THERE’S NOT MUCH brotherly love at the moment between the cities of Philadelphia and New York.
Jimmy Rollins, the Philadelphia Phillies’ shortstop, couldn’t resist taking another dig at the New York Mets during his team’s World Series celebrations.
Referring to the signing of high-profile pitcher Johan Santana last winter, Rollins said: “It takes more than one player to bring home a championship.”
The Phillies hadn’t won baseball’s World Series since 1980. The city’s football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, have never won a Super Bowl.
If they are going to make it third time lucky next year (they were runners-up in 1981 and 2005) then they’re going to have to find a way past the New York Giants.
The NFC East is undoubtedly the toughest division in football. The Eagles currently stand at 5-3 yet find themselves in third place behind the Giants (7-1) and Washington Redskins (6-2).
That makes Sunday’s meeting between the teams in Philadelphia one the Eagles can’t really afford to lose.
Both teams are in top form. The Giants crushed the Tony Romo-less Dallas Cowboys 35-14 yesterday while the Eagles slaughtered the Seattle Seahawks 26-7.
Giants now the team to beat in the NFL
Donovan McNabb passed for 349 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles recovered from conceding an early seven-point deficit.
Adding spice to an already tasty contest is the fact that the Giants edged last year’s contest 16-13 to all but eliminate the Eagles from playoff contention. Kicker David Akers hit the upright on a 57-yard field goal attempt with one second remaining.
The Giants, of course, went on to win 11 successive games on the road – a streak snapped by Cleveland last month.
Tom Coughlin’s men must come to terms with the fact that they are no longer the underdog, as they were in every playoff game last season.
They’re now the team to beat and they can expect another cauldron of hostility when they come face-to-face with old foes Brian Westbrook and Co. this Sunday. The Eagles will certainly be up for it.
“I can’t wait,” said safety Brian Dawkins. “I’ve always enjoyed playing against them because I know it’s going to be a physical battle. I know it’s going to usually be a nail-biter, and it’s usually a competitive game, a very competitive game.
“We definitely respect this team, and it’s one of those games you really look forward to. We would like to win. We’ll see what we’ve got.”
That respect, I suspect, is mutual. Rollins is right. It takes more than one player to win a championship –as both the Phillies and Giants proved in 2008.
Whatever the outcome, though, there will be no love lost between Eagles and Giants fans this weekend.