Sunday, January 20, 2008

They might be Giants

The New York Giants take on the Green Bay Packers later this evening in the NFC Championship decider, the winner earning the right to compete in Superbowl XLII in Phoenix on 3 Feb. If they prevail against the odds, the Giants will compete in their first Superbowl since 2001.

I don't care much for American Football. Indeed I have lost count of the times I've sat down, four-pack close at hand, with the honest intention of watching a game from start to finish, only to realise at some point during the 3rd quarter that I've lost the will to live. Whenever a game threatens to become interesting, it seems to descend into a intolerable string of huddles, time-outs and commercial breaks.

However tonight's game is potentially more interesting than most for me, for a few reasons. Firstly and most obviously, there is the local interest although strictly both New York teams play at Giants Stadium, a grim carbuncle firmly in New Jersey. Nonetheless, being in the city when either the Giants or Jets compete in the Superbowl ought to be entertaining if nothing else.

Secondly, there's the weather. The forecast for Green Bay is for the wind chill factor to take 'real feel' temperatures to -8 degrees. Before any Charlton fans remind me that temperatures were doubtless close to -8 degrees at the New Den on that wonderful night in December 1995, I should stress that Green Bay will experience -8 degrees fahrenheit (or -22 degrees celsius!). All that protective gear should keep the players warm at least.

Thirdly, there's the Giants' opponents. Green Bay, Wisconsin has a population of barely 100,000, yet has no problem filling its 73,000-capacity Lambeau Field stadium (outdoors incidentally). Indeed, the Packers warn fans that the waiting list for season tickets is expected to be 30-years, but I saw a documentary recently that suggested expectant fans will literally die waiting such as the low attritition rate.

Moreover, it's difficult not to have a soft spot for the Packers when one learns that they are the only professional sports team in the US which is non-profit and community-owned. One can't claim that Charlton is community-owned (though it is certainly 'community-spirited'), but these days it is firmly non-profit. It is however largely owned by its fans in varying degrees, me included. For these reasons alone, they ought to be the NFL default choice for any Charlton neutral seeking an adopted team. Indeed come to think of it, I might support them tonight myself.

The Giants season record of 10 wins and 6 defeats (including that win at Wembley) does not compare well to the Packers' 13-3 record. Neither meanwhile shapes up compared to the unbeaten New England Patriots who the Giants or Packers are strongly expected to play in a fortnight's time, assuming they overcome the San Diego Chargers.

The Packers quarterback Brett Favre has started every game since September 1992, overcoming abuse of alcohol and painkillers, as well as putting in a heroic performance the day after his father's death, in order to maintain his 253-game consecutive streak, an exceptional and unprecedented record in the most demanding position on the field.

NY Addick predicts: Packers 38, Giants 21. Att: 72, 928.


At 9:48 AM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

If New York is anything like Chicago last year when the Bears got there, then it will be a great experience NYA.

Go The Big Blue.

At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Nug said...

I was lucky enough to be taken to lambeau Field by a work colleague to see the Packers play the Bears. It was certainly an experience and bloody cold! The fans were very exuberant in a sort of England Schoolboy International way. Everyone talks to each other and it wasn't long before the whole section knew I was from London, and were keen to know how I was enjoying my day....very strange. Not as good as going to Watford on Saturday though!!!


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