The New England Patriots and New York Jets feud escalated this week with an explosion of trash talk in the media. Last week, Antonio Cromartie erupted with a profanity-laced rant against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Cromartie was referring to Brady's actions in a game earlier this year when Brady pointed to the Jets sideline after throwing a touchdown in a 42 point rout in New England. The Jets cornerback felt that Brady was unsportsmanlike and had some negative comments about Brady as a person.
This week, the war of words escalated with a series of events.
First, Wes Welker decided to poke a little fun at Rex Ryan and the foot fetish scandal that appeared in the media last month. Welker spoke to the media on Thursday and included several references to feet using words and phrases like "foot soldiers," "putting your best foot forward," and "being on your toes."
While the address was incredibly funny, some people, especially the New York Jets players, felt that the comments went over the line and were too personal. Remember, it was Rex Ryan who first said that this game was "personal" between the two teams and coaches.
Jets linebacker Bart Scott was one of the players who felt that Welker's comments went too far. Scott responded in the media with a threat to Welker.
Scott was quoted in Newsday on Friday stating "I'll tell you what. Be very careful what you say about our coach. His [Welker's] days in a uniform will be numbered. Put it like that."
While it is understood that the NFL playoffs should bring extra intensity, threatening to end another player's career is not something that should be tolerated by the NFL.
According to ESPN, "players' controversial comments could be taken into account in evaluating any potential disciplinary action that results from illegal hits or other banned physical acts in this weekend's playoff games."
There is a fine line between preparing for an important game by building up animosity towards another team's players and a desire to harm those players.
While rivalry and dislike between teams can make games more entertaining and interesting, the NFL should make sure that all players are safe from illegal hits and threats.