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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Tynes Didn't Look at Strike Three

Kudos to my friend Mark for putting the NFC championship into Met perspective for me:

I root for the Jets, but I’d have to imagine for a Giants fan, that was kind of like winning Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.

Yeah, I thought, kind of. There was a definite twinge of life after death that followed the kicker missing the winning field goal at the end of regulation and being given another attempt in OT. It was as if Beltran had gotten just a tiny little bit of that 0-2 curve from Wainwright and was granted another swing.

And connected.

Now, thanks to Lawrence Tynes, the Giants are going to the World Series of football, the Super Bowl. It’s only sinking in how amazin’, amazin’, amazin’ this is. These are the Giants of Eli Manning, which as recently as a month ago was code for don’t be silly, there’s no way they’re going anywhere even if they are in the playoffs for a third consecutive year. These are the Giants of ornery Tom Coughlin for whom I’ve been willing to endure a 5-11 season just to get him fired on principle. I look at Tom Coughlin and I see Art Howe’s nasty brother.

Yet there they are, Manning and Coughlin and the rest of them I barely know or moderately tolerate in the same laundry and logo I’ve always gravitated to and they are half of the last two teams standing. When I was a kid in the ’70s, I couldn’t imagine the Giants in the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. Then, finally, there was that golden age of Parcells and Simms and Taylor with a dash of Hostetler and Ottis Anderson and several other true Giants, and the result was two absolutely thrilling world championships. I really gave a damn back then. As overtime began at Lambeau, it was noted the Giants were 0-2 in playoff sudden death, including the infamous loss to the Colts in ’58. What was the other one, I wondered. Oh yeah — the Flipper Anderson game that knocked them off on January 7, 1990. I was so inconsolable after that one, the date sticks with me eighteen years later.

Somewhere along the way, the Giants’ shortcomings became a matter for which consolation was not required in copious amounts. I never expected a single Super Bowl. I got two mighty wins. Everything thereafter was bound to be letdown (especially Ray Handley). In the handful of dramatic mediocrity-interrupting Giants losses since they last lived up to their enormous name, I’d be miserable for a day, then an evening, then an hour, then maybe the seconds it took me to resume the countdown to pitchers and catchers.

The Mets long ago overwhelmed all my ancillary sports loyalties. Annoyance with Coughlin’s “you’re late if you show up five minutes early” brand of motivation (which probably makes sense to football players) notwithstanding, I’ve never actively rooted for Giant failure. I just became less and less concerned with what they did. A quarter to half of their season interferes with baseball. I resent that. By the time I look up in November (once I’ve had the opportunity, as Chuck puts it, to decompress from whatever catastrophic event I’ve experienced in September and perhaps October), there are suddenly large, tattooed men wearing numbers that used to belong to Gary Reasons and Lee Rouson and spare ’80s Giants I have no business remembering but do because those Giants teams were so memorable and football today is just something that gets in the way of baseball.

A few weeks ago, there was an inane public debate over whether the Giants, a playoff spot inexplicably in their pocket, should play hard against the Patriots, who were going for a perfect record. I watched that game more intently (mostly rooting against the ’72 Dolphins) than I’d watched any Giants game in a few years. I watched them beat the Bucs two Sundays ago and it was quietly gratifying. I watched them beat the Cowboys last Sunday and it was surprisingly exciting. I watched them play the Packers with muted emotions earlier. It was good to see they were still playing hard. But honestly, they were playing at literally below zero, against Brett Favre, the guy with the misplaced “v” and all those comebacks. What was the point?

The point was Tynes the kicker got another shot at a winning field goal and, after that asinine coach barked at him when he missed in the fourth quarter, took the bat off his shoulder and nailed it, and the football team I’ve rooted for as long — if nowhere near as deeply — as I’ve rooted for my baseball team was going to the Super Bowl for the fourth time…which makes it four more times than I ever thought I’d see. I have almost no doubt they’ll lose 43-6 when they face the Patriots again, but I think I’ve been pretty clear that football isn’t the sport where I excel at understanding. I rarely if ever show up five minutes early for anything.

