Cromartie's Venom Toward Brady Highlights Jets-Pats Rivalry

New York Jets Antonio Cromartie returns a kick-off during NFL football practice, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 in Florham Park, N.J. The Jets are scheduled to play the New England Patriots in a playoff game on Sunday, Jan. 16. in New England. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
AP Photo
New England Patriots head football coach Bill Belichick
This is about as much emotion as New England Patriots head football coach Bill Belichick shows in public, no matter the situation.
AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

Apart from the New England Patriots' post-season dominance in recent years, the New York Jets and their AFC rivals, the Patriots, have a surprisingly even head-to-head record; they are 51-51-1 in all-time matchups.

Yet off the field, they have remarkably different ways of going about their business. Ahead of Saturday's Divisonal Playoff matchup between the teams, the Jets, led by their larger-than-life coach Rex Ryan, have been hurling invectives in the Patriots direction.

The Patriots players, perhaps taking a cue from their all-business head coach Bill Belichick, have been relatively quiet.

The verbal jabs began right after the Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round of the Playoffs.

Ryan told reporters: "There's nobody like (Colts quarterback Peyton Manning) in the league. Nobody studies like him. I know (Patriots quarterback Tom) Brady thinks he does. I think there's probably a little more help with (New England coach Bill) Belichick with Brady than there is with Peyton Manning."

Translation: Brady thinks he's all that, but he's no Peyton Manning.

Ryan followed that up by saying: "This is about Bill Belichick vs. Rex Ryan. There's no question. It's personal. It's about him versus myself, and that's what it's going to come down to."

Belichick responded as he often does, providing little in the way of good tabloid fodder: "They're a good football team across the board: good on offense, defense and special teams. They beat the Colts in Indianapolis. We all know how tough that is. Everything concerns me [with them]. They're good across the board."

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Everything's all good now, right? Not so fast. Jets Cornerback Antonio Cromartie then ripped into Brady, calling him an "a**hole," adding, "That's the kind of guy he is."

Brady responded as cool as a cucumber: "I've been called worse. I'm sure there is a long list of people that feel that way."

The Jets then claimed that Brady was only putting on a front, adding that, in fact, Brady really does enjoy taunting them.

Ryan claimed: "They're saying a lot worse about me and others here, maybe it just wasn't printed"

During the 45-3 drubbing the Patriots handed the Jets at the end of the regular season, Brady allegedly taunted them from the field.

Jets defensive lineman Shaun Ellis said: "It's just his body language and things like that. When they scored, he'd look over to our sideline and do a little body language and all that. He doesn't like the Jets. Any time he gets a chance to rub it in our face, he's going to do it. For us, it's just a matter of we want to see him on the ground as much as possible."

With barely 48 hours to go until all that talk must become action, there is plenty of time for the Patriots to rise and take the Jets bait. If they do, we may never hear about it.

Patriots tight end Alge Crumpler perhaps summed it up best, telling reporters, "As I said the last time we played, their team takes after their coach. We take after ours. It all boils down to what you do on the field."

  • Joshua Norman

    Joshua Norman is a Senior Editor at