JETS-PATRIOTS, CHICAGO OLYMPICS

September 20, 2009

The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy sent along his opinion of today’s game “You’re fat.
You’re ugly.
Your mother wears army boots.
And when you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way.
Insults have flown. Manhood has been challenged. Trash has been talked.
Finally, today, there will be football. And the Jets will have to back up the tough talk.
This all started with the rings. You remember the rings. Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans. Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston. Super Bowl XXXIX in
Jacksonville. The Patriots won ’em all and Bill Belichick made himself the coach of the century. Three rings. No circus. Just beating the other guy every week.
My whistle is better than your whistle.
Enter Rex Ryan. Son of Buddy. (Wade Phillips is Son of Bum, but that’s another story.) Rex is a colorful guy, and when he got the job with the Jets he said, “I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings . . . I’m certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else.’’
As a follow-up, Ryan downplayed the impact of his words, adding, “If that’s where you’re going to draw motivation from, we’ll probably kick your
[backside].’’
After the Jets won their opener last week, they started rattling sabres and making threats. They said they were going to treat today’s game like the Super Bowl.
They said they were on a mission to “embarrass’’ the Patriots. They said they were going to get to Tom Brady.
Great fuel for the Border War. As if we needed any.
Today’s game is the 100th (including playoffs) between the ancient AFL rivals. Overall, it’s a symmetrical 49-49-1. How’s that for Rozellian parity?
Patriots fans grow up to hate the Jets the way Red Sox fans hate the Yankees. The loathing took on a new dimension when Bill Parcells bolted for the Jets
after a spat with Bob Kraft. Then came Curtis Martin to the Jets. Then there was Belichick’s stunning resignation as HC of the NYJ – a bizarre moment that
prompted Jets president Steve Gutman to publicly question Belichick’s mental health. The Patriots and Jets wrestled long and hard over the services of Belichick.
The next grenade lobbed was Eric Mangini’s defection to the Jets and Eric the traitor ratting out the Patriots in the 2007 season opener at the Meadowlands.
Spygate cost New England a first-round draft pick and armed legions of Patriot haters with a weapon. Forever. Anyone who wants to diminish New England’s accomplishments can say the Patriots won by cheating (ask Senator Arlen Specter). All because of the Jets. The cheating scandal launched those awkward moments at midfield when Belichick and Mangini would ignore one another while sort of shaking hands.
Now this. The Jets last week won a game with their new coach and their rookie quarterback, and since that day they’ve been acting like chumps. Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins made the Super Bowl analogy. Safety Kerry Rhodes said they would “try to embarrass’’ the Patriots and predicted they’d hit Brady more than six times. Ryan, meanwhile, recorded a pathetic mass voice mail message in which he tried to whip Jets fans into a frenzy.
What kind of a team makes its coach do that? Ryan sounded like a high school tuba player selling candy to raise money for the band’s trip to the Macy’s
Parade.
In the words of Will Ferrell: cirque du so lame.
Historically, the Patriots have responded to these challenges with skill and aplomb. Remember Brady getting in the face of Pittsburgh defensive back Anthony Smith? How’d that work out for the Steelers?
The Jets have given Belichick enough bulletin-board material to wallpaper the visiting locker room at the Meadowlands. He will use this. The Jets have
disrespected him. They have disrespected the Patriots. They have dissed Tom Brady.
This is not the first time Rex Ryan has done Belichick a favor. Late in the almost perfect season of 2007, the (then-11-0) Patriots were poised to lose to the Ravens, but were saved when Baltimore assistant coach Rex Ryan signaled for a timeout just as Brady was stopped on a fourth-down quarterback sneak. The Patriots got a do-over and won the game. Thanks, Rex.
Barring the Jets hosting a playoff game against the Patriots (about as likely as Jack E. Robinson winning the Senate seat), this will be the Patriots’ final game at the Meadowlands. New England has won an astounding eight straight in the Swamp Grid off Exit 16W.
The old Patriots would have stomped on these New York trash-talkers. Today we find out if these Patriots are anything like the championship Patriots.
For the record, Belichick said nobody’s ever kissed his rings. He said they are stored in a box somewhere at home (best kept away from Vladimir Putin).
Wouldn’t it be great if Coach Bill stashed his rings in his hoodie this afternoon and the Patriots won? When the clock ticked down to zero, Belichick could put all three paperweight-sized baubles on his right hand, walk to midfield, and extend his gaudy mitt toward Rex Ryan.
Kiss that, Rex.

