Where has all the trash talk gone? One week ago, the tabloids were neck deep in verbal assault from the New York Jets. Two weeks ago, Rex Ryan called out Peyton Manning, and even guaranteed a victory on the road.
Now, silence and honorable respect has settled on the Jets locker room.
Somehow, the Pittsburgh Steelers and their six championship rings have a little do with the cordial demeanor.
Sure, playing the “disrespected, trash talk” card three weeks in a row might seem overplayed, but isn’t it a case of dancing with the date you brought?
After playing in and winning the most watched divisional playoff game of all time last week against the hated Patriots, two of the biggest games in NY Jets history have arrived.
The Steelers pose a much bigger challenge than the Patriots or Colts in previous weeks.
Rex Ryan knows exactly what Pittsburgh’s backbone is, and without a doubt, the Steelers were built on defense. The Steelers maintain their elite status in major part because of their effectiveness on that side of the ball.
This week, the Jets might carry themselves with a quiet confidence. After all, “Gang Green” returned to New York with a win five weeks ago after the Steelers-Jets first bout.
Troy Polamalu, undoubtedly Pittsburgh’s best player, was watching from the sidelines the last time these two teams met, however. In this Sunday’s AFC Championship game, Polamalu will make himself known from the first play, until the very last.
In week 15, the Jets escaped with a five-point victory. At Heinz Field this Sunday, two dominating defenses and two big-play offenses will line up “like two trains on the same track,” as Mike Tomlin said this week.
However, the mid-week appetizers that the Patriots and Jets provided last week only helped the entertainment value of the game. In fact, most thought calling out the Patriots was not a good idea.
Only everyone soon found out that bringing emotional jargon to the press during the week wasn’t a good idea, it was a great idea.
The Jets didn’t know what happened following their 45-3 drubbing at the hands of the Patriots earlier in the season, and the Jets returned the favor in stunning fashion. Complete with back flips, naps in the end zone, and a coach limping down the sideline to join the celebration, championship Sunday seems completely underplayed.
No trash talk, no calling out, and all respectful gestures from both sides; apparently the barbaric game of football has turned into a tea party.
Then again, the Steelers nearly transformed the game of football from brutality to an overcautious, over-flagged, over-penalized, and over-fined league. All of that happened because of the hard-hitting nature of Pittsburgh’s defense, and mainly James Harrison.
Whether there is talking before kickoff or not, when the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the New York Jets, the helmets and shoulder pads will be all the competitive banter fans desire.
But if you asked Bart Scott about the Steelers, as he simply put, "Can't wait!"
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