Byline: Bill Doyle
COLUMN: TUNING IN
Do you think Jets coach Rex Ryan believes Tom Brady's planned foot surgery is merely another attempt by the Patriots to embarrass him?
First Wes Welker poked fun at the reported foot fetish of Ryan's wife by making 11 foot references during a press conference. Then the Jets gave the Patriots the boot, upsetting them, 28-21, Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
By shocking the Colts and Patriots, the Jets have become the most talked about NFL team. They're such a hot property that HBO has decided to replay all five episodes of its popular series from last summer, "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets," tomorrow. Each hour-long show will air consecutively beginning at 3 p.m. "Hard Knocks" made Ryan a TV star and he treated every press conference this season as if he were auditioning to replace William Shatner on the CBS sitcom "$#*! My Dad Says." Jets fans loved it, opposing fans hated it, but no one can say that he's not entertaining.
"None of us expect a head football coach to do and say the things he does," CBS analyst Phil Simms said.
No one expected Ryan and the Jets to beat the Colts and the Patriots on the road and return to their second consecutive AFC championship game either. Truth be told, Jim Nantz, who will call the Jets at Pittsburgh in the AFC title game at 6:30 p.m. Sunday alongside Simms, is surprised by the Steelers as well.
"We had a number of Pittsburgh games," Nantz said, "and I never looked at them like they'd be the best in the AFC."
People around here agree with that. They considered the Patriots to be the best. A 14-2 regular-season record that included wins over the Jets and Steelers will do that.
On Dec. 19, Nantz and Simms called New York's 22-19 regular-season victory in Pittsburgh, when the Steelers drove to the 10-yard line only to have Ben Roethlisberger throw incomplete passes on the game's last two plays.
Simms marvels at Roethlisberger's size and ability to withstand sacks. The Steelers' QB is listed as 240 pounds, but Simms weighs that much and believes the 6-foot-5 Roethlisberger must be closer to 300.
"Just his ability to stand there and never flinch when he is about to get hit," Simms said. "Quarterbacks don't do that anymore in the NFL. It's all about not getting hit, get rid of the football quickly. Ben Roethlisberger is the exact opposite. He gets hit. He takes his time, holds it forever to make plays. That's what separates him from just about everybody else in...