Mayor may not
Giuliani's cheerleading irks mayor of East Rutherford
Updated: Wednesday January 24, 2001 2:57 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Everybody knows the New York Giants don't play home games in New York City anymore. Well, everyone it seems but Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
On Monday, Giuliani taped his half of a "trash-talkin'" Super Bowl television ad that also features Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, whose hometown Ravens play the Giants on Sunday for the NFL title.
In the spots, the mayors go head to head, putting their cities and their teams up against each other. In one exchange, O'Malley says, "We have the greatest defense in NFL history," and Giuliani replies, "Our fans invented the 'Defense' chant."
O'Malley then says, "The Star-Spangled Banner" was written in Baltimore." Giuliani breaks into a "De-fense" chant, and O'Malley starts singing the national anthem.
But while O'Malley actually governs the city where the Ravens play, Giuliani's town is about 10 miles from Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. -- "population 7,500 or 8,000," said town clerk Darlene Sawicki, "unless there's a Giants game."
Somehow, though, New York's spotlight seems always to leave New Jersey in its shadow, and Giuliani has become the New Jersey-New York region's official Giants cheerleader.
The theme is echoed in the commercial spots, when the mayors get into an exchange of "Baltimore!" "New York!" "Baltimore!" "New York!"
O'Malley says, "Don't you mean New Jersey?" and Giuliani starts saying "Giants!" to O'Malley's "Ravens!"
Indeed, the true mayor of East Rutherford -- yes, there is such an official -- is a little peeved about Giuliani making bets of tickets to Broadway shows against Baltimore crabs, to say nothing about Giuliani whooping it up inside the Giants' locker room after the team won the NFC title Jan. 14.
"It's unfair to East Rutherford and to the entire state of New Jersey," says Mayor James L. Cassella.
Giuliani is unapologetic: "I've been a big Giants fan all my life, I love the Giants and the Giants do wear 'NY' on their helmet, last I checked. ... So we share them with New Jersey, but we're entitled to our share."
The mayor of New York's share just seems a bit larger.
While Giuliani was living large in the owner's box a couple Sundays back watching the home team destroy the Minnesota Vikings 41-0, Cassella was cheering from his hard plastic seat up in the nether regions of the stadium's third deck.
A season ticket holder, Cassella paid $82 for the honor, proof that he has no pull with the team's co-owners, Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch.
As for tickets to the Super Bowl in Tampa, Cassella is hopeful -- willing to pay, in fact -- but the $7,500-a-year mayor who sells Goodyear tires for a living has had no luck.
"Frankly," Cassella acknowledged, "Mr. Mara doesn't even know who I am."