THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Dan Shaughnessy

Jets’ bombast bordering on the ridiculous

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / September 20, 2009

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You’re fat.

You’re ugly.

Your mother wears army boots.

And when you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way.

Insults have flown. Manhood has been challenged. Trash has been talked.

Finally, today, there will be football. And the Jets will have to back up the tough talk.

This all started with the rings. You remember the rings. Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans. Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston. Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville. The Patriots won ’em all and Bill Belichick made himself the coach of the century. Three rings. No circus. Just beating the other guy every week. My whistle is better than your whistle.

Enter Rex Ryan. Son of Buddy. (Wade Phillips is Son of Bum, but that’s another story.) Rex is a colorful guy, and when he got the job with the Jets he said, “I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings . . . I’m certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else.’’

As a follow-up, Ryan downplayed the impact of his words, adding, “If that’s where you’re going to draw motivation from, we’ll probably kick your [backside].’’

After the Jets won their opener last week, they started rattling sabres and making threats. They said they were going to treat today’s game like the Super Bowl. They said they were on a mission to “embarrass’’ the Patriots. They said they were going to get to Tom Brady.

Great fuel for the Border War. As if we needed any.

Today’s game is the 100th (including playoffs) between the ancient AFL rivals. Overall, it’s a symmetrical 49-49-1. How’s that for Rozellian parity?

Patriots fans grow up to hate the Jets the way Red Sox fans hate the Yankees. The loathing took on a new dimension when Bill Parcells bolted for the Jets after a spat with Bob Kraft. Then came Curtis Martin to the Jets. Then there was Belichick’s stunning resignation as HC of the NYJ - a bizarre moment that prompted Jets president Steve Gutman to publicly question Belichick’s mental health. The Patriots and Jets wrestled long and hard over the services of Belichick.

The next grenade lobbed was Eric Mangini’s defection to the Jets and Eric the traitor ratting out the Patriots in the 2007 season opener at the Meadowlands. Spygate cost New England a first-round draft pick and armed legions of Patriot haters with a weapon. Forever. Anyone who wants to diminish New England’s accomplishments can say the Patriots won by cheating (ask Senator Arlen Specter). All because of the Jets. The cheating scandal launched those awkward moments at midfield when Belichick and Mangini would ignore one another while sort of shaking hands.

Now this. The Jets last week won a game with their new coach and their rookie quarterback, and since that day they’ve been acting like chumps. Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins made the Super Bowl analogy. Safety Kerry Rhodes said they would “try to embarrass’’ the Patriots and predicted they’d hit Brady more than six times. Ryan, meanwhile, recorded a pathetic mass voice mail message in which he tried to whip Jets fans into a frenzy.

What kind of a team makes its coach do that? Ryan sounded like a high school tuba player selling candy to raise money for the band’s trip to the Macy’s Parade.

In the words of Will Ferrell: cirque du so lame.

Historically, the Patriots have responded to these challenges with skill and aplomb. Remember Brady getting in the face of Pittsburgh defensive back Anthony Smith? How’d that work out for the Steelers?

The Jets have given Belichick enough bulletin-board material to wallpaper the visiting locker room at the Meadowlands. He will use this. The Jets have disrespected him. They have disrespected the Patriots. They have dissed Tom Brady.

This is not the first time Rex Ryan has done Belichick a favor. Late in the almost perfect season of 2007, the (then-11-0) Patriots were poised to lose to the Ravens, but were saved when Baltimore assistant coach Rex Ryan signaled for a timeout just as Brady was stopped on a fourth-down quarterback sneak. The Patriots got a do-over and won the game. Thanks, Rex.

Barring the Jets hosting a playoff game against the Patriots (about as likely as Jack E. Robinson winning the Senate seat), this will be the Patriots’ final game at the Meadowlands. New England has won an astounding eight straight in the Swamp Grid off Exit 16W.

The old Patriots would have stomped on these New York trash-talkers. Today we find out if these Patriots are anything like the championship Patriots.

For the record, Belichick said nobody’s ever kissed his rings. He said they are stored in a box somewhere at home (best kept away from Vladimir Putin).

Wouldn’t it be great if Coach Bill stashed his rings in his hoodie this afternoon and the Patriots won? When the clock ticked down to zero, Belichick could put all three paperweight-sized baubles on his right hand, walk to midfield, and extend his gaudy mitt toward Rex Ryan.

Kiss that, Rex.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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