Whatever the reasons -- smug grandiosity, inferiority complex, superiority complex, little brother syndrome, big brother syndrome -- New York and Boston pretty much hate each other. There have been brawls, fights, bean balls, dirty hits, players sent to the hospital -- and that's just the softball games between the two cities' symphony orchestras. Going way back to the 1912 World Series between the New York Giants and Boston Red Sox, on to the 1916 Brooklyn Robins-Red Sox matchup and all the way to this year's Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, New York and Boston have often faced each other in the postseason. Here are the five biggest playoff wins for New York teams over Boston. It's been whittled down so all four sports are represented, so some deserving victories had to be painfully omitted (the New York Knicks' 1990 upset over the Boston Celtics, the 2010 New York Jets' playoff win over the Patriots). And the 1978 one-game playoff between the New York Yankees and Red Sox doesn't count, because technically it was the 163rd game of the regular season.
5. New York Rangers Over Boston Bruins in 1973: The Rangers lost to the Bruins in the 1970 Quarter Finals. They lost to them again in the 1972 Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers, Bruins and Montreal Canadiens were the top three teams in the NHL in those years, and as the Habs and Bruins alternated winning Cups, the Blueshirts just couldn't get over the hump. And do you think Boston and New York loathed each other? Here's what Sports Illustrated said in 1973 about the previous Stanley Cup meeting: "Who could forget their last tangos in the Stanley Cup? The vulgar signs in New York and the bestial banners in Boston. The guided missiles -- half-filled beer cans, raw eggs, rubber chickens, golf balls -- from the stands. The brawls in the seats. The fights on the ice. The near-riot that produced a record 174-minutes in penalties in one game." The Rangers faltered down the stretch in '73 as the Bruins passed them in the standings, but before they met in the Quarter Finals, coach Emile Francis came up with a game plan of double teaming Bobby Orr and shooting the puck from anywhere and everywhere on the ice at 44-year-old Bruins goalie Jacques Plante (they had lost Gerry Cheevers to the WHA). The plan worked like a charm. They scored 10 goals on Plante in the first two games, winning 6-2 and 4-2. And Ranger defenseman Ron Harris sent Phil Esposito to the hospital with a knee injury, as the Bruin center missed the rest of the series. Brad Park said at the time, "We have them where we've never had them before. Now we can't let them go." Though the Bruins won Game 3, 4-2, with Eddie Johnston now in nets for Boston, Park's Rangers didn't let them go, as they easily defeated the Bruins the next two games, 4-0 and 6-3. Unfortunately, the Rangers couldn't capitalize on the momentum and were eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks in the next round. But they finally beat the Big, Bad Bruins -- and put a hurting on Esposito to boot.
4. Knicks Over Celtics in 1973: The Knicks lost to the Celtics in the 1969 East Division Finals, but the lessons learned were a springboard to their own championship the following year. The Knicks fell to the Lakers in the '72 Finals and were back in the Eastern Conference Finals for the fifth consecutive season in '73. Meanwhile, the Celtics missed the playoffs the two seasons after their final Bill Russell championship, but were back again in '72 (losing to the Knicks) and were seemingly better than ever in '73, winning a league-high 68 games, with new stars Dave Cowens (the MVP that year) and Jo Jo White to go along with veteran John Havlicek. Like the Rangers and Bruins, the Knicks and Celtics met often (the Knicks have an all-time 6-7 playoff series record against Boston), and each game was chock-full of hostility. After defeating the Baltimore Bullets, four games to one, in the previous series, the Knicks were routed by the Celts in Game 1 of the '73 Eastern Conference Finals. They returned the favor, though, in the next game, winning by 33 points. What Harris did to Esposito that spring, Dave DeBusschere did to Havlicek in the Knicks' Game 3 victory, when the Celtic Hall of Famer ran into the brick wall-like DeBusschere, who was setting a pick that Havlicek never saw. The Celtic forward injured his shoulder and missed part of the series. Game 4, at Madison Square Garden, was a marathon. After being down by 16 points in the fourth quarter, the Knicks stormed back in what was known as the Easter Resurrection, when Walt Frazier hit a fadeaway jumper with 17 seconds left in regulation to tie the game. Phil Jackson hit a pair of free throws to send the game into a second overtime. The Knicks finally won the thriller, 117-110, taking a commanding 3-1 series lead. But the Celtics won the next two games sending the series to a do-or-die Game 7. And it was played at Boston Garden. Where the Celtics had never lost a Game 7. Red Auerbach was known to use every trick up his sleeve, whether it was turning the visitors' locker room into a sauna or any other devious plan he could concoct. The Knicks had a star of their own who was nursing an injury, in Earl Monroe, but Dean Meminger filled in, making some key buckets and effectively guarding Jo Jo White. Walt Frazier was as clutch as always (scoring 25 points), the Knicks held Boston to 35 second-half points and they made history with a 94-78 win. After vanquishing the Celtics, they of course went on to defeat the Lakers in the Finals, for their second NBA title.
