Former New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde knows Saturday's game between the New York Giants and the Jets is just a preseason game, but it's still bragging rights for the city.
"It's a bigger deal for the players than you think," said Testaverde, who played six seasons with the Jets on two occasions. "Anytime you go shopping or eating or go to the gas station, people will let you know about it if you lose."
Testaverde, who now lives in Florida to help coach his son at Jesuit High School in Tampa, was in New York Thursday, along with former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer, to help MetLife unveil a unique symbol of luck -- an 8-foot statue of Snoopy dedicated to the fans of both teams.
"All of the years I played football, I didn't realize how big of a deal football was until I got to New York," said Testaverde, who played 20 years for seven teams. "With the statue, people can high-five it as they walk into the stadium for good luck."
The buildup for Saturday's MetLife Bowl II (Jets won last year 17-3) has been tremendous, with the Giants coming off winning the Super Bowl and the Jets signing lightning-rod Tim Tebow.
Testaverde said he knows attention will be paid more toward the Jets and how they manage Tebow and starting quarterback Mark Sanchez -- even in the preseason.
"I really believe it's going to be up to the coaching staff and how Mark handles all this," Testaverde said. "I don't know the game plan and the roles they will be playing, but if they stick to what they are talking about, it'll be a successful season."
Testaverde said he doesn't listen to all the barbs toward Tebow, even by former Jets such as Boomer Esiason and Joe Namath.
"All this negative talk doesn't help your football team. The situation is what it is," Testaverde said. "Tebow does bring certain things for that team. Imagine if Sanchez is on the wing and looks like he's running a route, what will the defenses do? They will have some troubles with that."