It may look like a simple, ordinary, field-goal-post-shaped trophy on a block of wood, but to the two families on opposite sides of Wahner Avenue, it means a lot more.
And that New York State rivalry carries over to Wisconsin, where two neighbors believe their respective team is the best. The supporters of the winning team gain possession of the trophy, just as in college football.
The Wahner Trophy has been at stake for six years, now. Each team's logo adorns a side and each year a check mark is placed by the winner's logo. After the game, if the family without the trophy's team wins, a representative sprints across the street and takes the trophy.
But that didn't happen on Sunday.
The Jets snuck away with a win in the Meadowlands, which allowed me to retain possession of the coveted trophy. I ran down to the end of the driveway to show off my prized possession.
It was a long summer... that is, until the Jets acquired Favre from the Packers.
Buffalo swept the Jets last year and looked like they might do it again, but Favre made the match-up much more interesting, which my side of the rivalry desperately needed.
Whenever I would go over to play catch with my neighbor's son, Alan, he gloated over him family’s possession of the trophy.
"So, Curt, are you going to finally get it (the trophy) this year?"
"Just wait," I always answered.
We waited, and now I have the trophy.
And I won it in nail-biting fashion.
The Jets opened up the game with a flawless drive that resulted in a Thomas Jones touchdown run.
That wasn't the highlight of the drive, though.
It was a Brett Favre run on third and one that kept a drive alive and left me literally jumping up and screaming.
The Bills had a little unexpected trickery of their own when punter Brian Moorman ran a fake punt for a first down. The drive resulted in a field goal.
At halftime, the Jets led 21-17.
Leon Washington capped the scoring with touchdown on his ninth gain of forty-or-more yards on the year.
In the third quarter, after a Jets field goal, Leodis McKelvin returned the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. However, a little yellow flag popped out onto the field for a hold at the Bills' 40-yard line.
I could hear the life sucked out of the neighbors' house when the penalty was announced.
The two teams continued to battle and it led to a tight situation late in the game.
If the Bills picked up a first down, the game was over (permitting a fumbled snap).
Then the controversy kicked in.
With just over two minutes left in the game, Bills' head coach Dick Jauron called for a pass.
Running back Marshawn Lynch had been killing the Jets. On second and five, it appeared as if he could easily pick up the first down.
But, quarterback J.P. Losman rolled out to the right on a bootleg with the Jets' Abraham Elam on his heels. The defensive back grabbed Losman and stripped the ball. Lineman Shaun Ellis picked the ball up and rumbled into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. With the extra point, the Jets led 31-27.
The Jets put the game away and I kissed my block of wood.
I know the Jets really didn't deserve to win. They were helped considerably by the four turnovers J.P. Losman committed in the fourth quarter. Thanks, J.P.
The Wahner Trophy remains in the rightful owners' hands—for now.
As for 2009, bring on the rivalry.
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