23 comments to Tynes Didn't Look at Strike Three

  • Anonymous

    Foot-ball?

  • Anonymous

    Greg, the Football Giants for years have served the purpose of helping me forget the previous Baseball season-for that matter so do the Rangers…
    This is really a great sports story period! What they have done is nothing short of remarkable!! Win or lose in the Super Bowl it's been an amazing ride….
    Rich

  • Anonymous

    Coughlin is such an @sshole. Way to motivate your players, old man. I was happy to see Tynes rise above it. I also enjoyed watching Eli play while his cocky older brother sat at home.

  • Anonymous

    The 2006 Mets were favored, the top seeded team. I think the Giants' win is more comparable to the 99 Mets had Armando (grrrr) or Franco (grrrr) been able to hold the lead and things had progressed from there. These Giants and those Mets are / were the wildcard, many times counted out, piling up unlikely wins, mojo risin', all that.
    As a Jets fan, I have a lot of time on my hands to contemplate such things.

  • Anonymous

    I second that.
    Also, Greg, it's funny you bring Art Howe's name into all of this. I don't know if you were implying that you rooted for the Mets to lose towards the end of his tenure, but I sure did. It's the only time in my life I've ever rooted hard against them, but I did in September 2004, and I got my wish: no more Art Howe.
    Anytime I get pissed at Willie, I keep reminding myself, “he's not Art Howe. He's not Art Howe. He's really not that bad.”

  • Anonymous

    I rooted for the Mets in spite of Art Howe, though it annoyed me that he got any credit whatsoever when they were going well for a little while there in '04. I was quite impressed with how (or Howe) he was let go in the middle of September and then just wouldn't leave because he wanted the free trip to Pittsburgh the schedule entailed because it gave him a chance to visit family on the organization's dime. Now THOSE were dysfunctional Mets.

  • Anonymous

    Coach Coughlin-to his credit-has done much to mend the broken fences between him and his players.He seems different-and so does many of his players and they have responded in kind..
    Calling him an Asshole is just plan wrong. And lets face it
    todays pro player cant be easy to motivate…

  • Anonymous

    25 days… if anyone's counting.

  • Anonymous

    like you, football fails to get me stoked the way baseball nonchalantly does. perhaps being a jets fan has something to do with that. i had no dog in this fight, other than the small rooting interest in the giants an office pool provides. still, it was a memorable game, despite coughlin.
    even so, the jets fan in me must note: there's a lot of things you can call the giants' super bowl win over the bills (the only true new york team), but mighty isn't one of them.
    hey scott norville, this tynes' for you.

  • Anonymous

    Y'know, it's about time for me.
    Our Mets did…well, you know what they did last September. My dog died at ten minutes to midnight on New Year's Eve. Happy New Year, Seacrest. My presidential candidate of choice, Rep. Duncan Hunter, just quit the race. And if the Giants hadn't won that game, well, I don't know what I would have done. It's been a rough hundred and eleven days.

  • Anonymous

    It may have been a one-point win, but it was the mightiest of victories.

  • Anonymous

    Let's win one for Seacrest (if not Duncan Hunter).

  • Anonymous

    The Mets should have a leader with some visible passion-a little old school fire..Art Howe and Willie Randolph are pretty dull guys. But one is long gone and the other has the clock ticking-or so I hope..
    Let Coach Coughlin carry on all he wants-he has just won the Football equivalent of the Pennant. He is a proven winner anywhere he has been and frankly I think many local Football fans are basically ignorant overly critical assholes themselves who should keep there negativity confined to George Bush..
    Rich

  • Anonymous

    i'm sorry, i wasn't clear.
    at the end of a game, a team has victory in its grasp, with execution of a single play in the final seconds the only issue — the defense at that point essentially irrelevant to the outcome of that play — then fails to execute that play properly.
    t
    he giants didn't win that game. the bills lost it.

