Never a dull moment around the New York Jets. A few takeaways on Thursday's firestorm involving Rex Ryan, Mike Pettine, Bill Belichick and Nick Saban:
If Belichick received a copy of the Jets' defensive playbook from Saban (personally, I don't think he did), it wouldn't have helped that much, if at all. As ESPN Boston colleague Mike Reiss discovered, it's easy to access a team's playbook via the Internet. Check out footballxos.com. The website has an 80-page copy of the Jets' 2010 defensive playbook, along with playbooks from several other teams, including the New England Patriots. Even though Belichick likes to mock himself for not being tech savvy, I'm pretty sure he knows how to execute a Google search. I agree with Ryan: It's "ridiculous" to suggest that possession of the playbook would've given the Patriots an edge over the Jets. You want to know the Patriots' edge? They have Tom Brady and the Jets don't. Period.
I don't understand why Pettine chose to go public with this, saying Ryan gives out playbooks "like candy." I'm curious to hear Pettine's take, but he's on vacation and hasn't commented. As of now, this smacks of disloyalty. Has Pettine forgotten that he got his start in the NFL from Ryan, who pulled him out of the Baltimore Ravens' film room and gave him a chance to help with the defense? They decided to split up after the 2012 season, and Pettine evidently harbors bitterness. His comments cast Ryan in a poor light, making him look like a fool for giving away secrets -- and that isn't the case at all. Ryan was upset and hurt that Pettine said what he said. This wasn't quite Eric Mangini ratting out Belichick in SpyGate, but it's along those lines. The craziest part? It put Ryan in a position in which he actually defended his nemesis, Belichick, and criticized his (former) best friend.
This story has been overblown in terms of the impact it may or may not have on the field, but it's also naive to suggest it's not a story at all. Of course it is. It involves the Jets and the Patriots, once busted for illegal spying. It's absolutely newsworthy. What's better than skullduggery between two bitter rivals?