 

 

 

Rick Morrissey campaigned for the 2016 Olympic games to be awarded to Chicago in the ChiTrib.                                                                                                                           
“Somewhere in the midst of all the fighting, underneath the rhetorical rubble caused by people with grenade pins sticking out of gritted teeth, is the wonder of the Olympics.We have lost sight of it lately in Chicago, of what it means and, especially, of what those 16 days would be like if the Games came here in 2016.

I don’t want to minimize the issues that have caused battle lines to be drawn. They’re real. They have meaning. We’re more likely to see a corporate fat cat in a Smart Car than a Chicago Olympics free of backroom deals. But I would like to put that aside for at least one day and for at least one column.

It’s true we don’t need the Olympics. We don’t need to show the world who we are. We’re big enough and have been around the block enough times not to
need outside affirmation. We have eyes, and we know what we see. We know who we are.

The beauty of the Olympics would not be in the people from all over the globe seeing us, as if this were some Chamber of Commerce opportunity. It would be in us seeing them. That’s what the Games are about. The world comes to us, bonds with us over this one event and in the process, opens our eyes a little more.
It might even crack open our hearts a bit more.

I’ve been to five Olympics — Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000, Salt Lake City in 2002 and Turin in 2006. In each place, I saw bright,
honored looks on the faces of people who lived there. That comes from realizing you’re part of something immensely bigger than yourself. From understanding that we indeed are all together in this thing called life. From seeing our commonalities rather than our differences. It’s a Candy Land world, perhaps, but better that for a few weeks than the normal diet of violence and despair around the planet.

The Opening Ceremony would be in an 80,000-seat temporary stadium in Washington Park. Picture it on a warm July evening, the skyline to the north, energy everywhere. Trust me, it will tingle your spine and cause a massive outbreak of goose bumps. You will feel connected, even if you’re not inside the stadium.

What’s in it for us? Not much you’ll be able to hold in your hands. There are not going to be long-lasting job opportunities. There will be some structures left over, the way the Museum of Science and Industry building is left over from the 1893 World’s Fair. All these years later, that event remains part of Chicago’s consciousness.

The notion is out there that this whole endeavor is temporary, that the Olympics will be here today, gone tomorrow. An illusion. But memories are real and lasting. I saw Michael Johnson smash the 200-meter world record in Atlanta, and although I don’t consider myself a track-and-field aficionado, seeing him burn around the turn ranks among the most exciting things I’ve witnessed in sports.

I can’t explain why I cared about a swimmer from Equatorial Guinea who struggled to finish a 100-meter freestyle heat and became a heartwarming symbol of the 2000 Games. Maybe because it showed human resolve. Or maybe because his effort lacked any hint of commercialism and cynicism.

There are moments of grace at the Olympics. A friend of mine realized he had left his wallet on a media bus at the 1984 Winter Games in Sarajevo and figured it gone forever. A young woman who cleaned buses as a second job found it and notified authorities, who tracked him down and gave him a note from her. He took a cab to a chocolate factory where she worked and, as he found out, lived. She accepted his reward money only after an armed guard had left the room.
He still wonders if she survived the Bosnian war.

I got into it with a cabbie in Barcelona who couldn’t understand where I wanted to go for a Dream Team practice. Perhaps it was because I was saying
“basketball gym” in Spanish over and over again, rather than the name of the gym. There were, what, 100 gyms in the city? He saw the moment my idiocy
dawned on me. We shook hands after he dropped me off, both of us laughing.

There is such a thing as Olympic spirit. Don’t believe otherwise.

The bid is out of our hands now. Two weeks from Friday, the International Olympic Committee will announce the winner in Copenhagen.

Some of you would rather contract malaria than see an Olympics come to Chicago. You ask yourself: What’s in it for me? A lot, if you’re open to it. But
maybe the question needs to be shifted: What’s in it for everybody?”

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