Leading up to their Sunday evening playoff game, the Jets and Patriots did everything but talk about each other's mamas. There was legitimate intense dislike between the teams, and while the NFL might not have liked it (or at least, it went through the motions of pretending it didn't like it), it's hard to deny that it added a little bit of interest for the fans.
The Jets and Steelers have been unwilling to give a repeat performance. They seem to kind of like each other. It should still be a great football game, but the week of hype leading up to it has been sort of ... blah.
Bless their hearts, they tried Thursday. You can tell that they're not really committed to the idea, though.
Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor(notes) told the New York Post that he wouldn't hesitate to lay a hurting on his pal Santonio Holmes if he got the chance.
"I love him and that’s my boy, but when we get between those white lines, it’s a whole different deal. [...]
"I'm going to try to be as disrespectful as possible once we get between those white lines. [...] Friendship doesn’t enter into it then. [...]
"I'm not going to hesitate to lay him out," Taylor said. "No question at all. You know why? Because he ain't going to hesitate to crack on me if he gets a chance."
That's about as good as it's gotten this week. "We're dear friends, but I'm still going to play physical football."
Elsewhere, Hines Ward said that Darrelle Revis "could be beaten" but also acknowledged that he was great. Holmes said that if he wins the Super Bowl, it would be a slap in the face to the Steelers, but he's not focusing on it right now. He also said that Troy Polamalu is the greatest player he's ever seen.
I wonder, though, if all the mutual respect isn't a little counterproductive for the Jets. They were clearly filled with rage against the Patriots, and it helped them play their best game of the season. I can't help but think it would be a little more beneficial if they had some real, visceral hatred for the Steelers.
Oh well. I guess we'll just have to settle for an intense, physical, evenly matched football game.