The New York City metropolitan area has nine major sports teams – six play within city limits, the most of any American city – and almost every one of them has a deeply rooted rivalry with a major Boston-area team.
It’s hard to pin down the reason Boston and New York have such animosity for each other. Cities in the Boston-Washington super-metropolitan area have a certain disdain for each other due to a mutual perception of the other as a commercial and tourism drain. Boston, in particular, has been forced to live in the shadow of the much bigger, much flashier New York City – even though both cities have similar colonial roots – and is forced to actively compete for nearly everything with the nation’s largest city. This includes influence in the media and financial markets, impact on shipping and business, and market access for their various sports teams. The two cities even go head to head over who has the best clam chowder.
Despite this, there is not much of a New York Giants-New England Patriots rivalry. As the Giants are an NFC team, they are not in direct competition with the AFC Patriots. Historically, the Giants have not been much of a hindrance to the Patriots – their intraconference regular-season matchups tend not to be overly notable in the analysis of each team’s history.
Even though the Giants have beaten the Patriots in both of the teams’ meetings at the Super Bowl – the 2007 season’s Super Bowl XLII, where the Giants beat the Patriots 17-14; and the 2011 season’s Super Bowl XLVI, which saw the Giants upset the 13-3 regular season Patriots 21-17) – Patriots fans’ animosity is reserved for their New York City in-conference rival, the New York Jets.
However, considering the last time these two teams played each other was Super Bowl XLVI, there is the feeling that the Patriots – who are undefeated at 8-0 going into Week 10 – may be seeking revenge against the Giants (5-4). In a season that has been about settling scores – such as taking on and defeating the Indianapolis Colts following the “Deflategate” controversy and the resulting overturned suspension of Patriots starting quarterback Tom Brady – the notion of putting to rest the ghost of the “Super Bowl win-that-wasn’t” seems to fit perfectly.
Whether this game ignites a rivalry between the Patriots and the Giants is yet to be proven, but it is more than likely that New Yorkers in Boston this weekend will be more than cautious to avoid giving away where they hail from. The Giants will host the Patriots November 15 at MetLife Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:25 PM EST.
Charting Sentiment for a Potentially Sentimental Game
A cursory glance of search term “patriot giants” finds that the Twittersphere is abuzz about the matchup:
That’s like a Jets fan wanting the Patriots to beat the Giants in a super bowl
Being a Patriots fan is struggling to converse about good football w/o someone saying we’re cheaters or a Giants fan bringing up the SB
The Giants will play shitty against the Eagles and play like there life depends on it against the patriots
The Eagles are reallllly bad and the Giants making them look like the ’07 Patriots
The Giants losing wouldn’t bother me so much if I didn’t live in New England and have to deal with Patriots fans talking shit.
Am I the only person viciously enjoying the Giants’ misery and suffering? It fills my Patriots/Redskins heart with so much joy!!
Given the high level of anti–New York animosity currently online, the results of a sentiment analysis of tweets originating in New England about the Giants and New York–born tweets about the Patriots are surprisingly positive. In the case of New York, the positive sentiment perceived among those tweeting about the Patriots averaged a score of 0.31. In New England, those mentioning the Giants achieved a positive sentiment score of 0.29.
Even though it’s the Giants who will be playing the Patriots on the 15th, New England fans’ minds are never too far from their true enemy. Among the top-ranking positive mention terms is “Revis” – a reference to New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, the six-time Pro Bowl selectee who is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the league and who has three interceptions as of Week 7.
Other top terms were “New York,” “Super Bowl,” “Steve Spagnuolo” (Giants defensive coordinator), “Big Blue” (a reference to the Giants), and “Ann Mara,” the recently deceased matriarch of the Mara family. Mara was the grandmother to actresses Rooney and Kate Mara, mother to current Giants CEO John Mara, widow to Giants former co-owner Wellington Mara, and daughter-in-law to Giants founder Tim Mara.
For the Patriots, only reserve running back LeGarrette Blount made the top 10 positive mentions. Blount is slated to start Week 8 for an injured Dion Lewis. This lack of positive mentions for Boston reflects the fact that – outside of New England – the Patriots are still facing an image problem.
Despite this, the November 15 matchup is shaping up to be a release for those who feel the Giants stole the Lombardi Trophy from the Patriots in 2012. Whether this constitutes a rivalry is for the sports historians to decide, but – for the fans – this matchup between two of the league’s best teams will be an emotional one.
We pulled every tweet from since the 2014 season with #patriots in the state of New York and #nygiants in New England, and using the Alchemy API, we looked at the targeted sentiment score of the most commonly used terms throughout. The targeted sentiment looks at the words around a particular term and determines on a scale of -1 to 1 how negative or positive these words are, with 0 being neutral.