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Stalwart fans bask in glow of crown

- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2008

From combined dispatches

MOONACHIE, N.J. — Michael Liberti is finally going to get that other tattoo today.

His right shoulder blade already has "Giants" on it, along with "XXI" and "XXV." Now he gets to add "XLII" in honor of his team's victory in last night's Super Bowl.

"Everybody's been busting me about when I was going to get that one," said Liberti, 41, of Lodi. "I always said: During my lifetime. ... This is the sweetest one."

The Giants name suggests they're from New York, but like so many ex-New Yorkers, their mailing address is in the New Jersey suburbs.

And last night, Liberti and a couple hundred other suburban die-hard fans at Manny's Restaurant & Lounge erupted in cheers, yelps, foot-stomping, chants, finger-waving and hugs as their team — which surprised the football world by even making the Super Bowl — won it in a thrilling defensive struggle over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots.

People in the region are well aware that Boston-area teams have been on top of the sports world the last several years. They also know New York teams, well, haven't been.

"This is revenge for 2004," Ken Baum said, referring to the American League Championship Series when the Boston Red Sox came back from a 3-0 series deficit to knock off the mighty New York Yankees.

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was also pleased.

"This was a great night for the Giants and a great night for New York," he said. "New York has come back many times in the past, and Big Blue proved tonight that you should never, ever, count us out."

Fox comes up big

NEW YORK — In one of the greatest Super Bowls ever, one of the night's big winners was sure to be Fox.

It wasn't just the Patriots who were seeking history on Super Bowl Sunday. Fox was hoping New England's pursuit of an undefeated season, coupled with the underdog New York Giants would break the record 94.08 million viewers who watched the 1996 Super Bowl.

Fox had more luck than the Patriots.

Ratings weren't available, but the unexpected and riveting game was sure to mean exceptional viewership retention through the broadcast. If the game's a blowout, viewership declines in the later moments.

To help its cause, Fox brought in a ringer: the network's other ratings monster, "American Idol."

Before the game, "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest rolled out a red carpet, "Idol" judge Paula Abdul performed her first new song in a decade, and "Idol" winner Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem.

Clinton celebrates

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton became a super fan of the Giants, reveling in their upset of New England — and even seeing an omen for her own political future.

"Super Bowl, Super Tuesday, we've got one down, let's get the other," Clinton said.

The senator from New York has said she's banking on the "New York team" to carry the day in football's biggest test and in a megaround of primaries tomorrow. With their 17-14 win, the Giants held up their end of the bargain.