By Patrick Imig
Cold, Hard Football Facts Media Whore

Turns out it isn't just the fans and pundits who second guess the players on the field. In what has become the norm more than a trend, former NFL players are calling out their former teams and teammates. The latest example of this phenomenon occurred Monday on ESPN's Mike and Mike. Former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce sounded off on former teammates Brandon Jacobs and Justin Tuck, both of whom sat out with injury during the Giants' loss to the Seahawks.

Said Pierce: "The Giants need their guys out there. Justin Tuck, Brandon Jacobs ... (the Giants) already have enough injuries but how long can you go throughout the NFL season without some of your top players? To me if you don't have an injury that needs surgery, or that's severe, you need to be out there."

Naturally, the comments weren't met with open arms. Tuck's response: “It’s funny to me. I wish I could reverse roles with AP and say what he said and see how he responds to it. But I’m not going to make a big deal out of it. He said it. I understand how he meant it. It didn’t come out the way I think he wanted it to. And we talked about it. It’s water under the bridge. I could care less. Move on.”

Pierce is an analyst for ESPN, which gives credence to the notion ESPN is a news-manufacturing machine, rather than a messanging service or reporting machine. But we don't believe Pierce or any other former player is being force-fed lines by the Bristol hiearchy. And if they are, we don't think it would influence their opinion. 

Regardless, this is not the first time in 2011 teams have suffered the wrath of former teammates. Let's revisit.

Verbal Fight #1: Tedy Bruschi vs. Chad Ochocinco w/ Tom Brady as the public defender

After Ochocinco Tweeted his amazement at the offense he played in, Tedy Bruschi (also employed at ESPN) said the following: "You're not someone who's on another team or watching TV. You're not an analyst. You're a part of it. They want you to be a part of it. So get with the program because obviously you're not getting it and you're tweeting because you're saying, 'It's amazing to see'? It's amazing to see because you don't understand it. You still don't understand it and it's amazing to you because you can't get it."

Response: Tom Brady tells Tedy to put a cork in it
“None of those guys have any clue what they’re talking about. They aren’t in this locker room.”

Verdict: Ochocinco w/ Brady wins.
Sure, Ochocinco's production would suggest he hasn't completely grasped the offense and sure, we agreed with Bruschi's sentiments at the time he said them. But the bottom line is that the Patriots are 4-1, Tom Brady is having another monster season (with or without Ochocinco) and Brady is still having sex with a Brazilian super model. Advantage: anyone associated with Brady. 

Verbal Fight #2: Joe Namath vs. Rex Ryan

Two weeks ago, Broadway Joe wondered if Rex Ryan is too boisterous for his own team's good when he said, "I think these guys might be believing that they're better than they are. Rex has been the only coach that we know, in maybe the history of the game that I'm familiar with, that keeps continually telling his guys how good they are. And they have been pretty good - pretty good - but they haven't won a championship yet."

Response: Ryan says, "He can come in here and if he can still throw, we'll have him as a backup quarterback. But you know what? He doesn't know our team."

Verdict: Nothing definitive but Joe Namath has more leverage in his war on hyperbole. According to our unscientific and unfounded Pigskin Detention research poll, Brian Schottenheimer leads all candidates for Jets Scapegoat of the Year with 33% of the vote. See the graphic for more details.


Verbal Fight #3: Deion Sanders disses Tony Romo

Just last week, Sanders remarked "you come and do this?" Romo did, apparently. 

Response: Nada.

Verdict: Unless, Sanders expected Romo to throw touchdown passes during the bye week, this verbal battle lingers. It's shaping up to be a victory by default for Romo, who looks better by the day since Sanders has now involved Cowboys fans in the story, "First and foremost, I don't care if I played for the Dallas Cowboys. I'm going to tell the truth. Many people feel like I'm stabbing the Cowboys in the back by doing my job by telling you the truth."

It isn't that Sanders is out of line or even wrong, but Romo has the upper hand assuming he wins Week 6 - which is like saying Sanders has the upper hand assuming Romo loses Week 6. Screw it. Call it a push. A Deion Sanders push out-of-bounds instead of a hard-hitting tackle, if you will.


If NFL coaches had their own private Facebook site, this is how it would look in the aftermath of Week 5. 



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