Shutdown Corner - NFL

When Rex Ryan was hired by the New York Jets and finally had a spotlight all to himself, I didn't even consider the possibility that he might be as crazy as his father, Buddy. Perhaps I was hasty in that. Rex Ryan is showing the potential for some real craziness here, and his players are responding.

He's had this ongoing back-and-forth with Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder(notes) (pictured to the right, in happier times with his friend Snowflake). It started innocently enough, with Ryan declaring that he wasn't intimidated by any of the competition in the AFC East. Here's the quote:

"I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick's rings," Ryan said in an interview on WFAN. "I came here to win, let's put it that way.... I'm certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else."

Nothing to do with Crowder, right? Ah, but you forget that Crowder's been hanging out with Joey Porter(notes), and thus, his ability to take offense at anything is extremely heightened. Here was Crowder's response (to something that had very little to do with him):

"Oh he's going crazy. He's going absolutely nuts," Crowder said. "I know it's his first chance to be a head coach, and I know he's excited about life. But I've never played a football game in June in my life. So congratulations to him. He's the OTA Super Bowl winner."

Very nice. Poke fun of him as a rookie head coach, and congratulate him as the "OTA Super Bowl winner." Tremendous technique. He really has been learning from Joey Porter. Ryan shot back, though.

"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. If I was younger, I’d probably handle him myself."

Ooooh. The old "I don't even know who you are" bit. It can be effective when used properly, but when you're the head coach, and he's a starting linebacker for a division rival, you sort of insult yourself when you say you haven't heard of him. The advantage shifts back to Crowder. And today, Crowder went to hammer home the victory (via the Miami Herald).

"Oh, Lord have mercy," Crowder said Tuesday. "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?"

And the jab scores.

"He says he'd take care of me if he was younger?" Crowder said. "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."

Body blow! Body blow! Knock him out!

The Jets "didn't even win the division and now they're all talking about how [the AFC East] goes through New England,'' Crowder said Tuesday. "That's what gets me bothered. I don't care about the other stuff, but don't say the division goes through New England.

"It goes through Miami."

Hopefully, that won't be the end of it, and these two will keep the back-and-forth going until someone actually gets punched in the face.

But I doubt that will happen. Eventually, both of them will wake up and realize that while their public urination match escalates, the Patriots are quietly going about the business of actually getting ready, and will probably steamroll both of them.

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