FLORHAM PARK, NJ - There is a real and active rivalry involving the Jets and the Giants, just not between the players. Sure, this game has a little more to it for the players than other non-division games but the players really don't care about any perceived rivalry.
The "rivalry" between the actual players and coaching staff is a media creation that is brought up once every four years. The media does this, like they do everything, to drum up the hype and get web clicks and the fans buy into it every single time. Sometimes the media even gets players to buy into it.
"Yeah, I mean it definitely makes for an interesting game," Brandon Marshall said. "(But) you know, I got my history lesson today, I thought it was a rivalry but it's not I guess. I thought it would be, but it's just another game and we got to go out there and just play our ball. If we play our ball I think we'll be in good position."
Of course earlier in the week Marshall said it was a rivalry game but you can't blame him because he just assumed it was in large part because of what he's heard in the media. That's where the history lesson came into play.
"Yeah, because I made a comment yesterday saying that it might be a rivalry because of all the things you (the media) said, but from the guys that's from this area, Coach Bowles and Mo (Muhammad Wilkerson) those guys were like 'man it's just another game,'" Marshall said. "That's all it is."
Players on both sides will tell you "it's just another game" and they're not being disingenuous in fact they are just being practical. Sure bragging rights and yada yada yada, but not only are these two teams in different divisions but they are in different conferences, which means basic math tells you this game actual means less to each team than division and conference games. Playoff tiebreakers are determined by head-to-head matchups then division or conference records, nowhere does a team's record against cross-town rivals come into play.
Nick Mangold said the matchup against the Giants is just "the next step in our season" and when he was pressed further on the "rivalry" due to the fact that they live in the same areas and personally know players on the Giants, a common misconception used to pretend this is a rivalry, Mangold shot that down in classic Mangold fashion.
"Surprisingly I know a bunch of guys on other teams too," Mangold joked. "So, I don't think it really changes it. It's just another game that we're trying to win."
They play, in the regular season, once every four years, how is that supposed to be a rivalry that matches up to teams they play twice every year? Marshall thought playing in the same state and sharing a stadium made this a rivalry but his teammates who have been here for this were quick to correct him.
What really matters for both these teams is winning another game and trying to get into the playoffs. That the game comes at such a ciritical part of the season for both teams certainly adds to the intensity but the fact that these teams need this win to improve their playoff chances is far more important than some made up battle for the City.
"I don't care, every game is big to me," Marshall said. "I approach every game the same, if I lose I cry if I win I'm happy."
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)