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Touching All the Bases

Only Reason Patriots Would Want Jets' Playbook Is For Bill Belichick's Reading Amusement

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Not sure what all the hubbub is about regarding Mike Pettine's offhanded and harmless remark to TheMMQB.com's Greg Bedard about the Jets playbook potentially ending up in the Patriots' possession once upon a time.

Pettine, currently filling the annual role as the Browns' new coach, has a background with the Jets, and if we know anything about the Jets, it's that they're much better at tweaking the Patriots than they are at beating them.

Pettine told Bedard that Tom Brady needled former Jets assistant coach Mike Smith at Wes Welker's wedding by indicating that the Patriots might have an edition or two of the Jets' defensive playbook.

"It didn't shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway," Pettine said. "He gave one out to [Alabama coach Nick] Saban and I was like, 'Don't you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it's going to end up in New England.' "

"I don't put a lot of graduate-level information in it," Pettine said. "We know in places like New England, it's only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook."

Smith was Welker's college roommate. Brady was his quarterback and remains a close friend. Anyone with common sense would conclude it was one guy busting another guy's you-know-what's, because that's what guys do at a buddy's wedding, especially when they also happen to come from opposite sides of a football rivalry.

To put it another way: If the Patriots did have the Jets' playbook -- presuming there is a complicated version beyond random Xs and Os, scattered pictures of feet, and platitudes like "WE'RE CALLING THIS PLAY "LET'S KICK SOME PATRIOT #*$($@)," BOYS" -- the last thing Brady would do is let the Jets know about it.

Hell, Rex Ryan -- and facetiousness aside, I do think he's a terrific coach -- has said this is a non-story. It generated headlines for two reasons:

1) It's click-bait (hi, there.)

2) Because many in the national media hate Belichick and will try to turn anything mildly controversial into an addendum on SpyGate. They're the Cheatriots in some minds, and they always will be. For rival fans, it's driven by envy.

For some in the media, it's a desperate attempt at pay back for a perceived lack of respect, or at least a lack of quotability.

Of course, you couldn't blame Belichick for wanting a Jets playbook, if only for some bemused reading when he needs a brief break from the complexities of football. Hell, I'd like to get a look at a Jets offensive playbook just to confirm my long-held suspicion that Mark Sanchez executed this play exactly as it was drawn up:

I do agree with Pettine that giving one to Saban isn't a great idea. Totally wouldn't put it past him to have a toady sell it on Craiglist, though:

NYJ Play Book - Best offer (Tuscaloosa)
condition: excellent. never read, especially by jets qb.
purchaser to pick up at university of alabama football office
do not contact with unsolicited services or offers. AND NO EYE CONTACT, PEASANT

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