Analysis: New York City Loves an Underdog

The Giants, considered underdogs before the Super Bowl, prevailed and are hometown heroes.

By Gabe Pressman
|  Monday, Feb 6, 2012  |  Updated 4:23 PM EDT
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New York loves an underdog.

From the days when the Dutch briefly controlled the city and called it New Amsterdam, to the British conquest of the Dutch, through the Revolutionary War when our colonist ancestors, led by George Washington, beat the British after a spectacular but successful retreat through Long Island and other places, we have been underdogs --- or admired them.

I suspect it’s in our DNA. And that may explain why the Giants, underdogs going into the Super Bowl, are such heroes to 21st-century New Yorkers.

Despite their advance billing, they fought like tigers -- ahem, Giants -- and beat the odds and the Patriots.

Eli Manning and his teammates battled until  the last white line was crossed.

And, although Tom Brady was valiant in his last-minute effort to win, the Giants held fast. The underdogs fought back to earn eternal glory.

Over the nearly four centuries of its modern-day existence, New York has met severe tests, including a cholera epidemic in 1832, the draft riots during the Civil War, the Blizzard of 1888 and later blizzards, the Tweed scandals, the Wall Street crash in 1929, the Depression, the world wars, 9/11.

We survived them all and ultimately prospered. At least that’s the mythology we’ve created about ourselves.

So, when the Giant fans exult at the parade or in their homes, we can easily see why their triumph means so much, how our DNA demands that we root for the underdog. Or that we be the underdog!

That’s New York. That’s us.

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