3. Yankees Over Red Sox in 2003: It wasn't until baseball revamped the divisions and added a wild card that the Yankees and Red Sox even had a chance to meet in the playoffs, of course, and they finally did for the first time in 1999. The Bombers won that series fairly easily, but it was the 2003 ALCS when the two bitter rivals lived up to their headline billing. After splitting the first two games at Yankee Stadium, their mutual loathing boiled over in Game 3 at Fenway Park. In the top of the fourth, after letting in a run on a walk, single and double, Pedro Martinez drilled Karim Garcia. The two exchanged words, with the Yankee bench getting in on the act. Martinez threateningly pointed to his head, but neither bench cleared and play resumed. Manny Ramirez led off for Boston in the next half inning, and Roger Clemens quickly gave him a little chin music. This time, the benches emptied, and Yankee coach Don Zimmer, resembling a charging rhinoceros (or one of the Mandelbaums), made a beeline for Martinez. The Red Sox pitcher tossed the aging Zimmer to the ground. Self defense? Intent to hurt the old man? Whatever the reason, mayhem ensued, but the game eventually restarted. In the top of the ninth, another fight broke out, this time in the Yankee bullpen, when reliever Jeff Nelson (with help from Garcia, who jumped over the right-field wall) got into a tussle with a Fenway groundskeeper. After the dust settled, the Yankees won the game, 4-3. The teams then alternated wins until the series was tied after six games. Martinez and Clemens matched up again at Yankee Stadium in Game 7. Clemens only lasted three innings, but Mike Mussina threw three scoreless frames in relief to keep the Yanks in the game. In the bottom of the eighth, with the Sox holding a 5-2 lead, the Yankees began chipping away at Martinez. After allowing one run, Martinez was visited by manager Grady Little, who, to the surprise of everyone, left his starter in the game. Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada both doubled to tie the game (and basically ended Little's tenure in Boston). The game went into extra innings, and was now in the hands of Mariano Rivera and Tim Wakefield. Aaron Boone, who had entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch runner, led off the bottom of the 11th, and belted a towering fly ball over the left-field fence to send the Yankees to the World Series. And the blast gave Boone a brand-new nickname in New England: Aaron "F'ing" Boone.
2. New York Mets Over Red Sox in 1986: This series tops the 2003 Yanks-Sox seven-game set because, well, it was the World Series. The 1986 Mets were the ultimate bad guys. They fought, drank, snorted and curtain-called their way through the regular season, steamrolling over the other 11 teams in the National League, winning an MLB-best 108 games. The NLCS wasn't nearly as easy as the first 162 games, but they defeated the Astros in a memorable six-game series. The Red Sox, meanwhile, were a little bit nicer than the Mets and a lot less drunk, but they won an AL-best 95 games, and also won a thrilling League Championship Series of their own, beating the Angels in seven games. Still hung over from their Houston series, the Mets lost the first two games of the World Series at Shea Stadium. But after a much-needed day off, the Amazin's began their comeback when leadoff hitter Lenny Dykstra homered to open Game 3 at Fenway. The Mets piled up three more runs that inning off a rattled Oil Can Boyd and won, 7-1. Gary Carter hit a couple of home runs and Ron Darling tossed seven shutout innings in Game 4, giving the Mets an easy 6-2 victory. Bruce Hurst picked up his second win of the Series in Game 5, sending his Red Sox back to New York with a 3-2 lead. Game 6? Dave Henderson, Calvin Schiraldi, Carter, Kevin Mitchell, Ray Knight, Bob Stanley, Mookie Wilson, Bill Buckner. Need we say more? In Game 7, the Red Sox took a 3-0 lead in the second inning -- but they never had a chance. This edition of the Red Sox was not the team that would or could overcome the franchise's cursed history. Keith Hernandez drove in a pair of runs in the sixth inning, Ray Knight homered off poor, former Met Schiraldi to take the lead in the seventh, Darryl Strawberry blasted a towering homer in the eighth (and took his sweet time getting around the bases, to show up manager Davey Johnson who double-switched him out of Game 6) and Jesse Orosco drove in the final run with a single and would put the finishing touch on the 8-5 win by striking out Marty Barrett. It was arguably the greatest World Series ever played. And the greatest postseason as well.
1. Giants Over Patriots in 2008: This one beats out Mets-Red Sox because the Mets were supposed to dominate and win, and win they did, while the Giants were 12-point underdogs and attempting to stop history -- the Patriots' undefeated season. The Giants began the year looking like they were heading anywhere but the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. They didn't just lose their first two games, but they gave up 80 points as well. A goal-line stand and 21 unanswered points in a win over the Redskins in Week 3 turned their season around, and was the first of six consecutive victories. They finished the year 10-6, and earned a wild card berth. Taking on the persona of Road Warriors in the playoffs, the Giants went into Tampa, Dallas and Green Bay and whipped them all. The Patriots, on the other hand, cruised to 16 wins in the regular season, winning each game by 49 points (well, they might as well have) and defeated the Jaguars and Chargers in the playoffs. New England's toughest battle all season came against the Giants in the last game of the regular season. The Pats won, 38-35, but the Giants gained all kinds of confidence in that game, and they didn't go into the Super Bowl with any sense of self doubt nor were they intimidated one bit by the 18-0 Patriots. And in the game itself, it was the Giants who were the physically dominating team. Justin Tuck led a furious pass rush, sacking and battering Tom Brady all game long. David Tyree caught a touchdown pass, as well as the miracle helmet catch, Eli Manning scrambled his way out of the clutches of Patriot defenders to throw that pass to Tyree and put in an MVP performance, leading his team to two fourth-quarter, come-from-behind scoring drives, and the Giants won, 17-14, in one of the biggest upsets in sports history.