No Small Fe(e)t: New England Patriots Look To Humble Rex Ryan's Boisterous Jets

Sean KeaneCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets looks on during warm ups against the Indianapolis Colts during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Antonio Cromartie and the New York Jets emulate their head coach Rex Ryan, which may help explain why they seem so intent on putting their foot in their mouths. 

They never tire of talking about themselves, their opponents, the Super Bowl, their hatred of Tom Brady and by extension the Patriots, their Dungy-esque respect for Peyton Manning, the list goes on...and on....and on. 

The list is still going because, well, the Jets are still talking.

When Rex Ryan famously predicted a J-E-T-S! Super Bowl victory over the summer, it turned some heads.  Many fans thought it was arrogant considering the Patriots were the reigning division champs.  The Jets had just come off an AFC Championship game appearance and were the trendy pick to win the AFC East, though, so Ryan's confidence was warranted.

The Jets backed it up by losing their season opener at home, in the first-ever regular season game at New Meadowlands Stadium.

Open mouth. Insert foot.

Not so fast.  The following week, with New England coming to town, cornerback Darelle Revis openly stood by his previous comment that Randy Moss was a slouch.

The Jets won the game, but Revis re-injured his hamstring trying to keep up with Moss on a balletic touchdown catch.  New York had won the war, but Revis had lost the battle and has seemed more cautious in his remarks since then.

Lesson learned.

The rest of the team, however, soldiered onward with renewed braggadocio.

At least until they were systematically dismantled by those same Patriots in Gillette Stadium in December.  A 45-3 embarrassment had to humble the Jets, right?

Wrong. Rather than holding themselves accountable and being upset with their own lackluster effort, they instead chose to direct their anger towards Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (more on that shortly).

A wild-card berth didn't stop Rex Ryan from openly declaring his team the best in the NFL, a bold statement considering they entered the postseason as the sixth seed.  His players backed him up though and squeaked by an exhausted and injury-plagued Colts team in Indianapolis.

Ryan couldn't help himself.  In one fell swoop he both praised his fallen opponent and took a swipe at his upcoming one by remarking that nobody in the NFL prepares as well as Peyton Manning, even if Brady thinks he does.

Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie took the baton from there and has been running with it ever since.  He called Brady an expletive which corresponds to a human anus and then implied that Brady should go make love to himself.

Brady has maintained his sangfroid, observing that he's been called worse and that Cromartie probably isn't the only person who feels that way.

The two, by the way, have never met.

Does all the off-field chatter really matter during the game? Probably not.  But it would certainly make a Patriots' victory that much sweeter.

On Sunday, the Patriots have the opportunity to silence the blowhards to the south once and for all.

Well, maybe not Rex Ryan, he'll spout off no matter what because he enjoys putting a foot in his mouth.  The Jets have been following suit all season, flapping their gums to the extent that even the most orally fit among us would suffer lockjaw and be forced into silence.

Not the Jets though. Their lips are loose and limber.  Even so, with all their gnashing of teeth, they may have bitten off more than they can chew, and the Patriots can do the rest of the NFL a favor by making the Jets choke on their own words.