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Famous last words

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  January 16, 2011 11:30 PM

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6. Antonio Cromartie said after the game that his feelings about Brady haven't changed, though this time he at least chose classier adjectives. He did note that he likes Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger. "I love Ben, man," Cromartie said. "Ben's a competitor, man." One can only imagine what the topics of conversation between those two Man of the Year candidates might be.

7. I'm still not sure what to make of Rex Ryan -- whether his bluster building up to the game was just Rex being Rex or a calculated attempt to show his faith in his team while taking the heat off his players, whether he's a great coach or merely a good one who has managed to meld Mike Tannenbaum's collection of loud-mouthed camera-hogs into a cohesive team for the time being, whether he digs feet or really digs feet. But I know this: He's now 3-2 against the Patriots and Belichick in his two years at the helm of the Jets, and Belichick's respect for him seems genuine. It's funny, because their personalities are slightly different, you forget that they have a lot in common -- a love for defense, fathers who taught them the game, horrible wardrobe choices . . .

8. So from a Patriots fan's perspective, let me see if I have the next couple of weeks straight: We root for the Steelers to demolish the Jets in a manner that makes the Patriots' humiliating defeat to the Bears in Super Bowl XX look like a friendly game of touch football in the back yard with the kids because . . . because they're the Jets, that's why. Then, the proper approach in Dallas is to root for the Packers/Bears to take down the Steelers since no one wants to see Ben Roethlisberger equal Brady's total of three rings (all coming since the Patriots' last Super Bowl win). Sounds like a plan to me.

9. As you've probably deduced, I'm not quite ready to bone up on the reasons for optimism just yet. Sure, you can't help but remind yourself about those three choices among the first 33 picks in the upcoming draft, or that Leigh Bodden and Ty Warren will return from their lost seasons, and think that this defense will be able to stop a whole hell of a lot more than a nosebleed next year. But that stuff is for the days to come. The day after a promising season dies, you can't help but perform the autopsy and hope it ends up being somehow cathartic. Beyond the moments large (the Chung blunder) and small (where was BenJarvus Green-Ellis) that added up to yesterday's crusher, the one frustrating thing I keep coming back to is that another year of Tom Brady's prime has passed. The quarterback is taking some heat today, having lost his last three postseason starts and looking somewhere between frustrated and resigned to defeat at times yesterday, and some of the criticism is justified. But I hope perspective is within reach for most fans today. He's a historically great player who has a historically great year, and despite the disappointing ending and his subpar-by-his-standards 299-yard passing performance, there's no one we should rather have leading this team.

10. As for today's Completely Random Football Card:

kotitefinn.jpg

Sure, Rex is having a nice run. But for my money, Rich Kotite remains the premier coach in Jets history, though I wouldn't argue with Bruce Coslet or Khaki Pete. Now those were the days.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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