Trash is our bread and butter
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If fans watch the NHL for the fights and watch NASCAR for the crashes, they watch the NFL for trash talking, and the backing up of said trash talking with smash-mouth football. The Jets and the Patriots upped the ante over the past week with a back and forth that would make Vince McMahon proud. The Patriots played the hero, the Jets played villain and the press played Mean Gene Okerlund.
New England has made a habit of proving that championship football isn't about having fun but instead doing a job. Bill Belichick is the Chinese Mom, Amy Chua describes in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The Pat's coach is the mastermind of a faceless team where all parts work together (see Wes Welker) and any part can be replaced (see Matt Cassel) without sacrificing wins.
The Jets on the other hand (or foot) are all about personality and fun. Rex Ryan and his band of misfits subscribe to talking trash first and backing it up later. But, miracle of miracles they did back it up this year. They waltzed into Foxborough, spat in the face of NFL orthodoxy and then violated the expectations of every off-season Sox fan with a seat in Gillette Stadium. I'm no Jets fan, but I gotta respect their moxie.
The win gets New York an AFC Championship match-up with Pittsburgh, another NFL darling of the team first, one game at time, aww shucks ilk. That's not to say the Mike Tomlin is coaching a crew of choir boys (see Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward et. al.) but the Steelers as an organization certainly get a lot more football cred, than the Jets. New York wide receiver Braylon Edwards has already got the war or words going. And if last week is any proof, there should be plenty of hot air to fuel the hype of talk radio and sports pages.
Is this good for the NFL? Let me tell you something brother, trash talk is nothing new and it makes the game more fun. Fans want to hear the smack and players feed off of it. Sure the League says "that comments of a physically threatening nature are always taken into account in evaluating discipline for any illegal physical contact on the field," but that's only because it has to keep up appearances. In reality, the 40 million viewers who turned in for CBS's coverage of the Jets-Pats game instead of Ricky Gervais and the Golden Globe's, speaks volumes.
Let's get it on!