Locals root for Giants, Patriots

Published 11:34 am Saturday, February 4, 2012

New York Giants fan Wayne Small and New England Patriots fan Mari-Lou DeBaggis will be watching Sunday’s Super Bowl between the teams. -- DALE LIESCH | TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Wayne Small had a hard time watching his New York Giants play earlier in the season.

“We had a lot of injuries,” the 24-year-old Franklin man said. “We had a lot of second-string and rookies playing. At the beginning of the season, I wasn’t even thinking we were going to make the playoffs.”

A 31-14 win against the Dallas Cowboys in the regular season finale allowed the Giants to take the NFC East crown and host a first-round playoff game. Big Blue rattled off wins against the Atlanta Falcons, the top-seeded Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers to make it to its second Super Bowl in four years at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

“I enjoyed the last five games,” Small said. “Our defense has stepped up, (quarterback) Eli Manning has been throwing well and (wide receiver) Victor Cruz has been getting off.”

A student at Paul D. Camp Community College studying welding and electricity, Small’s not nervous about the Super Bowl, where his beloved Giants will face the AFC Champion New England Patriots.

“I’m not worried at all,” Small said. “Their defense isn’t good enough to stop us.”

Mari-Lou DeBaggis is confident her Patriots can get the job done.

“I think they’ll win,” said DeBaggis, who works at B&B Cleaners in Franklin. “I’m confident in my team.”

The confidence of the Franklin, Mass., native also never wavered when New England hosted Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs.

“I wasn’t surprised the Patriots won that game,” she said. “(Quarterback Tom) Brady has that sort of presence about him, and Tebow is such a young quarterback.”

The 40-year-old admits she was nervous in the AFC Championship game when a miss of a chip-shot field goal propelled her team over the Baltimore Ravens and into this year’s Super Bowl.

“That was a nail-biter,” DeBaggis said.

She also hopes to see a win for her father in Florida. A lifelong Patriots fan, Donald DeBaggis will turn 77 on Super Bowl Sunday.