Saquon Barkley's father may wear Jets jersey, root for both teams

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Saquon Barkley may be starring for the New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium while his father is in the building wearing a New York Jets jersey.

Not just any old Jets jersey. Alibay Barkley, a lifelong die-hard Jets fan who has a Jets tattoo on his forearm, told his son that he will wear a throwback Joe Namath jersey that Saquon gave him before he entered the NFL.

Alibay Barkley won't actually be rooting for the Jets.

"Nah, not to win. The win is for us [the Giants]," Saquon Barkley, who was born in The Bronx, said Thursday. "But he's also, I think what he said is he's probably going to wear a Jets jersey. That is going to be an interesting one. I give it to him, because it's a Joe Namath jersey. I think I got him that jersey actually, the Joe Namath one.

"At the end of the day, I knew this situation was going to come up. But I'm happy for him. I was a Jets fan growing up, too, so it's fun. It's going to be a little fun competition in the Barkley house."

Just about everything in the Barkley household is a competition. Saquon Barkley told ESPN last week that he remembers when he was 5 or 6 years old competing with his father over who could eat their dinners the fastest.

This weekend is no different.

"My dad, if you ever met my dad, know my dad, he's been a Jets fan his whole life," Saquon Barkley said. "So is he going to root for the Jets? Yes, but he's going to root for the Giants and his son at the same time.

"So he gets the best of both worlds watching his team that he grew up rooting for and gets to watch his son live his dream."

That seems complicated, rooting for both teams and your son all at the same time, but it's a fine line that Alibay Barkley will attempt to walk.

The Giants have played the Jets in each of the past two preseasons, but Saquon Barkley hasn't appeared in either game. This is the first time they'll meet in a regular-season game with Barkley on the roster. The crosstown rivals play every four years.

Saquon Barkley was drafted No. 2 overall in last year's draft. Even then, his father wasn't about to add a Giants tattoo to his collection. Not yet.

"Let Saquon win a Super Bowl with the Giants, and then I'll think about putting a 26 and the trophy right here," Alibay Barkley told NorthJersey.com last year while pointing to his right forearm. "He's got work to do. Until then, it's Jets and that's what."