For those who scoffed at Rex Ryan’s claims that the upcoming AFC Divisional Playoff game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets is “personal,” an immediate change of heart is in full order after Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie openly expressed his feelings for Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady.
When asked what he thought of Brady in an interview with the Daily News, Cromartie took the road less traveled by calling New England’s field general “An ass----" and added, “F--- him” to punctuate his in-depth analysis.
This latest salvo in an increasingly intense Jets-Patriots rivalry found inspiration from Brady’s alleged celebratory finger-pointing taunts during New England’s 45-3 annihilation of the Jets back in December.
Inadvertently, Cromartie's head coach tossed him an alley-oop by referring to these antics as simply “Brady being Brady,” and Cromartie proceeded to slam dunk the no-look pass with the authority and force of NBA power forward Blake Griffin.
"That's what I think about him. I don't really give a damn about him," Cromartie said. "I don't have to play against him. I play against the receivers."
At this point in the season and his career, it would serve no purpose for Brady to respond in kind to Cromartie’s comments, as his play on the field has spoken volumes about how far he has separated himself from his contemporaries.
Just as Brady humbled the Jets by dissecting them with surgical precision last month, if the Jets are truly offended by Brady’s on-field verbal and non-verbal jabs, then all they have to do is minimize his success on the field.
There were absolutely no references made to Brady taunting them when the Jets defeated the Patriots 28-14 in their first meeting of the season.
This is because the Jets allowed Brady to complete only 55.6 percent of his passes (20-of-36) for 248 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Brady’s quarterback rating was a pedestrian 72.5.
During that game, it would come as a surprise to discover the Jets didn’t give Brady "the business" while they were in the midst of stifling his efforts to put points on the boards.
So when he redeemed himself in Foxborough with a vengeance, the Jets had to expect Brady to jump on the chance to return the favor.
After all, it’s only fitting when the swagger with which the Jets entered this season and postseason is taken into consideration.
In any case, this latest development in the Jets’ media assault on the Patriots only serves to add intrigue, intensity and significance to the game, the “game within the game” and the intercity rivalry between Boston and New York.