hard to even compare the two, really. New York is with you all the way when you're winning and the first to jump on you when you lose. Boston is pretty miserable win or lose.
The contrast has never been more evident than during this Super Bowl week. New York has Giants fever. The first word of criticism aimed towards the Giants will be the first. The papers (OK the tabloids anyway) are cheerleading for the team, even attempting to drum up motivation for them by manufacturing a controversy out of innocuous comments from Tom Brady.) All talk on WFAN seems to be how awesome the Giants are. (Come to think of it, most of the country is talking that way, but for now we'll focus on New York.) They're something of a combination of the '85 Bears on defense and the '01 Rams on offense. The team finished 9-7 in the regular season, by the way.
Meanwhile, here in Boston, the talk continues to be ALL about the Patriots flaws. The defense can't cover. Tom Brady gets rattled when pressured. Rob Gronkowski, their biggest weapon on offense, will be limited. Noted contrarians Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti, after spending the majority of the season trashing the team at every turn (while tossing a token "I'll pick them to win this week." in there), started the week with more of the same, all but declaring that Gronkowski needed his leg amputated, but once it was clear that the entire country was picking the Giants, only then did they decide to go against that, and started talking about the Giants talking too much and how that was an indictment of their character as a team.
If the Giants lose, after a week of talking about wins and a parades, you can be sure that the New York media will turn on them, just as they did with the Jets. The back cover of the New York Post last week with the Jets players at the Pro Bowl with the huge headline HONOLU-SERS is an all-time classic.
Meanwhile, if the Patriots lose, expect plenty of smug "I told you so" type of coverage, and perhaps even a nasty surprise or two this weekend before the game. For years, the Globe specialized in hit-jobs on the team on the morning before big games, whether it was about Asante Samuel's contract, Richard Seymour's unhappiness, or the fact that fourth string running back Kyle Eckel finished last in his graduating class at Navy. The Boston Herald, the hub's version of the Post, topped them all the day before Super Bowl XLII when John Tomase's report that the Patriots had taped a walk through of the St. Louis Rams before New England's first Super Bowl title was published. The report was later retracted and the paper issued an apology to the team, but the damage was done. The paper then rewarded Tomase by moving him to the Red Sox beat a year later.
Do you think there is a chance that a negative story is written about the Giants this entire week from the Post or any other New York outlet?
That's what separates New York from Boston in this area. If you're going good in New York, it might be the absolute best place to play in all of sports. As long as you're on top, with few exceptions, you're going to be untouchable, fawned over regularly. In Boston, even if you're the best in the sport at what you do, expect plenty of barbs. That's just how it is.
Even if the Patriots win Sunday, you can expect some efforts at diminishing the accomplishment here in Boston. Hey, the Giants were only 9-7 in the regular season. The Patriots were supposed to win. They just got lucky in a down year in the NFL. They can't repeat with this defense.
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