Jets, Patriots and their Hatfields vs. McCoys routine

The NFL’s version of the Hatfields and McCoys are at it once again. The New England Patriots and New York Jets meet up on Sunday for a third and final time in the AFC Divisional Playoffs and like their previous two meetings, the week leading up to the game has fired up the war of words between the two rivals. Keeping with the trend, the Jets have been the more loquacious of the two sides.

The first sublime shot came last Saturday night when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his wife, Gisele went to see the hit Broadway play, “Lombardi.” Second-guessers immediately insinuated that he was disrespecting the Jets (who were playing the Colts in the AFC Wild Card game that exact time).  Brady explained that he got the tickets well in advance, and therefore wouldn’t know who was playing that night.

Not surprisingly, the first verbal salvo was fired by Jets head coach and notorious foot-lover Rex Ryan.  At a press conference on Monday, Ryan once again used his favorite quote, “It’s personal.” He added:

“This is about Bill Belichick vs. Rex Ryan.  There’s no question. It’s personal. It’s about him against myself, and that’s what it’s going to come down to.”

Ryan also went on to accept all the blame for his team’s 45-3 loss to New England in Week 13.  Vintage Rex, causing a stir and deflecting attention away from his players who are the ones who should have the finger pointed at them.

Belichick retorted in his usual staid form, refusing to take the bait and calling the Jets a “good team” during his Monday conference call.  He also added a humorous analysis of the match-up between the two coaches, adding, “Well, I might have a little quickness on him.  He’s probably got a little more strength and power on me.

But that was just the beginning of all the fun.

On Tuesday, Jets cornerback (and this decade’s version of Shawn Kemp) Antonio Cromartie told the New York Daily News that Brady did engage in finger-pointing after throwing a touchdown pass against the Jets on December 6th.  Cromartie also added that he hates Brady, called him “an asshole” and summed it all up by stating, “F*ck him.”  Cromartie also made sure to take a shot at his former team, the San Diego Chargers, gloating, “I’m in the playoffs and they’re not.”  (Memo to Antonio: Ironically, the Chargers were happy your team won last week – they now get a 2nd round pick from the Jets in return for trading you earlier this year).

On Wednesday, Brady also responded in a Belichick-esque manner, saying, “I’ve been called worse.”  He then called Cromartie “a good player” and fellow Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis “a great player.”  He then summed it all up by concluding, “They’re one of the best defenses we’ve faced.”  Well-played, Tom.  If the Justin Bieber look-alike thing doesn’t pan out for you as a future career, we see a bright future for you in public relations.

Now I’m no prognosticator (I just do well at fantasy football) but a wise man once told me to let sleeping dogs lie.  Yes, this is true for my beloved pooch, and I’m guessing it also is for a certain team that plays in Foxboro.  Regardless of who wins the verbal jousting match this week, it should make for an interesting game on Sunday.  And I’m sure Sean McManus, Jim Nantz and Phill Simms of CBS Sports are giggling with glee…

Used with permission of the author.

Chris Lardieri runs the “West Coast View” column for Sports Climax. A veteran to the keyboard, Chris also covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. Follow Chris on Twitter for more sports observations.

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