The divisional playoff game between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots on Sunday January 16, 2011 should prove to be a good one. According to Rex Ryan, “There’s no question. It’s personal. It’s about him against myself, and that’s what it’s going to come down to.”
There is a little bit of truth to Rex Ryan’s side of the story; however, like any story there are two sides. According to Bill Belichick, “I don’t think you’ll see either one of us out there making any blocks or tackles or runs or throws or catches. At least you won’t see me doing it. It’s probably a good thing for our team.” Belichick is right atleast on one thing, Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick will not be on the field playing the game for their teams; but they will be coaching.
Football is like a chess match, where the coaches have to move pieces and coordinate the best moves in order to win the game. The difference is that in football the pieces have a mind of their own, and not all the pieces are created equally.
A good football team can make a bad coach look good, and a bad football team can look good by having a good coach. In this particular division game, both coaches are pretty darn good at their methods and the teams aren’t that bad as well. All in all this is a tough game to really call.
The quarterback and coach are typically the leaders of a football team. Looking at the leadership positions on each team, you might say the Patriots have an advantage. Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL this year and has 3 Superbowl rings to go with 2 Superbowl MVP honors; while, Sanchez is still gaining playoff experience in his young career.
The image is almost the same with Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick; where Belichick is arguably one of the best coaches in NFL history with 5 Superbowl rings (2 as a defensive cordinator for the New York Giants and 3 as the head coach of the New England Patriots) and Rex has 1 Superbowl ring (none as a head coach but 1 as a defensive cordinator for the Baltimore Ravens).
Rex Ryan might have been right about making it personal between him and Belichick. It is an uphill battle for the Jets at the quarterback position. By making it about the two coaches, Rex takes away the microsrope and pressure from the most spotlighted position in football; the quarterback. For young Mark Sanchez, it is imperative that he remain calm, play football and not get caught up in all of the hype.
Rex is a great coach but still unproven, this is not a bad thing though. In football it is all about hunger, and people who haven’t had their fair share tend to be the hungriest. Rex is a big guy, and his attitude reflects a hunger that is insatiable. Although Belichick has more rings, I think Rex has more moxy and is ready for the duel of two great minds.
As far as Bill Belichick’s point of view about making it about the team, I am not sure if he has the advantage here. Sure, Tom Brady is a monster whereas Sanchez is still wet behind the ears, but this is just one position on one side of the ball.
After the quarterback position, I think the advantage goes to the Jets. New York has a refueled LaDainian Tomlinson who is having one of his best years since his MVP days in San Diego, as well as a tough downhill runner in Shonn Greene. Their wide receiver core is filled with a bunch of big name receivers such as Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and a lot of people forget about Jerricho Cotchery. The offensive line is pretty good, highlighted by D’Brickashaw Ferguson. And although their offensive unit sounds real good, their defense sounds better.
Big names such as Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie are shutdown corners on both sides of the field. Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, and Jason Taylor are veteran linebackers that are still contributing heavily and Shuan Ellis is a big name on the defensive line to compliment a plethera of talent upfront.
Granted the Patriots have a couple of good/proven players themselves on both sides of the ball, but their young and inexperienced defense with a lack of offensive weapons could put their chances of winning this game in jeopardy. As far as the team goes, player for player on paper, I would have to go advantage Jets.
This Sunday I am hoping for Big Rex and Gang Green to win it for the Tri State area. They have the coach, they have the players, lets just hope come Monday they have the win.
J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!