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Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2003 - 5:54 p.m.

Fear and loathing in Aspen

For two days now, I've been basking in the Giants' collapse Sunday against the 49ers. The first reason is because I like the 49ers. I was a relative latecomer to football fandom. I can distinctly remember not caring for it, partly, I think, because I didn't really understand the game. I was at least 11 before I started to enjoy sitting down in front of the TV to watch games. And that was before I discovered Notre Dame.

But when I did learn about the legend beneath the Golden Dome, and then found out about a quarterback called Joe Montana, I started to follow what went on in San Francisco. To me, Montana was the greatest player ever to come out of Notre Dame, and I think such an argument can be made for a long time. He certainly has to be considered in the top three.

The other reason is I hate the Yankees. And so many Yankee fans are Giants fans. It gives some sense of balance in the sporting universe that the Giants not only disprove those who thought they wouldn't make the playoffs, but they jump out to a 24-point lead in a game many thought they had no chance, then blow it. Yet they still had a chance to win, until the field-goal attempt went awry and the officials blew a call.

I am amused at the New Jersey assemblyman who wants the NFL to make restitution to the state because of the lost tax revenue that another week of the playoffs would've generated from players' salaries and Giants-related enterprises. He wants the Super Bowl to be awarded to the Meadowlands by 2006 which also happens to be the year through which the NFL has already designated sites (2006 will be in Detroit's domed Ford Field). Nevermind that NFL rules stipulate that the big game must be played in a dome or a city with an average January temperature of at least 50 degrees. To my surprise, though, I could not find any reference to confirm (or deny) that the assemblyman is a Giants fan.

With all this discussion that's come out over the past two days, I laughed out loud when I read the first line of Hunter S. Thompson's Page 2 column on ESPN.com:

I would like to take as much personal credit as possible for the San Francisco 49ers' mind-shattering victory over those poor bastards from New York last Sunday, but, alas, I cannot.

Well said, Rube.

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