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Friday, September 12, 2008

TGIF Daily "Linkin' Logs" (9/12/08)

"NFL rivalries come and go. Today, none is more heated than Patriots-Jets. Why? Two men: Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini"

If that isn't one of the more ridiculous things you've read in a while, then you're either a jaded AFC East fan or a total newbie to the NFL. Rivalries aren't simply born out of competitive banter, like that of Belichick spurning the Jets or Mangini spurning New England (for the Jets) or even things like Spygate. They need competition. The Colts and Patriots have become a rivalry of some proportion (I'd compare it to the rivalries of the mid-90s between the Cowboys, 49ers and Packers) because of not just some type of anomosity (though mostly press-driven) but also because every friggin' game was competitive and meant a whole lot (namely either home field/playoff seeding and/or a playoff game itself).

Since the Belichick era in New England exactly 4 of the 17 games (1 playoff game) have been settle by 6 points or less (with the best being a 1 point loss in 2000, when Drew Bledsoe was the New England QB) and more than half have been total spankings (10 points or more). Hardly a rivalry and while the heated exchange after Bill Parcells's departure in 1996 resulted in some animosity the Patriots were such a lowly team (even with a Super Bowl Birth) that no one really cared (Tuna Bowl was merely a ESPN Invention to drive ratings). Even after the Belichick spurned year in 2000, the two teams (one a playoff regular, the other a fortunate AFC Champion just once in its post-merger history) simply were not that entertaining. Boston was a baseball town and New York had...well...The Subway Series and the Giants (eventual NFC Champions in 2000).

All inter-division matchups are rivals, even more so when the two teams are competitive, but the posterchild for this is the NFC East and its been proven game in and game out to result in not only close matchups, but excellent football. So until both teams decide to be competitive or the Jets can beat the Pats (They've beaten the Patriots just twice since 2002), then don't call it a rivalry.
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