New York Jets Dominate New England Patriots: To Heck with Conventional Wisdom

David BurnettCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2011

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16:  Sione Pouha #91 of the New York Jets celebrates on his way to defeating the New England Patriots 28 to 21 victory over the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

I have completely lost patience with conventional wisdom and those who worship at its alter.

I am convinced that so-called “conventional wisdom” means absolutely nothing.  Conventional wisdom had it that it was impossible for the New England Patriots to lose at home in the playoffs to the New York Jets, especially after the Patriots dominated the Jets 45-3 just weeks earlier.

Heading into Sunday’s game, New England looked invincible, finishing the regular season 14–2 and going undefeated at home.  The Patriots at home in the playoffs are mortal locks, right?

Conventional wisdom mandated that New England’s heralded Tom Brady would easily outplay the Jets’ second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez.  Conventional wisdom also had it that Bill Belichick could not possibly be outcoached by a guy who is now America’s most famous admirer of feet.

The rules of conventional wisdom also dictate that great teams keep their mouths shut and boasting to a minimum.  Well, the Jets did most of the talking last week and the foot-guy, Rex Ryan, insisted that he would not be intimidated by the legendary Belichick.  Ryan bragged that the Jets would win, despite what just about all the critics were saying about him and his team.

In the end it was Sanchez who looked like the seasoned veteran when the game was still in doubt and his coach Rex Ryan had the last word, never having placed his foot in his mouth.

Take that conventional wisdom.  Jets win, 28–21.

This is the NFL.  It is a league where ANY team can win on any given Sunday, provided that team is properly motivated, energized and inspired.

Great plays and great players playing well during challenging moments are what make the NFL the most popular and engaging league in sports.  It is always a season-long drama, with the unexpected as the norm.

The conference championship games are next.  The Chicago Bears play at home against their longtime rivals, the Green Bay Packers.  And the Pittsburgh Steelers play at home against the streaking New York Jets. 

On paper, the Bears and Steelers should have an advantage because of the home field.  Will they actually win and go on to the Super Bowl?  Who knows.

So as you place your bets this week, or open your mouths to talk smack, know this—you know nothing.  All any of us know is that the game is played on the field.  Something memorable will happen.  That is all that is guaranteed.

To heck with conventional wisdom.


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