The Giants are poised to win the NFC East for the first time since 2008 and the Jets must win on Sunday in Miami coupled with losses by Denver, Oakland and Tennessee in order to make the playoffs. In the build-up to the game, arguably the biggest meeting between two teams that meet only once every four years, the two teams who share the same city and stadium showed a particular disdain for each other.
But the jawing didn't just stop after the game, when teams usually offer some sensible soundbites of respect for their opponents. After Mark Sanchez threw an interception with 51 seconds in the fourth quarter, essentially icing the game, Giants running back Brandon Jacobs ran onto the field, mocking an airplane — yet another player taking a shot at the Jets' "Fly Boys" celebration.
Then, cameras caught Jacobs after the game calling Jets head coach Rex Ryan a "loudmouth bastard." Other remarks about Ryan's frame followed, and Jacobs was heard to say that he went after Ryan "the way his pops went after [Kevin] Gilbride," referring to the infamous sideline spat between Gilbride and Buddy Ryan when both men coached for the Houston Oilers. Of course, Gilbride is the Giants' current offensive coordinator.
Per the New York Daily News, Jacobs said that he told Ryan to "shut the [bleep] up," and Ryan then told Jacobs to "Go [bleep] yourself."
"Rex Ryan is a disrespectful bastard," Jacobs apparently said. "The Jets have a big-mouthed, big-bellied coach that talks too much."
Surprisingly, Ryan took the high road in his response.
"We had a private conversation, that's all I'll leave it as. Whatever. He doesn't like me, I respect him, but I could care less about him," Ryan said.
He had it coming to him, even as "loudmouth" and Ryan's name always seem to be linked together in the headlines, but the Jets' head coach was especially chippy this past week in talking about a Giants team that has been the toast of the city's football fans for the past four decades.
Midweek, Ryan said he was sizing up this game as a way to establish dominance of New York City, where the Jets have always been second fiddle in both attention and clout to their NFC opponents.
"I mean, this is going to be a great game. And quite honestly, I never came here to be little brother to anybody, so it's on. We have to go out and prove it. You don't play each other for four years, so there's some bragging rights and all that. There's some more important things that go into it, because basically, you're out of the playoffs if you lose this game, either team is," Ryan said. "So, we know what's at stake, but is there bragging rights and all that? Yeah, absolutely. We want to be the best team in New York, but we want to be the best team in NFL, and it starts with being the best team in New York. It's going to start with how we play on Saturday."
Ryan's team failed to show-up, with a jarring 10 penalties for 95 yards along with five sacks of Sanchez ruining their chances at winning the game. Now with their playoff destiny out of their hands, the Jets are left to play out the string and hopefully sneak into the playoffs. From the podium of MetLife Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Ryan struck a much different chord, even admitting that the Giants were "the best team in New York."
It was the first time all week that Ryan appeared at a loss for words.
"Got to give the Giants all the credit. They played a great game. No doubt about it," Ryan said. "They definitely deserve all the credit. They were definitely the better team today, the better team this year. Clearly I was wrong. I will take the responsibility. It's on my shoulders, [and] it should be."
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer
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