New York’s Capital Region has long been a cultural, transportation and economic crossroads, and this historic centrality of place is reflected in the sports allegiances you find up here. We’re right on the border of the Yankee/Red Sox divide, for example, with some spunky local Mets fans adding their own distinct spice to the sporting mix. (I believe that flavor is called “futility”). You can also generally find a decent number of Patriots, Giants, Jets and Bills fans in any collection of semi-serious football followers hereabouts. (Well, the Bills fans might shuffle their feet awkwardly and avoid your eyes when you ask, but they are out there).
Marcia and I were making football watching plans today when she asked me an interesting philosophical question: Just who are the Jets’ fans, really? (We’re taking serious, longtime fans, not bandwagon jumpers). And what distinguishes them from Giants fans? Are there sociological divides? Economic ones? Educational differences? Is it something inherited from your parents? Or assimilated from childhood friends?
Does geography play a role? When I lived on Long Island in the ’70s, the Jets used to practice at Hofstra, so I considered the Jets to be our local team in Nassau County, along with the Islanders and Nets, who both played at the Nassau Coliseum at the time. Are there a lot of Giants fans in Albany who support them in the same way because they make their summer home at our State University?
So what do you think? What distinguishes Jets fans from Giants fans? And what makes people choose one team over the other, when they represent the same metropolitan region and play in the same stadium, so should be completely interchangeable with each other?