Friday, January 14, 2011
Updated: January 15, 6:52 PM ET
Rex Ryan: Sunday a historic matchup
By Ohm Youngmisuk
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It's a lot more than just personal. In fact, only Broadway Joe's historic upset might be more important.
The latest installment of the border war between the New York Jets and New England Patriots will not only be the biggest in one of the NFL's most heated rivalries but Rex Ryan says it will eclipse all other games in Jets' franchise history except for Joe Namath's greatest conquest.
"This one will probably be the second-biggest game in the history of this franchise," Ryan said on Friday. "Obviously Super Bowl III being the most [important]. Even more so than last year's Indianapolis game [in the AFC championship], I think this one is huge because you got your rival, a team that has won three Super Bowls, right there in your own division, at their place, coming off the huge embarrassing loss that we had that Monday night game.
"I think this is, without question, the second-biggest game in the history of the franchise."
Ryan also said the Jets "are going to win" a game he ranks only behind the Jets' 16-7 win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
"We earned this right to come back here and play against the New England Patriots," Ryan said when asked what his message to the Jets was this week. "We have plenty of respect for them but we don't fear 'em. I can promise you that. We do not fear 'em. We respect them and we are going to win the game.
"That is our message every week. The stakes are as high as you can stack 'em. We know we have to go out and take it and that is what we plan on doing."
Last season, the Jets came within a game of reaching the Super Bowl when they lost 30-17 in Indianapolis in the AFC title game but he already has this divisional round game ahead of that loss.
Ryan also guaranteed the Jets will "show up" this time around in New England after they were humiliated 45-3 the last time they faced the Patriots in December.
Ryan pretty much was his usual self, open and engaging, except when asked about Wes Welker.
The Patriots' shifty receiver curiously mentioned the words "foot, feet, toe and toes" a total of 10 times in his session with the media on Thursday. Ryan was embroiled in controversy last month concerning foot-fetish videos and pictures of a woman who resembled his wife that surfaced on the internet.
"I think with Wes Welker, this is a huge rivalry-type game and anything goes and I can take it," Ryan said. "I'm not going to discuss it but I can take it."
When asked if it was "over the line," Ryan replied, "Not getting into that. Anything, everything goes this week. And that is the way it is."
There certainly has been no shortage of rhetoric this week pertaining to this rivalry from the Jets' side. Ryan said this week's game will come down to coaching and that it is "personal" between him and Bill Belichick.
And then there was Antonio Cromartie's declaration of his feelings for Tom Brady when he used profanity to describe the Patriots quarterback.
The bottom line, after all the talk and quotes, will be what the Jets do on Sunday and how they will play after being completely outclassed the last time they faced the Patriots on Dec. 6 in New England.
Practicing outdoors on Friday in the cold, the Jets stretched while Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight" blared on speakers.
Ryan and the Jets are ready to get the second biggest game in franchise history started and they hope to make Broadway Joe proud.
"We are are going to show up," said Ryan, whose Jets beat the Patriots, 28-14, in the second week of the season. "I guarantee that. And for anybody who thinks it is going to be the same exact outcome as it was last time, I don't believe that is true. I don't believe that is a fact."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.