New York Jets center Nick Mangold walks off the field...

New York Jets center Nick Mangold walks off the field at practice during training camp at the Atlantic Health Training Facility. (Aug. 18, 2011) Credit: Joe Epstein

As if things aren't already tough enough for the Jets to stomach, given the way their season crashed in spectacular fashion, Nick Mangold can barely believe who's playing in the NFL's big game on Feb. 5.

"It's difficult to see the Giants and Patriots in the Super Bowl," the Jets' All-Pro center told Newsday Thursday from Hawaii as he prepares for Sunday's Pro Bowl.

"I hope that guys take this as the opportunity to see what we want to do and what we want to be. No matter who wins the game, it's going to be a bad outcome for us as players and for the fans."

That's why there's only one result Mangold could bear to see.

"Yeah, I'm rooting for a tie," he said. "I don't know if Roger [Goodell] is going to let that happen. But it would be really great if we just have a tie."

The Jets have been the talk of the league since several teammates accused Santonio Holmes of quitting in the season finale at Miami. The locker room's discord has been documented and dissected, and the finger-pointing at Mark Sanchez by unnamed teammates in a published report two weeks ago sparked outrage within Mangold, who's weary of the constant criticism of Sanchez.

"I think it is unfair for him," Mangold said. "I'm bothered by it because I understand the market that we are in, being in New York, for a quarterback. It's got to be difficult for him."

Mangold is in Hawaii with teammates Darrelle Revis, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Brandon Moore. He said the Jets' Pro Bowl quartet hasn't discussed the craziness that transpired at the end of the season. Nor have they talked about the anonymous bashing of teammates.

That will wait until they return to the mainland, when as many of them as possible can congregate so they can smooth things over in person.

"That's exactly what I would expect," Mangold said. "I think you just get it all out there, grab a beer later and you move on to the challenge at hand. And that's getting a lot better for next year."

Rex Ryan has spoken openly about his failure to have a pulse of the team as he has in years past, but Mangold said policing the locker room is something that shouldn't just be on the coach.

"I think it falls on both of us -- we both as players take blame for it and Rex has taken blame for it," Mangold said. "It can't be all just one-sided. It can't be all players, it can't be all coaches. It has to be a combination, and as you saw from the results, we didn't do very well."

Mangold remains confident that the Jets can be a close-knit bunch once again.

"Definitely. We are all looking at it as a learning experience," he said.

"We haven't had that kind of adversity in a couple of years. I think it will in the end be a good thing for us, but it's not a fun thing to go through. I think that we'll continue to keep working, we'll continue to get better and I think take it for what it is -- a down year."

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