Few things in sports are better than an honest-to-goodness rivalry.
There’s a reason why sports fans who don’t watch baseball can admire the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees rivalry. There’s a reason why sports fans who don’t watch basketball can regale you on the Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics rivalry. There’s a reason why sports fans who don’t watch college sports can wax poetic about rich collegiate rivalries like Michigan-Ohio State or Duke-North Carolina.
That reason? Rivalries are fun and, while there’s far too much real hate in the world, sports “hate” can add intensity to any game.
Case in point: There may not be a whole to write about when it comes to tonight’s NFC divisional round game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. On paper, at least, the Eagles are every bit as good and talented as their 14-3 regular season record would suggest, and they’ll be hosting the Giants in Philadelphia to boot. The game could end up a 56-0 bludgeoning.
But the Giants and Eagles are fierce NFC East rivals, with their disdain for each other perhaps only matched by their disdain for their fellow NFC East foe, the Dallas Cowboys. And with that rivalry comes a lot more scrutiny over even the most mundane of incidents.
Take, for instance, what the Giants had the misfortune of discovering at their hotel ahead of tonight’s game.
According to ESPN beat reporter Jordan Raanan, the hotel had no water this morning.
Raanan cited a notable Giants superfan who first brought up the “small problem” at the hotel.
Notice that the word “broke” is in quotes, implying that something more untoward than a mere plumbing issue was going on. Thanks to the magic of rivalries, it didn’t take long for other Giants fans to immediately assume shenanigans had taken place.
Fortunately for the Giants and their more tin foil-crowned fans, water was eventually restored to the hotel, giving the Giants ample time to shower and hydrate.
Again, this story illustrates the beauty of sports rivalries. Busted plumbing is hardly newsworthy in and of itself. But given the teams involved, you have a veritable “moment” before the big game.
Speaking of which, I’d be remiss not to mention that the Giants, despite being underdogs, do have a lot of positive momentum going into this game.
Not only do they have an elite offensive coach in Brian Daboll, but the team has won eight of its last 10 games after getting No. 5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux back from injury. Embattled quarterback Daniel Jones looks like he’s reinvented himself under Daboll’s stewardship, and superstar running back Saquon Barkley looks like his old self again. There’s a lot for Giants fans to be positive about.
While New York will look to play spoiler on Saturday night, the afternoon game will feature the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs. Then on Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals will travel to Buffalo to face the Bills, while the San Francisco 49ers will host the Dallas Cowboys to conclude the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
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