Ahead of Sunday's AFC and NFC Championship games, Shutdown Corner takes a broader look at the teams involved, and evaluates reasons to root for or against each. First, the New York Jets. Please feel free to add your own reasons for love and/or hate in the comments.
Love the Jets:
• The underdog factor. The Jets are the only team left that wasn't a season-long powerhouse. They're playing with a rookie quarterback, they barely qualified for the postseason, and they had a stretch where they lost six of seven games. In these playoffs, they are unquestionably a David among three Goliaths.
• Head coach Rex Ryan is a character unlike any other. He's loud, abrasive, emotional and isn't afraid to pop off about anything. I don't know that I've ever seen a coach infuse that much confidence into a team. He cares about his guys, he believes in them and he'll cry. He'll cry his eyes out. The league is a way better place with Rex Ryan as a head coach.
• Darrelle Revis(notes). In my opinion, Revis was deserving of the Defensive Player of the Year Award, and possibly even the MVP. His emergence as one of the league's best players has been one of the season's best storylines.
Hate the Jets:
• The fans pictured above.
• It's hard to get behind the classic New York arrogance that accompanies any New York sports success. It gets to the point where it almost cancels out the underdog factor. "Hey, we're from New York, and your food sucks, Indianapolis! Our celebrity fans are better than yours! Ray Romano, baby! Your whole city sucks, your skyscrapers are short, our museums are better than yours and you probably go cow-tipping!" Ugh. Choke on it.
• The deification of Mark Sanchez(notes) is a bit much. I've got absolutely nothing against Sanchez; in fact, he seems like a really good guy and could develop into a fine quarterback. But let's be honest here. He doesn't rank near the top of the list of the reasons the Jets are where they are. Ryan, Revis, the defensive front, Thomas Jones(notes), Shonn Greene(notes), the offensive line ... all are bigger factors to the Jets' success than Sanchez, yet he's the one bombarded with the credit.
- Rex Ryan