Take It Personal
Florham Park, N.J.- All week long Rex Ryan and his band of, ‘foot soldiers,’ talked about how the game against the Patriots was personal for them and based on the play and reaction of some Patriots players it was clearly more personal for them than they would have had you believe.
The Jets have been talking the proverbial talk, but yesterday they walked the cliched walk while the Patriots suffered as they let the Jets bravado get the best of them.
The Jets were in the Patriots head from the opening kickoff, forget the ‘benching,’ of Wes Welker, the first sign of the Pats reacting to the Jets was when Bill Belichick deferred the opening kickoff to let the Jets start with the ball. The Patriots never defer so why start now?
The fake punt fiasco, what was that?
Even if the Patriots got the first-down they still would have had to move the ball downfield to score some points, plus they were going to get the ball back at half-time, where’s the logic in that Belichick? Ryan said he needed to be the better coach on Sunday if the Jets were to win, well he was and the Jets did.
Tom Brady was consistently bewildered and confused, as the future first-ballot Hall-of-Fame quarterback looked as lost as ever out there. Then you take a look at some of the Patriots receivers and you could easily see that the Jets were in their head.
Deion Branch, although he wasn’t the only one as Julian Edelman was particularly chippy himself, was jumping up and down and running to the sidelines to scream at Rex Ryan the second after he made one of his five catches. For a team that prides themselves on not talking and letting their play do the talking for them, the Patriots sure did a lot of chirping during the game, but it was the Jets who ultimately let their play speak for itself once that first whistle blew.
After the game, Branch let it be known just how much the Jets had hijacked his train of thought.
“I’m not embarrassed. I’m just frustrated.” Branch said, “The embarrassing part came from a few classless guys after the game. There were a lot of classless things that went on.
“You’ve got to go back and watch it. Pretty classless stuff.”
Sounds like Branch needs to relearn the two most important parts in winning a schoolyard bullying contest; don’t dish it out if you can’t take it and if you don’t like what they are doing stop them.
“I don’t care, I don’t care.” Dwight Lowery said today when asked for his opinion on Branch’s comments. The Jets truly don’t care, all they care about is that they are still playing.
“I mean that’s us though, that’s the New York Jets.” Drew Coleman said, “We didn’t mean nothing as far as bashing by it, we didn’t mean it in a slap in the face, disrespect, but it was the same thing they did when they beat us 45-3… And with him (Branch) he catches an eight-yard out route and he slams the ball and comes to our sideline, turn to our coaches so that’s showing class there. It was definitely an emotional game, but at the end of the day we advance and he can watch it on TV if he wants to.”
So today the Jets have just one message for the Patriots, to jack the title of the late rapper Guru’s song with DJ Premier, “take it personal.” After years of the Jets taking the Patriots success personal, it’s the Patriots turn to feel what the Jets are used to feeling.
Since Mo Lewis crushed Drew Bledsoe’s football playing soul, the Patriots have reigned supreme in the AFC East and the NFL as a whole, these Jets players were sick of it. They were sick of losing to them and they were sick of hearing about how great and classy the Patriots were, and you know who else was sick of it?
As personal as this game was for Ryan and his players, it was just as personal for Jet fans everywhere. By the basic law of averages it’s safe to assume there are many more Jets fans who weren’t even conceived yet, when the Jets won their only Super Bowl, than fans who vividly remember Joe Namath following up on his famous guarantee.
For all the fans who only have passed down stories of that glorious day to live off of, this Jets team is the most successful team they have ever witnessed and they are having this success with a second-year coach and a second-year quarterback. So you’ll have to excuse the players and fans for taking the time to relish this moment, and bask in the glow of this second straight AFC Championship appearance after knocking off Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in back-to-back weeks.
So just how far has this Jets team come? The key number to look at for that answer is, 4-1.
In the past two seasons Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan and the New York Jets are 4-1 in road playoff games. With this last playoff victory Ryan, and the young man he drafted at quarterback to lead his team, have now tied the record for the most road playoff wins in the history of the NFL, all in just their second year.
Rather impressive stuff, no matter how you feel about Ryan’s press conference antics, it’s becoming downright impossible to argue with the results.
And considering no one gave these Jets a chance to get this far and knock off the Patriots, it’s easy to see why these Jets players took everything so personal, but now it’s time for the Patriots to sit around all offseason with the bad taste of their rivals getting the better of them.
But while the Jets can take temporary solace in the fact that they ended the Patriots season and gave them something to stew about all offseason, they know their mission is far from over. One win won’t get the Jets all the respect they feel they deserve and they are eager to prove it.
Anyone who doubts that obviously didn’t see Bart Scott’s passionate, “anybody can be beat,” post-game interview with ESPN’s Sal Palantonio.
After Scott’s tirade about demanding respect from the, “non-believers,” a clearly stunned Sal Pal said, “congratulations, see you in Pittsburgh.”
To which Scott, simply bursted, “Can’t Wait!”
So yeah beating the Patriots was personal and the Jets hope the Patriots take it personal as well, but the Super Bowl is just as personal to these players.
It’s been their one and only focus since the first day of training camp and if they think the Patriots and all the Jet haters are taking this loss personally, imagine how everyone would feel about the Jets hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Dallas.