Guest Pats Columnist
The Patriots win Super Bowls. The Jets do not. In our continuing series, we have asked for articles dissecting why, exactly, this is, and what it will take for the Jets to overtake the Pats in the AFC. This week’s contributor is RichardSeymour, who breaks down the coaches, the fronts offices, and the quarterbacks…
Why do the Patriots win?
Why do the Jets lose?
Where do I begin?â€¦.
The Jets are a good team. They made the playoffs three times in four years. You could do worse, but really though, who cares? Good is just another way of saying â€œnot greatâ€?. Good is a four letter word. Good means you came up short. Good means you didn’t get the job done. Good is an excuse in a game that brooks no excuses.
The Patriots are great. They won the Super Bowl three times in four years. It would be hard to do better, but they’re upset that they didn’t. Great means that the Patriots imposed their will on other teams. Great is going 18-1 over two years against winning teams. Great is getting the job done, week in and week out. Great is keeping your jaw shut and knocking the other guy’s jaw off.
Why are the Patriots great? Why are the Jets good?
Because our head coach has two game plans in the Hall of Fame. Because heâ€™s the best Xâ€™s and Oâ€™s guy in the league. Because heâ€™ll find the weakness in the unstoppable offense. He’ll find the hole in the unshakable defense. Every time. Because every one of his players goes into every game knowing that they have the better game plan, and that if they execute it, theyâ€™ll win. Because under pressure our coach is steel-jawed and cold-eyed, and if you make the slightest mistake against him, he will violate you mercilessly.
This is a coach that will give his players the chance to hold the Colts to three points. He’ll find a scheme that flusters Peyton Manning into throwing four picks. He’ll stop Bettis cold, he’ll embarass Donovan McNabb, he’ll stop Pro-Bowl wide receivers with an undrafted rookie and a greybeard wideout. He does this because he’s great. He does this because he has nerves of steel, because he is never, ever concerned with what anyone else things. He’ll go for it on fourth down. He’ll take an intentional safety in the fourth quarter while his team is losing on the road with only a few minutes left in the game, and then use the seconds he saved and come back to win it.
He’s ours, because you let him slip through your fingers.
Your head coach is a nice guy. Heâ€™s a good coach, but heâ€™ll never be confused for a great coach. When crunch time rolls around he does his best Rain Man impersonation, â€œTwo minutes to Judge Wapnerâ€¦ definitelyâ€¦ definitelyâ€¦. No, no time outâ€¦ definitely no time outâ€¦ â€¦ â€¦ uh ohâ€¦â€? Because of this, you guys get to talk about how good you were, how close you were. Close is for losers.
Why do the Patriots win?
Because our front office drafts Richard Seymour when everyone is screaming for David Terrell. Because we trade the overhyped Tebucky Jones for draft picks that become Corey Dillon, Dexter Reid, and Tully Banta-Cain–and then use the extra cap room to sign Rodney Harrison. Because instead of trading the mortgage for a raw defensive tackle in the draft, we save those four picks it cost Terry Bradway, and we draft four Super Bowl starters, in the process saving millions of dollars against the cap. Because weâ€™re never afraid to cut a player like Troy Brown or Ty Law a year too early, rather than a year too late.
Your front office is run by a pool-boy masquerading as an NFL GM who waited too long to cut bait on some bad contracts, signed Curtis Martin to a heinous extension that cost you any chance of keeping LaMont Jordan, and who consistently overpays for mediocrity. He trades half his draft for the privelege of paying an unproven DT prospect $54 million dollars.
Why do the Patriots win?
Our quarterback has started 71 consecutive games. Heâ€™s the hardest worker on the team, a guy who even now takes nothing for granted. Heâ€™s hungry, heâ€™s smart, and heâ€™s the best pressure player of this generation. So far, he isnâ€™t on track to be as good as Joe Montana, heâ€™s on track to be better than Joe Montana. Sounds like hyperbole? Check out the evidence:
Joe Montana through 27 years old
11979 yards, 63.5% completion percentage, 78 TDs, 44 INTs
Postseason record: 4-1
Super Bowl wins: One
Tom Brady through 27 years old:
13925 yards, 61.6% completion percentage, 97 TDs vs. 52 INTs
Postseason record: 9-0,
Super Bowl wins: Three
Your quarterback is a nice guy. Heâ€™s good. Heâ€™s also got a glass jaw and less arm strength than Tom Bradyâ€™s girlfriend. He was great for a year. So was Brian Sipe. Neil Lomax. Don Majkowski. Stan Humphries. Doug Williams. The list goes on. Since then, Pennington’s been inconsistent, even in those increasingly rare stretches when he can stay on the field. He has accounted for fewer combined rushing and passing yards over the last two season than Daunte Culpepper produced last year alone.
Why do the Patriots win? Why do the Jets lose?
The Patriots win because Tom Brady still burns from being a sixth-round draft choice. Because he hasnâ€™t forgotten being fourth on the depth chart. Because Bill Belichick still remembers being laughed out of Cleveland and spending decades in Bill Parcellsâ€™ considerable shadow. Because Corey Dillon lost so many games that he couldnâ€™t take it anymore. Because Rodney Harrison remembers how he was dropped by a pathetic Chargers team without even a token effort at a restructure. Because from the top, all the way down, the organization is hungry, and has created a culture that is consumed with being the best. Not with being good. With being great.
The Jets lose because, outside of the Kevin Mawae’s and Pete Kendall’s of the team, they are satisfied with being good. There is no sense of urgency or desperation within the Jets franchise. The coach splits his time between the NFL and the BBQ. The star defensive end is content to watch playoff games from the sidelines. The quarterback says the right things, and looks great most of the timeâ€¦ but the sparkâ€™s not there. When that clutch drive is needed he might come through for you. When the offense needs to put up 30 to win a shootout he could do it.
But don’t hold your breath. For every good pressure game, there’s a bad one. For every embarassment of the Colts there’s an embarassment against the Raiders. For every win against the Pats there’s a brutal five-interception clunker where he single-hanedly torpedoes his own team. Like most good quarterbacks, he can be great, but never with any consistancy or reliability.
A great QB comes through for his team more often than not. He has every guy on that sideline truly believing that when their team is down six, they have their opponent right where they want them.
There’s a scene from the Superbowl 38 DVD where the Panthers have seized a lead and there’s jubilation on the sidelines, and two of the Panthers players slap hands.
In that moment of jubilation, without a smile or a trace of false caution, one of them says to the other, “It’s not over, not with that quarterback.”
That’s what a great quarterback does. That’s what a great coach does. That’s what a great team does. Greatness puts the fear of god into the opposing team. Greatness is always just a moment away from seizing control of the game and imposing its will on the other team. Greatness is no excuses, no bragging, no frills. No quarter asked, no quarter given.
A great team can rip its opponents heart out, and will, almost every time. A good team can rip its fans heart out, and will almost every time.
As a Pats fan I have the privilege to root for a great team.
As a Jets fan you root for a good team.
Sooner or later youâ€™ll realize how much of a problem that really is.