No matter how hard one tries, it’s hard to bait a pair of cold fish named Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie became the latest to try Tuesday, but all his harsh words toward the New England quarterback got were knowing winks and bland responses from the two people in the world who would take the greatest pleasure in routing Cromartie’s team in Sunday’s AFC semifinal.
Cromartie had called Brady “an ---hole” for his finger-pointing celebrations after touchdown passes, adding “F--- him” to avoid any misinterpretation of his feelings.
Brady answered Wednesday that he’s “been called worse.
“There’s a long list of people that feel that way,” he said.
Not exactly a volatile reaction. But it still rises well above Belichick’s riposte.
“I’m really trying to focus on getting our team ready to play on Sunday,” said Belichick, who relishes his oratorical reputation as a sure-fire cure for insomnia.
Rex Ryan, obviously running a different kind of locker room, said he won’t punish Cromartie, even as he usurped the coach’s role as the NFL’s chief purveyor of bulletin-board fodder. Ryan cited Cromartie’s First Amendment rights.
So the war of words leading into Sunday’s game will remain a one-sided affair, sort of like the Pats’ 45-3 win in their last meeting. Between Rex Ryan making this game a personal grudge match and Cromartie making known his utter distaste for Brady, the Jets have clearly run away with the verbal battle.
As for the physical fight, Cromartie said he’s more concerned about the Patriots’ receivers than Brady, anyway, and that his defense will neutralize the quarterback.
“If I beat the [daylights] out of his receivers, he can’t throw the ball,“ Cromartie said.