Given their geographical proximity, it seemed to be destiny that the cities New York and Boston would become rivals. One Babe Ruth trade later, and the rivalry was in full force—initiating memorable moments that would cross generations and sporting boundaries.
That rivalry has shown itself greatly in this year’s sporting postseasons—with the Knicks trumping the Celtics, and the Rangers and the Bruins currently entrenched in what promises to be a series that worsens the already lack of fondness between the two cities.
But, what are the best New York against Boston showdowns of all time? This transcends sporting boundaries, and delves into what match-ups truly exacerbated the already negative feelings in this historic rivalry.
Photo source: turner.com
10. New York Giants at New England Patriots—Super Bowl XLVI, February 5, 2012
It goes without saying that what remained of the Patriots’ 2007 squad entered this game with vengeance on their mind. But, very few players from that squad still remained on the roster: Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Wes Welker, Dan Koppen, and Stephen Gostkowski were the only players on the Pats’ active roster to play in both match-ups.
Ultimately, the Patriots chances at revenge—and a fourth ring for Brady—were cast asunder by another heroic last minute drive from the Giants’ Eli Manning. The final score of the matchup was 21-17 in the Giants’ favor.
This matchup ranks lower on the list for several reasons: it is a rematch that won’t survive in NFL lore to the extent that the first showdown will, and it is due to the fact that both teams boasted quarterbacks that—regardless of the game’s turnout—have secured legacies as some of the top signal callers of the current generation.
Photo source: wcsh6.com
9. New England Patriots vs New York Jets—Week 2 of 2001 NFL Season, September 23, 2001
This is the day that Boston finally received some penance for shipping away the Bambino on December 26, 1919; the Patriots—having yet to emerge from their woeful trend of mediocrity—started the season with a loss against the Cincinnati Bengals. And, going into this game, they hoped that their star quarterback—Drew Bledsoe—would help the team regain some confidence.
At the time, this game seemed rather inconsequential; Bledsoe, who had just signed a mammoth contract with the Patriots that spanned 10 years, got hurt and some unknown backup named Tom Brady would fill in until Bledsoe made a recovery.
Losing the game 10-3, the Patriots left the game 0-2, and serious doubt was being expressed as to their ability to succeed in the 2001 season.
But, in hindsight, it is fairly obvious that every Boston fan owes Mo Lewis—the player who knocked Bledsoe out of the game—at least a certain degree of thanks. Who knows? Brady might have resigned to a career as a journeyman backup, and Bledsoe could have played the next 10 seasons with the Patriots if Lewis had missed that hit, which is still labeled as one of the scariest hits of the 21st century.
Photo source: espncdn.com
8. 2003 ALCS, Yankees against Red Sox, October 8, 2003- October 16, 2003.
When the Yankees’ core players– Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte—still had their youth, and when Jorge Posada was the Yankees’ starting catcher, the team was only a few years removed form a legendary three-straight World Series winning streak that put had many pundits using the word, “dynasty”.
Moreover, the Red Sox looked as though that they had assembled a team that would finally cease the chants of “1918” that they faced at every visit to Yankees Stadium. With Pedro Martinez as their ace pitcher, and stars: Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and Jason Varitek, it seemed as though the Red Sox had finally assembled a talent-loaded roster that would put an end to the legendary “Curse of the Bambino”
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, their woes would be continued for another short amount of time. The Yankees won the series in Game 7 that earned them a trip to the World Series. Moreover, the final game was nothing short of a thriller. A Clemens—Martinez matchup, it went into extra innings and it ended on the seemingly infallible arm of Mariano Rivera.
Needless to say, there was little love lost in this matchup.
Photo source: celtic-nation.com
7. 1990 NBA Playoffs, Eastern Conference First Round—Knicks against Celtics—April 26, 1990- May 6, 1990.
When assessing the past of both teams, the Celtics have the more winning history. With 17 Championships—the most of any NBA team—the Celtics had a large 0-2 series lead on New York.
Led by Patrick Ewing, the fifth year player who had won NBA Rookie of the Year Award honors in his 1985 Debut Season, the Knicks came roaring back from the aforementioned deficit to win the series 3-2.
Several ridiculous highlights later, Ewing ended Game 5 with: 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists—a game that exemplifies why Ewing was picked first overall in the NBA Draft 5 years prior.
Photo source: zimbio.com
6. New York Giants vs. New England Patriots, Week 17 of 2007 Regular Season, December 29, 2007
Ending in a 38-35 victory for the New England Patriots, this was a Super Bowl preview that had the excitement of a playoff-style atmosphere.
A Giants squad that had found a niche as the lovable underdog tested the New England Patriots—a team that would finish a 16-0 season upon the completion of the matchup—to the utmost extent.
This matchup is historic for reasons other than the aforementioned; Tom Brady completed a record 50th touchdown pass in this regular season finale. The record—despite all of the insane numbers that quarterbacks have posted in the past few seasons—still survives.
