Friday, January 28, 2011
Updated: January 29, 10:04 PM ET
Super Bowl relevant for New Yorkers
By Rich Cimini
Still hurting from the New York Jets' loss? Too bummed to pay attention to the Super Bowl? Take heart, here are a few New York/New Jersey angles that may pique your interest:
The Hate Bowl: The Pittsburgh Steelers, of course, ended the Jets' Super Bowl dream last week in the AFC Championship Game, 24-19. The Green Bay Packers delivered a crippling blow to the New York Giants' playoff hopes, crushing them in Week 16, 45-17. If you're a New Yorker that likes to dislike the teams in the Super Bowl, this game is for you.
B.J. Raji, Packers nose tackle: Say hello to the modern-day Refrigerator Perry. Raji, who attended Westwood Regional High School in Bergen County (N.J.), is known as "The Freezer." He achieved cult status last week with his hip-shaking touchdown dance in the NFC Championship Game. Like the Fridge did 25 years ago for the Chicago Bears, the 330-pound Raji (give or take a buffet) also plays as a blocking back in goal-line situations. Madison Avenue awaits.
|Bergen County product B.J. Raji is a key part of the Packers' defense.|
Cullen Jenkins, Packers defensive end: He bears an uncanny resemblance to his older brother Kris, the New York Jets' nose tackle -- except Cullen is about 60 pounds lighter. Cullen (6-foot-2, 305) even wears his big bro's number, 77. This was a tough year for Kris, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on opening day, but he can enjoy the Super Bowl vicariously through Cullen.
James Farrior, Steelers linebacker: He's the answer to a trivia question: Farrior was Bill Parcells' first draft pick with the Jets, a first-round selection in 1997. Farrior lasted four moderately successful seasons in New York before moving on to Pittsburgh, where he has become a two-time Super Bowl champion and the emotional leader of the Steelers' defense.
Jimmy Robinson, Packers receivers coach: The older generation of New York Giants fans will remember Robinson, who played with the team in 1976-79. In fact, he scored the first touchdown in Giants Stadium -- Oct. 10, 1976, when he caught a 30-yard pass from Craig Morton. Robinson was the Giants' receivers coach from 1998 to 2003 and was instrumental in the development of Amani Toomer.
Ryan Clark, Steelers safety: If there's any trash talking at the Super Bowl, it's a safe bet that it'll be coming from this former Giant, who played under Jim Fassel in 2002 and 2003. Clark is one of the few Steelers not afraid to see words wind up on the opposing team's bulletin board. In that regard, he probably should be playing for the Jets.
Howard Green, Packers nose tackle: Talk about landing on your feet. Green was cut by the Jets this season after their bye week because, well, he was too fat. He was picked by the Packers and, in his first game, he faced the Jets. Made a big play, too. Big Howard, as Rex Ryan used to call him, has become a valuable member of the Packers' line rotation. If the Packers win the Super Bowl, this fat man will be singing a happy tune.
Andrew Quarless, Packers tight end: Interesting back story here. The Uniondale, L.I., product attended Penn State and nearly got thrown off the team for alcohol-related offenses. Joe Paterno gave him a second chance, and he made the most of it. As a rookie, Quarless was thrust into a prominent role when starter Jermichael Finley suffered a season-ending injury in the fifth game, and he responded with 21 receptions and a touchdown.