The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry is one of the best rivalries in professional sports — if not the very best. But while the passion and hatred shared among the fans of the two teams is unrivaled, it is a rivalry that often does not invoke much emotion from the players.
Search "David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez" in Google, and you'll see scores of photos of the stars sharing yuks in the outfield at Fenway, chatting it up with Manny Ramirez and playing Marco Polo at the All-Star Game.
Yeah, there was that brouhaha back in 2004, but that's old news. The games between the Red Sox and Yankees are great, and they are the highlight of the season for many fans, but there's just not a lot of hatred among the players.
So when Tom Brady goes on the radio and states plainly that he hates the Jets, that's nothing but a good thing. And former Patriot Rodney Harrison, who knows a thing or two about playing with passion, thinks that attitude can bring out the best in the Patriots.
"You better believe the Patriots have that [date] circled with the Jets," Harrison said on a conference call, according to ProFootballTalk. "They hate the Jets, but they hate them even more because they've been coming out saying, 'This is our division.'"
Brady's original comments came after he was asked if he's been watching Rex Ryan and the Jets on Hard Knocks this summer. The fact that Brady, the team's on-field leader and one of the longest tenured players on the team, made the comments was a big statement, according to his former teammate.
"Tom Brady is an honest guy, but Tom never comes out and blatantly says how much he hates a particular team," Harrison said. "So, obviously, they're very tired, fed up with the trash talk."
That's nothing new, but knowing it still lives is good for both sides.
Last year, the Jets beat the Patriots in Week 2, spent a lot of time talking about how good they were, lost six of their next eight (capped by a 31-14 drubbing in New England), surrendered their playoff chances, made the playoffs regardless and nearly found their way playing in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots, after an inconsistent regular season, got crushed by the Ravens in the wild-card round and had to spend the winter, spring and summer hearing all about how good the Jets are. That's not sitting well with them.
"I hate the Jets, so I refuse to support that show," Brady said on WEEI last week. "I'm sure it's great TV. I'm glad people are liking it. But that's just something that I have no interest in watching."
According to Harrison, part of that hatred may come from the fact that the team's coach has perhaps the loudest mouth on a team that appears to hold competitions to see who can say the most.
"It's one thing if a player trash talks, but if a coach starts trash talking, guess what? He hasn't made one tackle, he hasn't caught the ball, he hasn't scored one touchdown," Harrison said.
The Jets and Patriots again face off in Week 2 in New York, with the rematch taking place on a Monday night in December in Foxboro. Brady may not be tuning into Hard Knocks, but those two divisional battles will be worth watching.
(By the way, if you search for "Tom Brady and the Jets" in Google, you won't see much canoodling.)
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