Too Much Respect? Lack Of Trash Talk Dooms Jets

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Maybe Rex Ryan should have made this one personal, too. Too much respect can sometimes be a dangerous thing.

The New York Jets didn’t call anybody out all week in an unusually subdued prelude to the AFC championship game. By the time Ryan called the world out afterward, his players were already packing up for the trip home.

A coincidence, perhaps. But a team that thrived on turmoil and trash talk all season didn’t seem to know how to act against the one opponent who got their respect.

“People want to criticize us, then you go ahead,” Ryan said. “But you really got no right.”

LISTEN: Boomer & Carton – What went wrong for Rex, Jets?

Oh, really? No right to expect one of the league’s most vaunted defenses to actually tackle someone? No right to expect that with the Jets’ first berth in the Super Bowl in 42 years on the line the team might show up ready to play?

Forget the second-half comeback that made this one interesting in the end. The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading to their third Super Bowl in six years because the Jets simply weren’t ready to play when they needed it the most.

When the Steelers made a final first down to seal their 24-19 win Sunday, all Ryan could do was slam down his headset and mouth a word mothers around the country probably wished they hadn’t let their sons stay up late to see. The frustration of a great playoff run falling just short had to be amplified by Ryan’s knowledge that if his team had played half as well in the first half as it did in the second, the Jets would be heading for Dallas instead of the Steelers.

But Super Bowl teams don’t get outrushed 135-1 in one half of football. Super Bowl teams don’t fall behind 24-0 before suddenly remembering what brought them to the AFC championship game to begin with.

The only trash talking by then came from Jets fans as they watched the season slip away.

“We played a good half, we just never played a good game,” Ryan said. “Obviously, there’s a huge amount of disappointment for us.”

That’s especially true for Ryan, who has now been on the losing side in the last three AFC title games, the last two of them as head coach of the Jets. All year long he’s talked about how good his team is and how he expected them to be in the Super Bowl and, after winning on the road against both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, he was picking up a lot of believers along the way.

But against a team that can show off Super Bowl rings instead of just talk about them, it all came crashing down. The Jets made mistake after mistake, beginning with Ryan’s decision to defer after winning the coin flip, a move that backfired when Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers on a 15-play drive that chewed up more than nine minutes on the clock.

LISTEN: Rex Ryan sounds off during post game presser

It was 27 minutes in real time from the opening kickoff until Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez touched the ball. He stood shivering on the sidelines, then was even colder once he got on the field.

Give Sanchez credit for turning things around in the second half, but the Jets had dug themselves such a hold that Joe Namath in his prime wouldn’t have been able to bring them back all the way.

“It just wasn’t there in the first half,” Sanchez said. “You can’t play 30 minutes in a game of this magnitude.”

The team that became so much fun to root for after HBO’s “Hard Knocks” introduced Ryan and his band of pranksters to the country seemed out of character all week. Ryan himself made no grand proclamations, and the players kept talking about how much they respected the Steelers when they could have been making fun of Troy Polamalu’s hair or talking about Roethlisberger’s four-game suspension for his encounter with a college student in a Georgia bar.

Maybe they were worn out after taking aim at Manning, then making it personal against the Patriots and Bill Belichick. Maybe it’s asking too much of any team to win against perhaps the best three quarterbacks in the league in their home stadiums.

“There’s probably no tougher three games than any team in the league would have to face,” Ryan said.

But the Jets would have won this one had they had any kind of a spark in the first half. They dominated the second half and, if not for a goal line stand by the Steelers, might have had a chance to pull this one out late or in overtime.

Whatever Ryan said in the locker room at halftime was surely his best talk of the week. The Jets responded to their leader, like they seem to do every time he opens his mouth.

Unfortunately, his talk came one miserable half too late.

Did this week’s lack of trash talk hurt the Jets? Sound off in the comments below…


Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

pixy Too Much Respect? Lack Of Trash Talk Dooms Jets
  • Big Blue

    Evan and Joe stop talking about how bad he Pats fans and Steelers fans are when you take your life into you own hands at a Jet game if you are rooting against them. Have you ever noticed what your own stadium is like????????????

  • Big Blue

    I’m from New York so I feel bad about rooting against the Jets especially when my wife is a Jets fan. But ever since Rex came to town I just plain hate them. Show some class and you would have more people pulling for you. You can’t tell me all year long that it’s Superbowl or bust and you are the best team then say wait till next year again. Sorry Rex but you boldness is wearing thin.

  • RobDebo

    I am curious. Does the NFL have to send someone over to Florham Park to pick up the lombardi trophy that the Jets and their fans have ACTED like they have won for 2 years’ so it can be presented to either the Pack or Steelers when they win the Super Bowl thats played, not the one thats TALKED about? Or does Wrecks keep it because the bluster about we are the best team , soone to be champs, et al….in 2011 should start again real soon.

  • get-serious

    Trash talk – k. Same old Jets. Going after the Rangers record for longest span of time between championship runs.

  • get-serious

    Trash talk – no trash talk. Same old Jets. Going after the Rangers record for longest span of time between championship runs.

  • Ellen

    Love to see whats going to happen next season. Bet the trash talk picks up big time.

  • FinFan

    Talkinnow’s comments are on the money! As is Thomas’!! Good luck playing the Pats next year… and for that matter the Colts as well!!

  • jdjetsfan

    This one is on Rex Ryan. He didn’t get his guys ready to play. Why? They played the whole season on edge, from the moment the cameras started filming hard knocks, the Jets players were never allowed to take a breath, until the first half of this game. That’s when they took their breath. Football seasons are best when they build in intensity. This one was intense right from the start, and the Jets just ran out of steam. And oh yeah, the problem with signing LT, is that it makes it hard to sit him in the second half of playoff games, just like the Jets did against the Chargers last year. Shonn Greene has to run the ball three times at the goal line.

  • kpgill

    Jets spent too much energy and emotion playing New England. They are now the Eagles of the AFC!!!!

  • Thomas molner

    Just thank god that a prevent defense made it look respectable Jets fans. Welcome to the varsity level of football. The Pats have 7 draft picks in the first 4 rounds in this years draft, thanks for playing. Bye.

  • talkinnow

    If a team needs trash talk to win a game than they dont deserve to win in the first place. Why should you need to bad mouth another player or coach or organization to get yourself in a mindset to win a game? If you feel that strongly about someone or something than you shouldnt have to talk, you should just be able to go out there and do it. Talking in the locker room before the game or before kickoff or even on the field during the game is one thing. Having to think of a new line every morning when you wake up to keep your team inspired to win? Something is wrong when that is happening. Hope you guys can patch a team together to do something next year because i can guarantee you the Patriots now have a fire under them to lay you guys down. See you then

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