Should we call Jets-Giants a rivalry? Todd Bowles says no

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, says Jets-Giants is interesting for the fans but is not a rivalry. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

It's not a rivalry in the traditional sense, certainly not as intense as New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox or Michigan-Ohio State. But the New York Jets and New York Giants are rivals, no doubt. They play in the same metropolitan area, share the same stadium and compete for the same entertainment dollars and endorsement money.

Todd Bowles disagrees.

"No, I don’t think it’s a rivalry because you don’t play them as much," said the Jets' coach, who grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey. "They’re not in the same division. You only play them once every [four] years. The fact that we’re in the same city, same stadium makes it very interesting for the fan base but other than that, no."

Years ago, back in the 1980s, Jets-Giants had more juice because they used to play each other in charity basketball games during the offseason. Every so often, you'd read about a chippy game between the two teams. Those times are long gone. These days, you're lucky if the players interact on Twitter, let alone a basketball court.

Still, I say it's a rivalry. They're neighbors, chasing the same prize, and they've experienced enough spats over the years to keep it interesting.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is new in these parts, but he received a quick history lesson from teammate Nick Mangold, who arrived in 2006. They talked on Monday.

"I’m sure, just throughout the week, I’ll get a better sense from the guys that have been around and been in that type of game," Fitzpatrick said. "[There’s] already plenty of chatter around the community with different people that I know that are either Jets or Giants fans. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, that I’m looking forward to."

What did Mangold tell him?

Mangold said he talked logistics. Because the Jets are the away team, he told Fitzpatrick they will have to park in a different stadium lot than usual. He also said to expect most of the Jets' fans to be tucked away in the upper deck, just as they would in a traditional road game.

"It's different having another team in your hometown," Mangold said. "It's something, until you experience it, you don't really understand it."