"Yap yap yap YAP. Bottom line is, you got to buckle up the chin strap."
~ Ray Anthony Lewis, American football linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League, when asked about the New York Jets.
Just after the Jets gave us the 5 Stages of Manning Face last Sunday, a fellow Patriots fan on Twitter sighed about how it would be a very long week leading up to another showdown with the Jets, which will also be this season's rubber match between the two bitter division rivals, as well as a playoff game.
I could sympathize with that sigh, as it was clear from the get-go that the amount of smack-talk in these upped-ante circumstances would far exceed even the stifling norm. This has, sadly, been borne out, reaching either its peak or its nadir, depending on how you're measuring, with Antonio Cromartie's expletive-laden response to being asked about Tom Brady, a response which was printed in the New York Daily News and later publicly confirmed as an accurate quotation by Cromartie himself. It was a spectacle which I would assume had Jets PR wetting themselves, if I believed that the Jets even have a PR department.
Sigh. See. There it goes. Even if you swear you'll stay above the fray, sometimes it's the tedious fact of the fray itself that can get you puffed up and talking crap, too.
Maybe somebody just needs to send the Jets front office a memo reminding them that this tactic has been tried before. Since the 2001 Steelers, more than a few opponents have flapped their gums incessantly in the days leading up to a showdown with the Patriots, and as with that Steelers team, it has not conferred on them any kind of discernible advantage. Yet the Jets have just stuck to that same playbook: running their mouths, handing the Patriots abundant "Bulletin Board Material," and then, more often than not, looking like smacked asses when the field clock's running out its final seconds.
But the worst thing with the Jets, the thing that makes them not just boors but bores, at this point, is that, well...let's just say that after this last week, I'd like to see how they rank in the league in terms of average team score on the Wonderlic.
Talking smack before kickoff isn't the smartest thing to do in the first place, as we've already covered here, but when the Jets, true to form, went ahead and did it anyway, they couldn't talk even halfway intelligent smack. Hell, they couldn't even be bothered to go a quarter of the way, if you ask me. Cromartie's gem, "Tom Brady's an a-hole. F him." could have come from a kindergartener (admittedly one with a precocious vocabulary of obscenities).
I mean, seriously, Antonio. Let me level with you here. This trash-talking apparently has some kind of important cultural value for your team, and yet, THAT -- a spew of pouting profanity, followed by a whining explanation about how Brady once pointed at you in a way you felt was wrong -- was really, honestly, the best you could come up with?
Tiresome. That's just the only way to describe it.
However -- I will admit, I did get a kick out of one surprising and clever response from the Patriots to the onslaught of BS this week, which was delivered, equally surprisingly, by Wes Welker at a mid-week press conference.
I am on record as a non-fan of the whole Rex Ryan foot fetish story, but by that point, I think anything was fair game. The Patriots hadn't started it, but the ball was in their court. And Welker tossed it back, but softly. Not with insults and f-notes, but wit and subtlety.
After seeing that performance by Welker, I can't help but think (evil Patriots-lover that I am) of how the Cromartie and Welker press conferences serve as a parable of sorts, about the general gulf between these two teams in the "explicable thought process" department.
A thing I hope we'll also see played out on the field, as they meet there again.