Monday, January 17, 2011

Football Wrap: Jets Restore the Fine Art of Trash Talk

Trash talking is a lost art in professional sports. Oversensitive fans have ruined the art by being offended when athletes speak their mind and call it unprofessional. It's become a byproduct of this 24/7 news cycle where everything gets dissected and an athlete almost has to be safe on Twitter or else.

LeBron James showed us that last week. His biggest crime wasn't sending that tweet - the irony of telling an athlete to get over something when fans are notorious for long memories - it was denying it. People got mad he "talked trash" to Cleveland but it wasn't as bad as him denying it. It's better to talk crap and own it than run from it

Sports is boring when there are no characters. That's where the NY Jets come in, the most loose bunch of players I've seen in a while. Rex Ryan changed the culture of that team and like Mike Ditka or Jimmy Johnson, he's made his players want to play for him and will take the heat for anything they say or do.

I don't mind if players talk trash. I'm a classy man but I get fired up on the court and I'd rather see guys show that passion/emotion instead of stone faces. It pisses me off if they do it to me or my team but here's the rub - if you can back it up, then you can talk. I grew up where guys talked junk in school all the time and you had to deal with it and earn respect.

Michael Jordan and Larry Bird were two of the biggest trash talkers in the NBA. Shannon Sharpe would tear dudes apart en route to being one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history. Charles Barkley's mouth would never shut up. And who can forget the Super Bowl Shuffle made during the Chicago Bears 1985 season.

Now, Rex Ryan's brought that swagger back with the success to prove it. I thought the Jets deserved to get stomped by the Ravens in Week One for running their mouths. Every loss felt like they were getting punished for their arrogance. But right now? They look every bit the cocky guys who are better than you and will let you know.

So what Antonio Cromartie cussed out Tom Brady? So what the Jets kept talking trash leading up to Sunday and the Colts game? If you got the breaks beaten off you on national TV by the Patriots, you need to pump yourselves up for the next meeting by any means necessary. And right now, the Jets are on a roll.

Mark Sanchez may just be a game manager but just like Ben Roethlisberger early on he's winning games in the 4th Quarter. He's got Big Ben's career arc without the brain-dead mentality. He was accused of a sexual assault in 2006 but the charges were dropped and he's been a model citizen since. So much for Pete Carroll saying he wasnt ready as he's beaten Philip Rivers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in January.

I'm also happy to see LaDainian Tomlinson finally beat New England. He's had a great postseason and I'm hoping he finally gets a ring because he deserves it. He's running like a man driven to prove everyone wrong and that edge helps fuel the Jets.

I root for Cromartie as another ex-Charger who doesn't deserve the Shawn Kemp treatment when he's trying to do right by his kids as well Darrelle Revis and Bart Scott bringing edge on a furious defense. The Jets went from loudmouths to loudmouth winners and slowly they've gained more support. Whatever you need to get motivated, use it

It ain't bragging if you can back it up. I'm rooting for them next week, because I can't root for Big Ben to get back to the SB and watch the media try to spin this as a comeback.

Sunday was a win for trash talking. The livelier, the better as long as you produce on the field. Here's hoping Pittsburgh meets their fate like they did a few weeks ago against the Jets. Nothing better than seeing Bill Belichick leave the field like this.

P.S. Bears-Packers is going to a whole new level in the NFC Title Game. Aaron Rodgers played out of his mind Saturday and there's no way I trust Jay Cutler to win a game like that.

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