St. Petersburg Times: Super Bowl XXXV
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Super Bowl XXXV Tampa, Florida 2001
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  • The Road to Super Bowl XXXV

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    It’s same old, same old in New York/New Jersey

    Their baseball, hockey and basketball teams won or came close to titles in the past year. Now it’s the Giants’ turn.


    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 22, 2001

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New Yorkers believe they reside at the center of the universe, anyway. But it's hard to disagree that the sports world revolves around the Big Apple.

    In the past calendar year, the championship in nearly every major sports league had a representative from the greater New York area.

    Already, we've witnessed a Subway Series between the Yankees and Mets, the Knicks in the NBA Eastern Conference final and the New Jersey Devils winning the Stanley Cup.

    A tale of two cities:

    How Baltimore shapes up against New York
    Now it's the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV against the Baltimore Ravens.

    If it's winners you like in sports, Gotham has them.

    "This is the toughest city in the world to play in. Anybody who plays here knows it," Giants defensive end Michael Strahan said. "This is the city where there's more pressure in this place than a pot when you're boiling some chitlins or something.

    "And when you look at it, it's amazing. The Knicks were in the finals. The Yankees have had success. The Mets. And now the Giants -- all within a short time frame. I think our fans are getting a good feel of successful sports here in this city. And the great thing about it is they get spoiled and they want it every year.

    "It's just unbelievable what has happened in this city the last couple years."

    New York loves its sports and worships its sports heroes.

    Witness the outpouring of affection at the NFC Championship Game by Giants fans on stars from the Giants past Super Bowl teams such as Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Carl Banks, Leonard Marshall, Phil McConkey and Brad Benson.

    "You see the guys who came back to show their support the other day, you realize it's special," Strahan said. "It's special to win this thing. It's life-changing. It's not just you win the Super Bowl and that's it. It's a truly life-changing experience."

    Perhaps that's why the Giants will be all business this week, staying away from the nightlife to concentrate on the Ravens.

    "They may be able to party in Tampa. But if you win a Super Bowl, there's no party like New York City," Strahan said. "The ultimate prize is to bring the championship back to New York and then we'll enjoy it."

    How much might depend on New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

    After the Giants beat Denver 39-20 in Super Bowl XXI, Mayor Ed Koch viewed them as traitors, wearing "New York" on their helmets while playing and living in the New Jersey suburbs.

    After the Giants' 20-19 win over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXV, they were hoping for a ticker-tape parade through the Canyon of Heroes. But all they got was a proclamation from Mayor David Dinkins and Giants fans held their party in the stadium parking lot at the Meadowlands.

    That's why quarterback Kerry Collins wanted some assurances from Giuliani after the 41-0 win over the Vikings in the NFC title game.

    "Well, I met Mayor Giuliani (Sunday) and I said, 'If we win, we're having a parade in the city, right?' He said, 'Yeah, we're going to do it. You guys can do whatever you want,' " Collins said. "It'll obviously be great. There's no better city to win in."

    Maybe then the Giants can take their place with the Yankees for a welcome on Wall Street.

    "To get with the Yankees, we've got to do a little more than that," Collins said. "But we certainly have really put together a good season. You can feel the excitement throughout the city, throughout the area. It's something special."

    Today's Super Bowl story lineup

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