Anatomy of a rivalry: Giants vs. Patriots

Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning

What is the NFL’s best rivalry?

Redskins-Cowboys hasn’t been good since Joe Gibbs and Tom Landry were matching wits. Eagles-Giants has provided some classic moments, but Philadelphia has dominated (winning eight of last nine in the series). Patriots-Colts was way up there — until Peyton Manning’s neck injury. And Ravens-Steelers is perennially good, if you like defense.

However, Giants-Patriots has evolved into one of the most intriguing in all of football. While the frequency isn’t there — the teams have met just three times since 2008 — the animosity certainly is. Those three games have been decided by an average margin of victory of 3.3 points, with the Giants taking two of them, including a Super Bowl.

Yes, this rivalry is still in its infancy stages, but don’t discredit it. New Yorkers hate New Englanders, and vice versa. With that in mind, we take a look inside the rivalry.

The Players
Osi Umenyiora vs. Matt Light: Umenyiora called Light out for dirty play prior to Super Bowl XLII. Now, he’s up to his old tricks after claiming Light shoved him late when the The two teams met back in Week 9, a 24-20 Giants win. “I’ve actually fought him twice, actual real fight on the football field, twice,” Umenyiora told The Star-Ledger. “Me and him, we have history. We’re going to rekindle it on Sunday.”

The Cities
New York and Boston can’t even agree on what constitutes real clam chowder. Is it cream-based or tomato-based? Whatever your choice of soup, the cities are connected, mainly due to Yankees vs. Red Sox. Empire State Building vs. The Hancock … OK, maybe that’s not fair but you get the idea. But one local New York City bar — Foley’s Pub — has banned the sale of Boston-based Sam Adams beer during this weekend’s big game.

The Coaches

Like wrinkles, how about this: Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick won a Super Bowl together 21 years ago as assistants under the legendary Bill Parcells. Belichick as defensive coordinator, Coughlin as receivers coach. “I would say that as an assistant coach it was the best relationship that I have ever had with another counterpart in that way,” Belichick said recently.

The QBs
Tom Brady has those lead-actor looks and the arm candy to prove it, in supermodel wife, Gisele. However, a recent poll conducted by cheater’s website AshleyMadison.com revealed that 54 percent of married women would rather have an affair with “aww shucks”-looking Eli Manning. Brady, of course, has two more Lombardis than Manning.


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