Let me tell you about one of my best friends.
She’s a “God and Football Girl” just like me. Except she’s jewish. And a Cal alum.
Despite our obvious differences, we understand how the other person works. The intense passion for faith and overly large men in pads running into each other at full speed is a combination not found in everyone today, especially people who carry two X chromosomes. But it creates more than understanding.
It creates the perfect atmosphere for trash talking.
Fortunately whether its football or basketball (I like the Lakers. She likes the Celtics) I’m always on the winning side of the rivalry. About the only thing we do agree upon is our mutual disdain for Stanford and UCLA. And the SEC.
Did I mention she also grew up a Buck-Eye fan? Yeah. About that trash talking…
I really don’t think I like the world “trash” any more. It has such a negative connotation and let’s face it. It’s fun. It’s a staple in the wonderful world of Sports. Like ESPN. Like bombshell blonde european tennis players. Like Al Davis calling his former head coach a liar the day he hires his next victim. And it has certainly strengthened my friendship with said Cal alum. Its done far more good than harm. And I predict it will continue to do so til I lie in my (much better looking) cardinal coffin and she in her blue.
But one of the reason its works is that we both know the rules of engagement for this time-tested practice. They aren’t written down anywhere. Its like the secret handshake underneath the table. Nothing ever needs to be said. We both just know.
There’s been a lot of talk about this sort of talk lately. We sports media type like to talk about what other people talk about. We actually make careers from it.
And Iam proposing that the Jets knew the rules. The Patriots didn’t.
For instance, I’m sure Wes Welker is putting his foot in his mouth right about now (pun completely and wonderfully intended). Belichick and the Patriots are known for keeping their mouths shut and letting Ryan and his ‘knucklehead’ not-so-rookie QB do all the talking. But Welker decided to take matters into his own hands with a few comments about feet. The problem?
It’s not the Patriots M.O. And it was personal. Ryan’s wife supposedly has a foot fetish.
It was really personal.
Then you have Bart Scott. He landed his jet and then took off on probably one of the best tirades since the dawn of sideline reporting. He made it clear to “all the non believers” that you can’t spell AFC Championship without J-E-T-S and backed it up with statistics and everything (i.e. according to Scott, the Jets have the 3rd best defense in the league whereas the Pats have the 25th best). And yes, even though it happened after the game I still put this in the category of “trash talking.”
So whats the difference besides Welker’s subtly and Scott’s lack thereof?
One kept things on the field. The other took things off. Way off.
Additionally, it works for the Jets. It’s just a part of who they are as a team, who they are as a whole organization. It’s hardly a sign of a dysfunctional family. On the contrary, there isn’t a team out there that seems to love their coach more than our green and white back flipping friends from the east. I have that in common with the Jets. If I’m not talking, something must be wrong.
Sometimes the line is as vague as the midcourt line on Oregon’s new basketball court. Other times it as clear a Waterford crystal football. But when you cross it, be careful. The other team might be just mad enough to beat the pants off of you.
And one thing is always certain:
No matter how much you talk, your actions will always speak louder than your words.