When you think of rivalries in sports, Boston vs New York in all sports is right near the top of the list. The only match-up that really hasn’t been is the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. Yes the Giants have beaten them in two of the past four Super Bowls, but when you play each other once every four years, its hard for that to happen. Now, after the Patriots claimed Jake Ballard on waivers, will that be the straw that broke the camel’s back?
My guess is probably not, though I’m sure the Mara’s and the Kraft’s won’t be sending each other Christmas Cards anytime soon. Usually when you put a guy on waivers because he’s injured the other teams won’t pick him up. Instead, the Patriots picked up Ballard, who probably can’t play until next year anyway. What made the move so surreal is that the Patriots already have Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernadez at the position so why pick up a third tight end? Bill Belichick knows how to use players at all kinds of positions. Hernandez played running back at times last year so he could probably use Ballard in a creative way too.
Some of the blame has to go to Jerry Reese. Anytime you waive a player, there is risk involved, especially one as young and talented as Jake Ballard. You can’t tell me that having Ballard even with him not being able to play is better than Cone of the unsigned free agents they brought in for example. Reese clearly gambled here and got burned. Could the Giants possibly know more about his knee than everyone else? Sure. There’s always cause for concern when you have someone coming off ACL and microfracture knee surgery. Maybe they have a question about whether he’ll be able to play again.
What’s done is done. For the third straight year, the Giants will have a new starting tight end. They were going to anyway, however, in 2013, they could have had their one from 2011. It didn’t have to be that way though. The Patriots and Giants are tied into history, and now there’s a little extra string in that tie.