Learning from Big Brother
Oh no, not another big-and-little brother comparison about the New York Jets and Giants! It’s overused, outplayed, tiresome and, well, just plain cliché. But there’s a reason why clichés get to be so … cliché: because they’re fitting to the scenario that is presented. In this case, the metaphor couldn’t be more apropos when speaking of the two teams that call MetLife Stadium home.
The Giants, equipped with a perfect 5-0 record in conference championship games and three Super Bowl titles to their name, once again find themselves as the smarter and stoic big brother. The Jets, amidst locker room turmoil, finger pointing and frat house antics, have reverted back to flailing their arms frantically while the Giants effortlessly hold their hand to Gang Green’s forehead.
When a boisterous Rex Ryan stood atop the Empire State Building shouting that he and his equally braggadocios Jets would paint the town green, the Giants were re-tooling for yet another run to the Super Bowl (notably their second appearance in five years).
What made the Jets so sexy to the American public is what, ultimately, has led to their demise: their brash bravado and absurd open-door policy with the media.
While Santonio Holmes, a captain, was calling out anyone and everyone (but himself, of course) for their lack of performance, Bart Scott was flipping off reporters and “anonymous” sources crying for Mark Sanchez’s head, Ryan – Victor Frankenstein to Gang Green’s media monstrosity – went on a damage control campaign to save face for the organization.
The Giants, on the other hand, kept calm and carried on all the way to Lucas Oil Stadium, where Ryan stood and confidently guaranteed a Super Bowl victory just under a year ago. Amidst turmoil of their own – a rotund four-game losing streak that put their eventual playoff hopes in jeopardy – the Giants did not succumb to the pressure and emerged as polished as a diamond. All that despite Tom Coughlin, perhaps the mirror opposite of Ryan, being reportedly fired for a record five times this season by media pundits and fans alike.
In an article from the New York Times, Giants tight end commends quarterback and leader Eli Manning for his ability in knowing when to be assertive and when to be constructive, something the Jets should take notes on.
“I know that when Victor and I came in, we didn’t know everything and we still don’t. But when we made a mistake, ran the wrong route, he always took the time to help us. That’s what good leaders do. They realized the team’s not just made up of veterans. You have to be willing to accept other people’s mistakes and Eli is great with that, one of the best.”
A far cry from the anonymous report by the New York Daily News, in which the Jets’ source rips his quarterback from everything up to Yo Momma jokes. Even farther from the remarks by LaDanian Tomlinson, who aired-out the locker room’s dirty laundry, filling Showtime’s Inside the NFL in on the Holmes-Sanchez relationship and the deplorable locker room environment calling it “one of the worst he’s even been around”.
While it may be more admirable than anonymously calling out teammates, it certainly shouldn’t be more accepted. Upon losing their final three games, it became clear that continuity was at a premium in Florham Park, NJ.
Even owner Woody Johnson got a few jabs in before ending the media street fight, citing that only “great quarterbacks get coddled” and that Sanchez is “not great”. He continued by stating that while Sanchez is “their guy” they are not ruling out future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
The Giants, bound with an albatross of their own, banded together to get over the hump that has haunted the Jets for the last two seasons. The difference? The Giants did not see each other as individuals, rather as one. After all, you spell unity O-N-E.
Want to hear more from Wesley about the Jets and the NFL? Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/Wesley_Sykes.