For New York Giants fans, the end of the 2009 season was full of misery and disgust. Giants fans watched their team transition from a 5-0 front runner into the laughing stock of the league with two abysmal performances to end the season. A collapse so bad even the Giants' ownership apologized.
Giants fans could take solace in looking ahead to next season while enjoying a competitive opening round of postseason football. Instead, fans of the once mighty Big Blue get to hit the couch, or hit the bar, and watch...the Cowboys and Eagles?!?
As if the nationally televised Week 17 edition that followed the Giants 44-7 humiliating finale was not enough, this matchup of the Giants' two biggest rivals now graces our television sets once again.
So how does a Giants fan cope?
Should Giants fans simply make alternate plans for Saturday night and for three hours forget the NFL playoffs exist? Do Giants fans subject themselves to the action only to grind their teeth with every passing minute? Do Giants fans hope a massive support beam in Jerry's World gives out, bringing the whole place down and any chance of a winner with it? Is it even possible to pick a side?
What are Giants fans up against?
1) Philadelphia has won four in a row against New York, including last season's one-sided Divisional Round victory which knocked the top-seeded Giants out of the playoffs. The Eagles ended the Giants' season twice in the last four years, including the 2007 Wild Card game.
2) The Eagles hung 40 or more points on the Giants in both meetings this season.
3) "It's Philly!" The New York-Philadelphia rivalry has further consumed the two neighboring cities over the last three years, whether it's Mets-Phillies, the 2009 World Series or general Giants-Eagles venom.
1) It's the Cowboys. The whole "America's Team" vibe. Jerry Jones. Tony Romo. Roy Williams and his first down signals after a seven yard reception.
2) The repeated humiliations throughout the 1990s. (Can anyone forget Emmitt Smith racing to the end zone waving his hand in a 35-0 Monday Night drubbing of the Giants?) Dallas even offers Yankees fans some perspective on what it is like from the other side.
3) Flozell Adams and his antics. Tripping and injuring Justin Tuck. Picking fights. Poking eyes, etc.
4) The incessant media coverage and Ed Werder's breaking news every time Tony Romo blows his nose.
So, how is one to decide?
To make it easier, just briefly let the name of each team pop into your head. Which team makes you feel worse or leaves a worse taste in your mouth. Whichever team that it is, root for the other guys.
Lastly, there is the Cowboys' postseason losing streak which, if continued, will bring joy to anyone along the I-95 corridor.
So for one night, let's just say "Fly Eagles Fly."