The spirit of the game is here
Hey, just check the address
Editor's note: Sue Bird grew up in Syosset, N.Y., and plays for the Seattle Storm of the WNBA. She is a three-time Olympic gold medalist.
I feel for New Jersey, I really do. It's hard being next door to New York -- those buildings and that splendor cast a really long shadow. I have friends from New Jersey. They're great. So is the state itself, even if I haven't really spent much time there because it's so close to New York and, you know, why bother? (Kidding, of course! Jersey is great. The smell is unmistakable.)
Here's how I feel: Yes, a small patch of land in New Jersey holds the actual stadium in which the game will be played. But everything else -- especially everything that creates the spirit of the event -- is taking place in New York. When folks in Denver and Seattle are packing their bags and telling their family and friends they're going to the Super Bowl, what do you think they're saying? They're saying, "We're going to New York for the Super Bowl!" That's what they're saying.
And when they get there, what do you think they're doing? They're not taking the train to Newark to walk around the streets, trust me on that. They're going to Broadway shows and museums, eating at famous restaurants and going to the top of the Empire State Building. Then, on Sunday, for a few hours, they're taking public transportation to that aforementioned small patch of land upon which MetLife Stadium was built. And during Sunday's broadcast, repeated shots of the New York City skyline will inevitably be shown.
Any claim that New Jersey has on the game is just pure semantics.
But you know what I learned growing up in New York? I learned how to share. So while I believe New York is actually hosting this Super Bowl, I'll gladly call it the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl, as a gesture of compassion.
It's not easy being Jersey.
Editor's note: Heather O'Reilly grew up in East Brunswick, N.J. She is a midfielder for the United States women's national soccer team, with whom she has won three Olympic gold medals. She also plays for the Boston Breakers of the National Women's Soccer League.
There is no doubt that many of the off-field activities are taking place in New York City. I love New York; it's one of the most exciting, dynamic and diverse cities in the world. I don't think anybody needs me to list all of the ways in which New York is great. (Pretty sure the city doesn't need a confidence boost.) But at the end of the day, the address of the game itself is the following: 1 MetLife Stadium Dr., East Rutherford, N.J., 07073.
Let's just recognize for a second that most Jersey folks have always tolerated teams that are based in New Jersey being labeled as "New York": the Giants, the Jets -- even the Red Bulls of the MLS play in Harrison. (That's New Jersey, for those keeping score at home.) I get it; space is more readily available in New Jersey. We're not crammed onto a tiny island. But something has to give. New York can't just take and take and take, especially considering that in this case, most New Yorkers don't even seem to notice that the Super Bowl is going on around them.
New Jersey notices! We love the Super Bowl.
Furthermore [Heather clears throat], both the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos flew into Newark Liberty International Airport. And guess where both teams are staying? That's right: In Jersey City.
We are tired of the rest of the country thinking we don't matter, that we're the city's sixth borough or something. When it comes to the Super Bowl, New Jersey needs credit, because we're doing much of the heavy lifting (like usual).
Look, I lived in the West Village for a while, so I have love for both places. I don't have a problem with the two states splitting the title, but it should be the New Jersey/New York Super Bowl -- and here I'm stressing that the "New Jersey" part should be first.
Whaddaya say, New York?