Fans Cheer on Big Blue

Eli and the Giants will start the game on offense

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After the hype, the bragging and the cheesecake-for-chowder bets comes the actual game.

Fans were poised for a victory before the game even began. At Blondie's on the Upper West Side, patrons were cheering so wildly it was difficult to even hear the game at points. Shortly after the game began, Big Blue was already delivering a big thrill for fans like Danee Shows.

"I can't believe they got that safety so early on!," she screamed. "I don't think that's ever happened before."

The last time the teams met in the Super Bowl in 2008, the Giants upset the undefeated Patriots 17-14 in one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever. Two days later, massive crowds cheered the Giants as they paraded up Broadway's Canyon of Heroes.

And if the scene at Jacksonville's restaurant Sunday in wide receiver Victor Cruz's hometown of Paterson, N.J., was any indication, the crowds will be plentiful if another parade happens.

The venue was packed, even with an admission price of $50 per person. When Cruz scored the first touchdown of the game, the crowd erupted in cheers before joining in a throaty "Cruuuuuz" call.

He's a "Paterson product, absolutely," said Mayor Jeffrey Jones, who was at the viewing party.

So will this year's team get the same party as they did in 2008 if they win?

"Not if," Mayor Bloomberg corrected a reporter who asked about a parade Friday.

But he wouldn't answer the question however it was worded.

"We can't talk about the future," Bloomberg said. "We only take it one play at a time."

Bloomberg spoke at an Upper East Side bar that is changing its name in honor of the Giants. The tavern, owned for 50 years by a family named Brady, is called Brady's. But Bloomberg and owner Dan Brady unveiled the bar's new name: Manning's.

Bloomberg flew to Indianapolis for the game but urged New Yorkers who couldn't go to the Super Bowl to watch it at Brady's/Manning's, which was decked out in blue and white balloons.

But about the parade: The Giants play in East Rutherford, N.J. If they win Sunday, shouldn't they celebrate there?

No, say New Yorkers. A Quinnipiac University poll released Friday found that 75 percent of New York City adults believe the victory celebration should be a parade in the Big Apple. Just 14 percent favored a Garden State bash. Conducted last week, the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did not comment Friday. But he told the "Today" show on Jan. 18 that the Giants should hold any Super Bowl parade in New Jersey.

"They play in New Jersey," Christie said. "They train in New Jersey."

Wherever the parade, the celebration is sure to spill over state lines. State troopers in New Jersey are bringing in extra patrols on the state's highways to target drunken drivers, speeders, texters and those who aren't wearing seat belts.

In 2008, the last time the Giants played in the Super Bowl, there were 176 drunken driving arrests in New Jersey, said state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa. That's the second-highest total in New Jersey for a Super Bowl Sunday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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