By all accounts, TJ and Melinda Daly love each other very much.
They have two kids, been married for seven years and after sitting with them for 45 minutes, watching as they flirt and tease, they seem to genuinely like one another.
But on Sunday when abnormally large, athletic men strap on their pads and slam into each other for about three hours at Candlestick Park, TJ and Melinda will not be the best of buddies. TJ wants to see his beloved Giants go to the Super Bowl, while Melinda allegiances will be 100 percent behind the 49ers.
This has happened before.
About eight years ago, Melinda and TJ met at a political fundraising firm they both worked at in Washington D.C. They started dating, and with TJ being a New York native and die hard sports fan (specifically the Giants and the Mets) and Melinda being from Walnut Creek and a San Francisco 49ers fan for as long as she could remember, it made sense for them to watch the 2003 Giants-49ers playoff game together.
They went to a sports bar in D.C. with friends to see the teams they loved battle it out. But for three quarters, Melinda wasn't exactly having the time of her life. The Giants offense couldn't be stopped and TJ's team had a commanding 38-14 lead.
"She didn't say a word to me for three quarters," TJ said. "I wasn't rubbing it in her face or anything, but she just didn't say anything."
"I just remember I wasn't having fun at all, so I just sat there," Melinda said.
Then, for Melinda, it suddenly became a lot of fun. The Jeff Garcia led Niners rallied for one of the greatest NFL playoff comebacks ever, scoring three touchdowns and field goal in the final 18 minutes to take a 39-38 lead.
"All of sudden, she was talking a lot more," TJ said.
The Giants nearly salvaged the situation, getting in field goal range in the final seconds, but a botched snap followed by a desperate Hail Mary pass failed. The game was over. The Niners were, unbelievably, victorious. Melinda was thrilled; TJ wasn't.
"I was down, but I got over it in about a day," TJ said. "I really liked her. I didn't want to mess it up over a football game."
TJ and Melinda Daly married seven years ago. They moved from D.C. to San Ramon and now have two kids, 5-year-old Shea and 1-year-old Mary Kate. It's a sports loving family. To give some idea of how important TJ's teams are to him, his son Shea is named after the stadium the Mets used to call home, Shea Stadium .
"I'm really, really nice," Melinda said in explaining why her first son is named after a New York baseball stadium.
Unsurprisingly, TJ and Melinda are forecasting different outcomes Sunday.
"I can be objective about my team, and I thought they were going beat the Packers last week and I think they are going to win this week," TJ said. "I'm going into every game feeling confident we are going to win. If feels a lot like the year we won the Super Bowl (2008)."
"That's why they are going to lose," Melinda interrupted. "You just went to the Super Bowl, we want it more."
"Sports doesn't work like that," TJ fired back.
"Yes it does!" Melinda quickly responded. "It feels a lot like when the (San Francisco) Giants won the World Series. Everybody is behind the team and they want it so bad, like when Vernon Davis started crying after that touchdown last week. It shows how much they care."
Unlike the last time the two teams met in the playoffs, the Daly's are planning to watch the game at home with family and friends. And they agreed that whoever wins, the other won't be a sore loser.
"Having kids helps," TJ said. "It's hard to explain if they ask, 'Why aren't you talking to Mommy?'"