By: Ian Logue
Raise your hand if you feel like Monday night’s game against the Jets has taken forever to get here.
Head coach Rex Ryan has looked and sounded like a cartoon character over the past week leading into tonight’s game. (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)
This 10 day gap between the last time we saw football was just insane. It’s been filled with more hype and more quotations than one human being should have to deal with in any given period. Between the quotes from Rex Ryan along with the media spin, the New York newspapers have looked more like comic books with Ryan as their leading cartoon character. Stick his face in a frame with a big balloon with his ridiculous statements, and that’s about what you’ve seen each day over that past week from the New York media. Most of their beat writers seem to even be more “jacked and pumped” about this one than the players, and for the most part they seem to be in agreement that they’ll come into Gillette and pull the upset.
Hopefully that won’t be the case. Should the Jets walk out of Foxboro with a win the national media will anoint them as the future champions of the league and talk all about how the dawn of a new era has begun.
The thought of that concept just frightens me, and I won’t be able to deal with it.
I think it’s pretty well documented that I can’t stand Peyton Manning and the Colts. I hate them far more than I hate the Yankees – and obviously as a Boston fan that’s saying something. You always tend to dislike the team that gives yours the toughest time, because it’s always sweeter when a win comes against a team that is supposed to be the “Goliath” and unbeatable. The Brady/Manning debate back then had too many similarities between the two players to really favor Brady the way it needed to, and having Manning shoved in our faces as often as it had been – and still is – only made it worse. The 20-3 defeat they handed them in the playoffs back in 2004 was fantastic. At the time the Colts were averaging nearly 40-points per game coming into that one and were a juggernaut, and ended up being just a stepping stone as the Patriots headed off to win yet another championship. Manning walked off the field with his head hanging down, and I couldn’t have been happier.
Oddly enough the Jets are quietly creeping up the ladder and are quickly on the verge of overtaking Indianapolis in terms of teams I pray to the football Gods every Sunday that something happens to send their season into a tailspin. As much as I don’t like Manning, I’ve never heard him talk trash or say anything negative about an opposing team. Granted he’ll throw his fellow teammates under the bus (“I’m trying to be a good teammate here….”), but he’s not one to talk about “kicking Brady’s ass” on any given Sunday.
Obviously as a fan, this kind of stuff makes for great entertainment. Spend the whole week with both sides talking about what they’re going to do to eachother, and it’s the equivalent of the WWE. It would obviously make for great theater, and would certainly make things easier on the media.
Well, down in New York that’s just what’s going on – and they’re actually winning. Normally it’s suicide for teams to give the other side bulletin-board material, but that hasn’t been the case. Ryan has been calling it how he sees it all year, and the Jets have gone out and put up a 9-2 record.
Anyone of you who played sports, even if it was just pick up games when you were a kid, you know this phenomenon. There was always that one kid who talked trash about how much you sucked and how much better than you he was, yet no matter how many times you play him, the cosmic forces of good versus evil never seemed to translate into that match-up. It’s irritating, because it’s frustrating to lose to anyone who lacks humility. Yet Ryan is 2-0 in those situations against New Englan so far when it’s been on his home field, but fortunately New England got the better of his team in the first match-up at Gillette last year. The implications in this one are now a little bigger, as the long term results of this one will likely play a huge factor into how things shape up heading into the postseason. It’s a bit early to talk too much about playoff implications, but that’s still the reality of what this game means – even if there is even quite a bit of pride at stake.
Watching Ryan the “trash-talking bully” come in and steal this one in front of a national audience would be irritating, and God forbid we have to witness that. It’s been bad enough having to sit through the press conferences and reading the nonsense from his players, but as they say, it starts from the top.
The good news is despite talking about his respect for the Jets all week, it has to be driving Bill Belichick crazy. You know behind the scenes he’s dying to go out and get this one tonight. The real problem is he doesn’t have many veterans on the defensive side of the football who he can count on to go out and make Mark Sanchez miserable. Imagine this match-up with guys like Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, etc. (the players from five years ago – not the current ones sitting in the television studio) – you’d be a little more confident knowing that LaDainian Tomlinson won’t be able to go out and have another repeat performance. Having a couple of veterans back there to help lead these young guys, it would certainly make them a little better. Instead he’s going to have to try and get redemption with a bunch of young guys who while they’re continuing to improve, probably won’t go out and hold the Jets to 10 or less. Needless to say he’s going to probably be counting on Brady to go up and hang 30+ against that football team, as well as hope that someone on the defensive side of the ball can step up and make a big turnover like they have in recent weeks.
Thankfully this one’s at Gillette, and it’s a Monday night game so hopefully fans should be pretty amped up for this game. The noise factor unfortunately probably won’t be anything like what the Patriots experienced in New York, but hopefully fans have already called in sick for Tuesday (so they won’t be leaving early) and plan on screaming their hearts out until the final whistle.
In the meantime the wait is finally over and we’ll get to see this one settled on the field mere hours from now. We’ve endured all of Ryan’s antics in the media and the predictions from his players, but now it’s up to Belichick’s team to go out and knock the bully out and send them back home with a bit of humility.