The New York Jets
are amusing. They are like the 1985 Bears, with a dash of Lee Flowers and J-Peezy.
They play big, and talk bigger. They have something larger than swagger. HBO sure made a wise decision in selecting the Jets for “Hard Knocks.”
Big mouths, however, usually have a weakness. When they are out of gas, they stop talking so much.
It's been mighty quiet in the Big Apple all week.
It will be quiet next week, too.
There is a perception in New York that the Jets are being quiet this week out of respect for the mighty Steelers. All the talking, the New York media figures, won't work against the Steelers and so the Jets are wisely being quiet.
If the Jets organized a hit-and-run on a local orphanage, the New York media would find a way to spin the decision into another chapter of Rex Ryan's genius.
There is nothing intelligent about what the Jets are doing this week. They are displaying fear and don't think for a second that the Steelers haven't figured it out.
One team is mature, the other is immature.
Always beware of teams that act out of character. Take the Patriots, for instance. We all thought they were borderline invincible at this time a week ago, right? They were cool and calm, always a step ahead, and hardly the type of team that gets distracted by a bunch of malcontents like the Jets.
And then Wes Welker
mentioned feet about 20 times at a press conference and the Patriots were never the same.
Welker was benched for the first series - and we'll never know how that really affected the game - and the Patriots never really recovered. Following the contest, a number of New England players openly questioned Bill Belichick's decision to bench Welker.
Had dissention begun to slot the Patriots and the coaching staff? Did Tom Brady
throw that early interception, at least in part, because his favorite target wasn't on the field?
We'll never know.
But what we do know is that the Patriots started playing the Jets' games.
And now the Jets are playing someone else's game.
The Steelers never play anyone else's game. They are the Steelers, and that's good enough for them. Ultimately it doesn't particularly matter what is said during the week during these painful press conferences. However, what is said often displays a clear reflection of how mature a team is, and how strong its leadership is.
The Jets are all about the bright lights.
The Steelers are all about the Lombardi Trophies.
The Rooneys, Mike Tomlin and the Steelers themselves deserve so much credit. No one saw this coming eight months ago, when a frazzled Ben Roethlisberger
didn't bother getting a haircut before appearing in front of cameras, looking lost and confused while talking curtly about the allegations that were sure to cripple the team's season.
What makes the Steelers special, though, is that they never wavered from that point on. While the Jets were making themselves pop-culture icons with their behavior on HBO, the Steelers were working in Latrobe.
While the Jets were busy running their mouths, they ended up with the No. 6 seed.
While the Steelers were busy going about their business, they ended up with the No. 2 seed.
The Jets are a very good team that talks as though it were great.
Are the Steelers great? We'll find out on Sunday. But what we already know is that the Steelers don't change who they are, given the opponent. They are still savvy, still talented and don't forget about the one story no one is talking about.
The Steelers are angry.
All season, they have believed the league has singled them out. Whether it's true or not, they have been forced to overcome uncommon adversity.
All that anger - legitimate anger - will be released Sunday night. Was James Harrison
singled out? Did Roethlisberger really deserve that suspension?
There is a quiet anger that boils inside of these Steelers. Such anger can be remarkable motivation.
The Jets are full of great characters.
The Steelers are filled with character.
At the end of the day, teams with true character - not the manufactured kind - almost always win. This will be no different.
By Mark Kaboly
Posted Jan 22, 2011