Last weekend, the NFL delivered yet another encapsulating Wild Card Playoff Round. Unfortunately the Giants were left watching, as their division rival Dallas Cowboys delivered a gutsy comeback to defeat the Lions in a 24-20 victory.
Watching a perennial villain is often enough to make Giants’ fans sick to their stomachs, but there was an extra blow with the Cowboy’s win. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was in attendance in Jerry Jones’ owner’s box cheering on the hated Cowboys. Now Christie has since maintained that he’s been a lifelong Cowboys fan, despite being a New Jersey native. Notwithstanding that, many New Jerseyeans and Giants fans alike were outraged by their Governor cheering emphatically as Tony Romo won the game on a late touchdown pass to Terrence Williams.
Before we address the question of whether fans have the ‘right’ to be angry over such a scenario it’s important to take a step back and look at it from a broader perspective.
This is yet another instance where sports have infiltrated society and culture well beyond the reach of a game. Just the idea of a Governor infuriating his constituents over his fandom shows the power that sports have in contemporary society. Professional and college sports teams represent cities, states, communities and individuals in the region that they play in. It’s a sense of pride to be associated with a team and a city, and fans expect players, coaches, and other members of their community to be a part of it.
Now, taking a break from the trans-cultural element of sport there is obviously a significant comical element to this story. Christie probably could have gone without showing his face at Cowboys Stadium, especially considering the various investigations he has been the subject of over the last several months and his plummeting approval rating. Incidentally, Christie is allegedly being investigated for receiving the tickets. Critics have even hinted that Jerry Jones could be slipping some of that oil money under the table in the form of campaign donations. The answer to that rumor will probably never surface, but it would make for a terrific tabloid story.
Clearly Giants fans have plenty of reason to be upset by the fandom of their governor. As governor, you are the most recognized person in the state and you come to signify its inhabitants much like an athletic club. Sports play an integral role in the lives of millions around the country, and to double-cross your home territory for a hated rival is a definite no-no in sports circles. With Governor Christie likely to attend the Cowboys game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday, the Garden State's political leader is quickly his popularity contest and catching heat from the public for rooting for America's team.