By Alex Lippa
The rivalry between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants is well documented. The Giants ended the Patriots' run at perfection in February 2008 with an upset in Super Bowl XLII, and the rivalry has become bitter ever since.
With the two teams facing off again in Indianapolis in Sunday's Super Bowl, the rivalry is extending to Haverhill.
Eddie Chernesky, owner of the Shoe City Hardware store on Winter Street, and his son-in-law Tim Maclean will be putting aside their relationship for at least one week as their two favorite football teams fight for Super Bowl supremacy.
"Usually it's a friendly rivalry," Chernesky said. "Not this week though."
Chernesky has rooted for the Giants his entire life. He cheered on the Giants in the 1950s before the Patriots were even formed and never wavered in his support for the Big Blue.
"Years ago, we would only get the New York Giants and the Cleveland Browns on television," he said. "Back then, the Giants were the local team because there were no Patriots yet. ''
Maclean is a Patriots fan and enjoys bantering back and forth with Chernesky about the game and the teams. He has even made a dent in Chernesky's family.
"My wife is now a Patriots fan," Maclean said of Chernesky's daughter. "She jumped ship to the good guys."
Chernesky does appreciate the local connections that this year's Giants squad has to the New England area. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin previously coached at Boston College and Giants players Mathias Kiwanuka, Chris Snee, Mark Herzlich, and Will Blackmon are all BC alums. Victor Cruz played at UMass and Zak DeOssie played at Brown.
"It's good to see a little local connection on a New York team," Chernesky said.
Chernesky has a big Giants display in his store, as the Super Bowl approaches. Giants helmets and media guides adorn the aisles and cause friendly reaction from his customers, who are mostly Patriots fans.
"Whenever people come in here, we always go back and forth," Chernesky said. "It gets a little testy this week."
Chernesky is used to arguing with his customers about sports at his store. He is also a New York Yankees fan.
He and Maclean will be able to tolerate their differences for at least a few hours, as they plan on watching the game together at a house party on Sunday. They agree on one thing however: The game will be closely fought to the bitter end.
"I think it will be 24-17 Giants," Chernesky said. "We have one of the best defenses in all of football. They will put pressure on Tom Brady and that will be the difference."
Maclean's prediction: 31-24, Patriots.
"Then next year, we'll take the rubber match, too," he said.
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