– Three hours before the New York Giants even took the field Sunday, the cheers started coming from the Big Blue faithful.
They were loud and they were definitive.
The Giants wanted the Patriots.
Only four hours later, it was time for New England fans to switch roles.
"We want to see the Giants in the Super Bowl because we want some revenge from a couple of years ago," Patriots fan Michelle "Boom" Cutrali of Farmington said.
And so it went Sunday. Giants rooting for Patriots; New England rooting for New York.
Enemies suddenly friends.
It was strange times for football fans in Connecticut.
But by 10:35 p.m. Sunday, most of them got what they wanted.
New York defeated San Francisco 20-17 in overtime to set up a Super Bowl rematch with New England, which it beat in one of the most memorable Super Bowls in 2008. The Patriots beat Baltimore 23-20 earlier in the evening after Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed a field goal wide left that would've forced overtime.
"Everyone wants to see the Pats and the Giants in the Super Bowl," Cutrali said.
Both games left state football fans not just conflicted but exasperated.
The Giants needed overtime dramatics from Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw and its special teams unit to seal up their second trip to the Super Bowl in four years, while the Patriots overcame a tight game with the help of a 1-yard touchdown dive by Tom Brady.
"I probably shouldn't have been watching these games in public," Cutrali said.
Still, the most striking fan story out of Sunday came from the mixing of alliances.
Giants and Patriots fans sat side-by-side at Damon's Tavern in Hartford and Shea's American Bar & Grill in Manchester rooting for each others' teams only because they wanted the chance to beat each others' team two weeks later in Super Bowl XLVI .
"With the Giants and Patriots in the Super Bowl it is a true matchup," Brittany Tasco of Farmington said. "It is a game that is going to show who really deserves it."
For New England fans, the game would serve as a long-awaited opportunity to put those nasty memories of Super Bowl XLII behind them.
In 2008, New York shocked previously undefeated New England 17-14 to end the Patriots' bid to become the first undefeated team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
The Giants victory denied New Englanders the storybook ending to one of the best seasons in football history and left them stuck pondering a miracle catch by David Tyree that set up a game-winning touchdown from Plaxico Burress.