It’s a bitter rivalry. The Miami Dolphins vs. the New York Jets. Marino vs. O’Brien. Pete Carroll’s choke sign, the Spike play, the…oh hell fill in your own there are a hundred to choose from. Now, a rivalry that was dying a slow death, kept alive by the fans of both teams, has resurfaced in an unlikely place. The off-season. It’s a rivalry rekindled.
It started with Rex Ryan, the new HC of the NY Jets…it hasn’t taken him long to fire up the river rats that call themselves Jets fans. His comments were however, expected from a new coach trying to impress his confidence in his team. He basically said that he wasn’t in the AFC East to kiss Bill Belichicks’ ass. That of course is for Commissioner Roger Goodell to do.
Ryan basically said that he will be in the Super Bowl in the next few years. Confident? Sure. Arrogant? Maybe. Trash talk? Not so much. And so the press conference continued and he spouted about how his team looks good and his expectations are high and something along the line of the Jets will be the team to beat. And Channing Crowder took exception to that and said that Ryan should be proud that he is “the OTA Super Bowl winner.”
Ryan started his jab with, “I don’t know this Channing Crowder. All I know is that he’s all tatted up, so I guess I ought to be nervous about him.” He also said Crowder was wrong about not winning anything in June because preparation wins championships, and if he were younger, “I’d probably handle him myself.” – from the Palm Beach Post.
Crowder wasn’t going to get punked by a rookie HC let alone one for the Jets so he responded during another interview.
“Oh, Lord have mercy. What’s wrong with him? Now he’s talking about preparation? We play them twice this year. If he wants to be prepared, shouldn’t he know the starting middle linebackers of his division rival?”
“I’d have beat the hell out of that big, old joker. Or if he really wants to get retro, my daddy or my uncle could have handled him. Don’t get big. Win with preparation? Start watching some tape and learn who your rival is. Come on now.” Crowder said in response to the beating down Ryan talked about.
This has playfully continued for the past day with Ryan throwing a barb in his presser and Crowder throwing a dart back. The best part is that both are doing it with smiles on their faces. This is a rebirth of sorts for a division rivalry that has been somewhat deflated since Don Shula and Dan Marino left the sidelines and field.
When Jimmy Johnson took over the Dolphins he left the past to the past so that he could carve out his own future. His own future was a short trip to nowhere followed by a career exiting blowout in Jacksonville. His legacy was not a rich tradition of winning or beating down the rest of the AFC East…instead it was Dave Wannstedt. Under Wannstedt the Dolphins fared no better in rekindling the decades old banter. Instead the jets just seemed to rub our noses in it. Payback for years of abuse they took from us.
Many have wondered when the rivalry actually began and why so much hatred between these two clubs exist. It’s not like anyone else in the AFC East shares the same type of bitterness. Mention Miami vs. New England and fans just want to see Tom Brady broken in half and an errant ball smacking Billycheat in the face. Mention the Bills and you hear the catcalls. Mention the Jets and there are no jokes, no fun punchlines. It gets ugly.
So here we are, year number 2 into the Bill Parcells era and already it seems as though a rivalry has been reborn. It starts as a jab, now, but the real punches land on a Monday night in October in Miami when the two teams face off for real. When smack doesn’t matter and preparation is seen on the field and tattoos mean nothing. Will there be a handshake on the field or friendly stare down for the cameras? Whatever the case may be one thing is for certain. The Dolphins and Jets seasons never start on opening weekend…they can start anytime, anywhere, by anyone. Even a rookie NFL HC and 5th year LB.
Stop by this weekend to see who the biggest rivalry is in the AFC East and vote for your choice as well.