3) TWO SUPER BOWL-WINNING QBs DOWN, ONE TO GO
The Jets have exorcised two of their biggest demons in the playoffs: Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Next up? Ben Roethlisberger (above).
Rex Ryan has the Jets at their highest point during his two-year tenure. His team is overdue for a trip to the Super Bowl after losing its past three AFC Championship games (against the Dolphins in 1982, the Broncos in 1998, and the Colts last year). But with Manning and Brady already in the rear-view those two obstacles out of their way, they have to feel like it’s their year. Ryan will have his team believing these are not the "Same Old Jets." Credit: AP
Back in the day, Jets inside linebacker Bart Scott wore the colors of the Baltimore Ravens, which made him a mortal enemy of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The mind reels at the thought of how fiercely Scott must have played against Big Ben and the Steelers in their bitter AFC North rivalry.
But after the Jets defeated New England and beat on quarterback Tom Brady a little bit, Scott went out of his way to slam Brady as being no comparison to Roethlisberger in terms of his toughness. He said Brady looked to avoid hits, adding, "I give Roethlisberger a lot of credit. He's man enough to stand there in the [pocket] and look down the barrel of the gun."
Roethlisberger couldn't suppress a smile when asked about his relationship with Scott and his reaction to that quote during his news conference today. "You know, it's a compliment when other defenses or players talk highly of you," Roethlisberger began. "I know Bart from many a time in Baltimore and some fierce rivalries we've had.
"He's delivered one of the hardest hits on me that I've ever felt. So, that's why I take what Bart Scott says with a grain of salt."
Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who expressed his dislike for Brady in vulgar terms, also had nice things to say about Roethlisberger, going so far as to say he "loves" Big Ben. "Well, I love him, too,' Roethlisberger said.
"I have a lot of respect for those guys, every single one of them on defense because they're so good. I could sit here and talk good about them all day, but all I have to say is they went to Indy and to New England and beat the two best quarterbacks in the game. Enough said, in my opinion."
Clearly, the Steelers have no intention of getting into any verbal battles before the AFC championship game Sunday at Heinz Field. But that doesn't mean they weren't looking forward to seeing what the Jets might say.
The relative quiet coming from Florham Park, N.J. has been a bit of a letdown in Pittsburgh. "It's a little surprising," linebacker James Farrior said of the lack of trash talk. "They've been doing it all year, and the last couple weeks in the playoffs, they've been doing it. I was kind of expecting something from those guys, but they haven't really given us anything. So, I'm a little disappointed.
"It's always funny to hear those guys talk, but if you really look at it, those guys do a good job of backing it up. They talk a lot of stuff, and I think it's a lot of smoke and mirrors. If you fall into the stuff they're saying, you'll get beat."
So, if the Jets reach a point where they can't hold back, will the Steelers return fire? "No, we really don't fire back at people," said Farrior, an ex-Jet himself. "We go about our business."
Well, there you go.