The Patriots have spent the past two weeks focused on preparation, intent on taking advantage of the extra time to get ready for the biggest game of the season. Between the workouts, meetings, and film sessions, they’ve been dodging questions, since most of them are in reference to the stir coming from another locker room — the one occupied by their opponent.
The time for answering or deflecting those questions will soon be over. Am I the only one who is thankful? I doubt it.
Kevin Faulk laughed on Friday when he heard me say I’m ready for the divisional round to be played. Then, he agreed. The reality — in this day and age of Twitter and the 24-hour news cycle — is that any divisional playoff game will be hyped up. But, make it a game between two division rivals who split the season series in remarkable fashion, and that hype will kick up a notch. Add two head coaches who go about the public aspect of their job as differently as Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan do and, well, that imaginary hype meter is busted.
So be it. That’s the nature of sports in the world today.
But this week? This week went well beyond hype.
Part of me doesn’t even want to touch on the personal attack that took place earlier this week. Why give more credence to it? But Antonio Cromartie‘s profanity-laced comments to the New York Daily News were so inappropriate that I’m compelled.
We all know there is no love lost between New York and New England, and Cromartie has the right to feel any way that he wants about Tom Brady. It’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it. Yet to express those opinions in the manner in which he did was childish, disrespectful, and unnecessary. After all the expletives directed toward the quarterback, he threw out one final thought, this one aimed at the entire Patriots team. “I hate them. I don’t care. I hate them.”
His rant drives me to ask, is it possible to sound more like a two and a half-year-old throwing a temper tantrum?
Ryan got one part of it right during his conference call when asked about Cromartie’s choice words. The head coach said “we have a right to our opinion.” Sure, but that doesn’t mean it should be expressed in such a derogatory manner. What the head coach got wrong came less than a sentence later, “…a comment like that … it’s no big deal.”
It is a big deal. It’s like a loud-mouthed bully on the playground who never stops shouting obscenities because the teacher is applauding him. When members of the Jets’ organization act like toddlers in these situations we shouldn’t be surprised. Clearly, it has been determined as acceptable behavior that doesn’t require any type of apology.
At the end of the day, the Patriots — like them or not — won’t directly engage in the war of words on the playground, and that’s respectable. Especially given at the nature of the name-calling tossed toward their offensive leader. Do you think Brady’s sing-songing the old phrase? Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. I doubt it.
My bet is he’s using every moment to get ready for the biggest game of the season — even if others doubt his preparation.