Following their 29-14 loss to the New York Giants during week 16 of the 2011 NFL season, New York Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan had some choice words for Giants’ backup running back Brandon Jacobs. Ryan was rumored to have used an expletive that won’t be repeated here, but the gist of the comment was “wait until we win the Super Bowl this year.” Jacobs responded to Ryan’s verbal jab in kind, but was not very kind about it.
As the smoke from this incident settled, it was not the loud mouthed Ryan who took flack for his classless remarks, yet rather it was Jacobs who was being told to shut up and play.
Since that fateful game, New York’s (or New Jersey’s, to be technical) NFL franchises, the Jets and the Giants, have been headed in totally opposite directions.
The Jets fell to division rival Miami 19-17 in week 17, and as a result they missed the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Speculation has run rampant that star wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who was critical of the offensive line play on more than one occasion, will be cut or traded in 2012. Furthermore, it has gotten out that several players have been overly critical of quarterback Mark Sanchez, calling him ‘lazy,’ and that he doesn’t put in the work ‘because he knows he won’t be benched.’ All of this has Ryan, the face (and voice) of the Jets franchise, on a major damage control campaign.
The Giants, on the other hand, have won four straight since that game, including last week’s NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers that has them in Super Bowl XLVI against the New England Patriots. As for Jacobs, he has kept his mouth shut, and played an integral role in the Giants’ march toward another Super Bowl. His game high 92 yards against Atlanta allowed them to shutdown the Falcons’ passing attack in the wildcard game, while it was his ability to keep the chains moving that proved most beneficial in the divisional and championship rounds versus Green Bay and San Francisco, respectively.
Even if the Giants lose to the Patriots in Indianapolis a week from tomorrow, there is a big lesson to be learned in all of this. That it is better to speak softly and let one’s actions on the field do the talking. Of course try telling that to Rex Ryan, who will more than likely predict that his Jets’ will win the Super Bowl next season, only to see them fall short once again.