The game was one that ended in hope for both teams; the Patriots had made history while the Giants showed that they could compete with the best competition that the NFL had to offer.
Photo source: sbnation.com
5. New York Rangers against Boston Bruins, the 1929 Stanley Cup Finals—March 28, 1929- March 29, 1929
Believe it or not, but the Bruins and the Rangers—despite the two franchises being in the original six of the NHL—have met sparingly in the playoffs. In fact, the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs marks the first time since 1970 that the two met in a bid to advance onward in the playoffs.
But, the 1929 matchup was one that will never be repeated again, and it is due to that reason that it breaks the Top 5. It was a Boston/New York bid for a championship, and that is a rarity in sports history. In the end, the Bruins emerged successful in a Game 2 win at the Madison Square Garden— a best of three-victory that undoubtedly left the observing New York residents upset.
Needless to say, there is another championship bid that trumps this one. And it is one that did not bode as well for the city of Boston.
Photo source: espncdn.com
4. New York Jets vs. New England Patriots, Week 1 of 2007 Regular Season—September 9, 2007
The span of 2001-2011 was generally a good time for Boston sports fans. One of every four major sporting team won at least one championship, they broke the Curse of the Bambino, discovered—by pure chance—arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, and they assembled a big three at the TD Bank North Garden that would serve as a model for future teams to copy—such as the Miami Heat.
But, there was an incident at the beginning of the 2007 season that will live on in infamy in the lore of the New York-Boston rivalry—Spygate. In week 1 of the 2007 NFL Season, the Patriots routed the Jets in a 38-14 landslide victory.
The day after the game, Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick was accused of illegally obtaining the Jets’ defensive signs via a covert filming process.
Ultimately, the Patriots’ repercussions were severe, as they lost a first round draft pick in the following NFL Draft. To this day, Belichick remains criticized by certain parties for his illegal actions in the early days of the 2007 season.
Photo source: blogspot.com
3. New York Knicks against Boston Celtics, 1973 NBA Eastern Conference Finals—April 15, 1973- April 29, 1973
This trumps the 1990 matchup for a few reasons; the most primary being that the Knicks upset the Celtics—who were favored to win—over the course of seven games.
As a result of this upset, the Knicks would continue to trump the Lakers in the NBA Finals—securing their second championship in three years.
With players like Clyde Frazier, Earl Monroe, and Jerry Lucas, the Knicks overcame a Celtics team that was arguably one of the best NBA teams to never win a championship.
Photo source: nydailynews.com
2. New York Giants at New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLII—February 3, 2008
Arguably the greatest upset in NFL history, the Giants entered the game as the 10-6 underdogs who were expected to merely play the game and—as a formality—lose to the vastly superior Patriots.
If the average sports fan recollects, many Boston sports stations were airing “Countdown to Perfection” segments in their pre-game shows. But, one miraculous play involving a suspiciously sticky helmet is sometimes enough to secure a Lombardi.
Moreover, the Giants pass-rush harassed Brady for the duration the night. The trio of Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Michael Strahan battered Brady to the point where he and the record setting Patriots offense could only conjure up 14 points.
Before this game, the Giants most likely took backseat to the Jets in the category of: “Which New York Team to Dislike More”. Now with two crushing super bowl losses at the hands of Big Blue, it is clear that the New York/ Boston relation has only worsened. And, the Giants are now public enemy number one in Boston’s football world—despite the fact that both teams only face each other once every four years.
Photo source: theepochtimes.com
1. New York Yankees against Boston Red Sox, 2004 ALCS—October 12, 2004- October 20, 2004
After the conclusion of Game 3 in this series, Red Sox fan’s 86- year long frustration was beginning to culminate. The team, that arguably boasted its most talented roster ever, was behind the Yankees 3 games to 0 in a competition to make it to the World Series.
But, then the Red Sox’s fans faith paid off in the form of four consecutive wins. Game 7—the final game of the series—was nothing short of an offensive display for Boston; when David Ortiz, Johnny Damon, and Mark Bellhorn all hit multiple home runs off of Yankees’ pitcher Kevin Brown.
The Red Sox advanced to the World Series and finally dispelled the legendary Curse of the Bambino. Truly, this changed the landscape of the New York and Boston rivalry; the most iconic taunt of “1918” was no longer chanted when the Red Sox visited Yankees stadium.
Moreover, it began a time in the history of the rivalry where both team’s role in the relationship were reversed. Boston—who won another championship in 2007—became the favorite, while the Yankees—struggling with aging veterans—was the team that was the inferior.
Chronicling the past ten competitions makes one thing clear: the New York/ Boston relationship is not about to improve any time soon. The rivalry will continue throughout all of the four major American sports.
Sporting seasons are always more interesting when Boston and New York teams face off in the playoffs. Sporting fans have been especially fortunate to get two occasions—the Celtics and the Knicks, along with the Bruins and the Rangers—where they can take sides and passionately represent their city in this ongoing feud.
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