  • Anonymous

    OK, so my Dad was actually a bigger Giant fan than he was a Met fan.
    Some of his happiest moments — he told me — as a father were when I was about 2 years old and would sit on the floor between his legs and we'd watch the Tarkenton/Fredrickson/Peay/Lurtsema Giants in their infinite mediocrity.
    In January '87, he went to Pasadena and told me upon his return that there is no better feeling in the world than watching your team, one for which you've rooted for for forty-plus years, win the biggest game there is or ever will be in person. And he wasn't normally one to wax poetic.
    In January '91, we went to Tampa together and I watched the best Super Bowl ever played personally, if not exactly up close, and I knew what he meant. (I was actually gathering up all my SB XV swag and missed the Norwood miss.)
    December 29, 2007 — the day the Giants almost took down perfection — was the day of my Dad's funeral. We like to say that he was otherwise occupied to pay much attention to a football game. We think he was able to concentrate after that day.
    On January 20, 2008, I felt like I was sitting on floor between my father's legs again…

  • Anonymous

    The Bills may have lost it in terms of the kick, but the Giants very much won it with the 14-play, 9:29 drive that opened the second half. Two teams played wonderfully and to their strengths that night, even if only one could get a trophy. Best football game I ever watched, happiest a sporting event conducted without a baseball ever made me.
    The fact that the Giants' score ended in 0 and the Bills' score ended in 9 may have had a little something to do with that as well.

  • Anonymous

    Can't argue with the results, not this week. Still rubs me the wrong way. I'm not a huge Willie Randolph fan, but I'll take him over the second coming of Vern Rapp anytime.

  • Anonymous

    should be “SBXXV swag…”

  • Anonymous

    The Tooz will be disappointed to hear of the revision.

  • Anonymous

    I hear the same stuff from Yankee fans in regards to 86: the Mets didn't win the World Series, the Red Sox lost it. I don't buy it. Look at what the Red Sox did in the Bottom of the 10th, or in Game 7, or the fact that they took the first two games on the road and still lost, and you're telling me that style of play is worthy of World Champions? No sir. World Champions rise up, overcome obstacles, and never miss a chance to capitalize on an opponent's mistake–and that's exactly what the Mets did in 86. Teams that choke do not deserve to be champions of anything.
    If you want to break it down in a different matter: The Sox gave us Game 6, but we gave them Game 1. That leaves a best-of-5 series, which we won 3-2.
    But all that aside, if you were going over each NFL team before the 1990 season and you saw under Buffalo, “kicker can only do the job when the attempt is under 40 yards,” would you pencil them in as Super Bowl Champs? Wouldn't you think, “gee, they should get a better kicker”?
    Bahr got the big field goals, and Norwood didn't. I don't know about you, but I'd think that tips the “better team” argument into the Giants favor.
    (Just so you know, I know next-to-nothing about football. I'm more or less a baseball-only guy. If you want to pick apart this defense of the 90 Giants, and teach me a thing or two, be my guest.)

  • Anonymous

    I think it's more a mis-placed “r” than a misplaced “v,” Greg. I know he probably pronounces it the American/dyslexic way, like everyone else, but I can't bring myself to say “FaRve.” I'm happy for the Giants, but I'm disappointed for him. Favre was one of my childhood football idols and it would've been nice to see him in the Super Bowl for what ought to be his final season.

  • Anonymous

    no, that's a false equivalency, and you should never let a yankee fan diminish the glory of 86.
    the mets won that championship. why? because they came back from behind to outscore the red sox, and not only in game six — i would never concede that the sox gave the mets that game, the mets grabbed it back. and they had already scored the tying run when the buckner play occurred. and then the sox went up three in the seventh and concluding game — and the mets came back to win THAT game.
    you're absolutely right. champions come back. in the same situation the mets came back. (and you could look it up, the red sox NEVER overcame a deficit in that series, never once overcame a single mets lead.)
    set aside all that went before, at the end of their game, of their season, faced with the same execute-or-die imperative, the bills were in the position to win and did not. because the clock ran out, the giants, by default, were the victors. but they didn't win that game. the bills lost it.

  • Anonymous

    The clock is part of the game. The Giants ate up clock like crazy. If Kelly didn't have time to march the Bills ten yards closer for Norwood, that's a result of all that had come before. The score accurately reflects what happened that day: the Giants were one point better.