There is no doubting that Rex Ryan intentionally stirred the pot last week before his underdog New York Jets visited Foxboro to take on the mighty (ahem) New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional playoffs. He called the matchup "personal" between Bill Belichick and himself. His players followed suit, at times crossing the line, at least in my opinion. I didn't think it was necessary, but Ryan did.
He was right.
On the first Sunday of December the Jets were humbled by the Pats by a final of 45-3. I figured that was enough motivation, and maybe it was. Now that the Jets have moved on to face Pittsburgh in the AFC title game, I get just about everything Ryan was doing, and why he felt the way he did.
Let's remember that New York beat New England back in September. Let's remember that the Jets are a good young football team. Let's remember that Rex's dad Buddy was not known as the most pleasant coach the NFL has ever seen. When you stop and look at those facts and put them into context with a 42 point drubbing, you realize why it was personal. Ryan clearly felt Belichick piled on in December, and he did all he felt was necessary to make sure his team - and the rest of us - felt the same way.
Well done coach.
I still think it was over the top, and I still feel I wouldn't have done the same thing if given the opportunity. That said, it worked. Quite well too. So kudos to the Jets. They're where they wanted to be.
Now to see if they poke the Steelers with the same stick they used last week.