By: Bob George/BosSports.net
September 13, 2002

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - All these last eight months or so, the experts have looked sillier than Norman Chad attempting to be funny.

Not this week.

The Patriots have been installed as one-point underdogs against the New York Jets this weekend. And once again, Patriot Nation is up in arms over the lack of respect, as well as the unwillingness around the league to accept this team as the bona fide world champions. It seems that if the big Monday night win against Pittsburgh was still not enough for Las Vegas and everyone outside of this area to believe in the Patriots, then either Monday Night Football is really on its last legs, or people in general are tired of John Madden's same old rambling style.

Well, folks, this week the experts have got it right.

Patriots/Jets
Close-Up
Where: Giants Stadium
East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday 9/15/02
1:00 PM EDT
Television: CBS
WBZ Channel 4 in Boston
DSS: DirecTV
Channel 710, 930
2002 Team Records: Patriots 1-0
Jets 1-0
Latest Line: Jets by 2
The New York Jets simply rock. They are the real rulers of all of pro football, not just the AFC East. The glittering array of talent on this ball club is staggering. The organization is a model on how to succeed. The stadium they play in bears great tribute to the incredible legacy of this team. And the fans of the region have hailed this team as the centerpiece sports franchise ever since the night that Luis Gonzalez got this incredibly lucky base hit off of Mariano Rivera last fall.

Let's begin with the talent on this team. Quite simply, the poor Patriots don't deserve to be on the same field with this awesome bunch of football players.

It begins at the top. The last two-plus years have clearly shown why the Jets were only too happy to let Bill Belichick walk away, only to see the sad sack Patriots get duped into coughing up a first round draft pick for the guy. Jet president Steve Gutman once questioned Belichick's mental stability. Belichick has proven clearly over these last three years that he is a total wack job, with a marked inability to speak to the press clearly and distinctly. Jet coach Herman Edwards, on the other hand, is a soft-spoken, gentle man with incredible people skills. He is clearly nicer than Belichick, and therefore much more fun to play for. No question the Jets pulled one over on the Patriots when they "allowed" Bob Kraft to surrender a first round pick for Belichick.

Actually, all the credit for that move goes to the man who has single-handedly done more for this franchise than Joe Namath, Weeb Eubank and Clive Rush combined. Bill Parcells orchestrated that brilliant move in coaxing Kraft to give the Jets that first rounder for that nutcase Belichick. It is very clear that not only is Parcells the best coach in league history, he is also the best front office man in league history as well. Parcells knew exactly what he was doing when he torpedoed his own coaching career with the sole intent of forcing the Patriots to have to offer up compensation if they were so foolish as to covet Belichick. There is no question that Parcells' snap decision to retire from coaching at just the right moment was pure genius.

Parcells also pioneered the fine art of running a front office on the premise of "do anything that you can get away with". Never before in league history had anyone seen such a knack for being able to bend and twist NFL rules so much that commissioner Paul Tagliabue had to be brought in to mediate. Never before in league history had anyone had such a way with rules that were bent so badly that they would have to be changed after all the litigation was completed. By procuring both himself and Curtis Martin, the Jets not only revolutionized the art of acquiring top personnel, the Jets used these two men to catapult the once destitute franchise to the top of the football world.

That's just upstairs. Downstairs, this bunch of football men are simply second to none, the envy of the league, the solid favorites to win still another Super Bowl, something that is synonymous with this franchise. Super Bowl III is still the most important championship game in league history in the eyes of many, and nobody who follows football should ever forget the monumental deed the Jets did in defeating the Baltimore Colts thirty-three Januarys ago.

Vinny Testaverde is one of the more dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL. Since his exodus from one losing team after another, Testaverde has long shed his "Interceptaverde" moniker and has established himself as the quarterback everyone thought he'd be since his Heisman days at Miami. Testaverde always plays well against the Patriots, and poor, mentally unbalanced Belichick will have absolutely no clue in how to solve this great passer. Testaverde will reduce Tom Brady to a sobbing fool in this positional matchup, and will post numbers that the NFL thought Brady ought to be ashamed of himself for doing so often last year and this year.

When his career is over, Martin will be hailed as the best running back in the history of the league, simply put. The Patriots continue to rue the day they failed to sign this back to a long term deal when he played in Foxborough, and Martin has continually stuck it to the Patriots every time he has faced them. Buoyed by a deep hatred for and a personal vendetta against his former team, Martin has killed the Patriots time and time again. Martin remains the one running back in the league in which the Patriots have never been able to stop. That should not change on Sunday, even with Martin listed as questionable due to an ankle injury sustained in the season opener against Buffalo.

In Laveranues Coles, Wayne Chrebet and Santana Moss, the Jets possess the best trio of receivers in the league. Think the Rams have the market cornered on wideouts? Not a chance. If the Patriots could handle those Ram greyhounds with ease, they can't possibly be the best. The Patriots have never found an answer for the diminutive Chrebet, and that is despite most every Patriot wideout being as tall as he. Watch the Patriot highlight film from last year and see Coles flex that attitude to his home town fans after scoring the touchdown in their December meeting last year. Face it, these guys are the best. Even though the Patriot secondary has some of the hardest hitters and best cover corners in the league, Chrebet and his gang will somehow find a way to run through these guys, find seams, and make big plays.

Lose Ryan Young to the expansion draft, and it helps your team? Of course, if you're the Jets. Young's leaving helped the Jet salary cap a great deal. And, they still have guys like Kevin Mawae and Jason Fabini, who will push those poor Patriot defensive linemen all over the place. It's really quite simple, in that Mawae will take Seymour to school, and the rest of them will simply know how to deal with the rest of them because, naturally, they're all ex-Jets. Expect Martin to gain at least 160 yards and for Testaverde to look bored in the pocket.

John Abraham should go into the Hall of Fame right now. Not five years after he retires. Now. He is the best defensive lineman in the history of the game. Not because he is simply terrific and hard as all get out to cover. It's because he plays for the Jets, and therefore elevates his game to an even higher level when he puts on that regal Jet green and white uniform.

The Jets added Sam Cowart and Donnie Abraham to their already formidable defense. Never mind that many of their former comrades play for the Patriots. The advantage goes to the Jets because they already know what the Patriots will do, their tendencies, and their temperament. Cowart and John Abraham will sack Brady seven times each. Each.

Oh, and don't forget that Mo Lewis eats quarterbacks. Sleep well, Mr. Brady.

The singer Dion will be brought in as an honorary captain. After he sings the National Anthem, he'll be joined at midfield by Donnie Abraham, Curtis Martin and John Abraham. Dion will then charm everyone's socks off with his stirring Abraham, Martin and John. It will become a more popular team song than U2's Beautiful Day.

After that, it will be simply all Jets. Never mind that they are the home team, which means that they simply cannot lose. The Jets almost never lose at home, in front of the raucous crowd that cheers them on like crazy. That is, assuming they remember to wear green and not blue.

You as a Patriot fan might be disgusted with this piece. Why should you be?

This is part of a new era in sportswriting. It is called "paying tribute to your opponent". If Belichick can do the same when asked about the Jets, we thought we'd do the same. We sincerely hope that Jet Nation appreciates our little effort to show respect and admiration for their great franchise.

Patriot Nation should fall at the feet of their Jet fan buddies. When the game comes on Sunday, stand up and cheer for the Jet organization, and marvel at all of the great things they have done. Marvel at how they were built, and continue to seethe with envy that Parcells never did stick around here in New England to finish his job and bring a world championship to Foxborough.

And continue to rue the day that the Patriots lost Martin and got stuck with Belichick.

(phone rings) Hello! Yes, this is Bob George. Oh, hi, thanks for getting back to me so soon. (pause) Okay, so, the editors checked this article out? Good, good (pause) They said what? (pause) That Coach Belichick gave it a thumbs up? (pause) He thinks the Jets will buy it? Cool! (pause) And Mr. Kraft also liked it? (pause) Especially the part about Gutman thinking Belichick is insane? (pause) Great! (pause) Whew, that's a relief. Man, I was afraid that when my readers read this, they would think I was the one who was going around the bend. Thanks a lot! Bye, now! (hangs up the phone)

Nothing wrong with this corner of the Nation, folks.


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