There is little love lost between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots. Jets fans and Patriots fans have only helped to fuel the flames of an already burning fire. Once the videotaping scandal unfolded in the belly of Giants Stadium last year at this time, the press - and even some players - took their shots at the Patriots. Cheaters, Cheatriots, and Beli-cheat, were just some of the names fans and New York media used.
The Patriots paid for their inappropriate use of video cameras by forfeiting their first round pick, Paying $250,000 and the head coach paying $500,000. Yet that wasn't enough. Talking heads on the four-letter network called for Belichick's suspension, some called for his resignation.
Talking heads get paid to stir the pot, that's why they're talking heads and not journalists. Players on the other hand, are paid to play football, and -- if you've been around Eric Mangini or Bill Belichick enough - not to run their mouths.
New England went on to win every regular season game last year, and improved to 18-0 to become the first team in NFL History to win 18 games with no losses in a single season. Though they broke records and wiped out lesser opponents without mercy, the Patriots couldn't escape the Spygate scandal.
Sunday was a return to the place that saw it all start: The place Belchick rose to fame as a defensive coordinator under Bill Parcell's Giants; The place where Belichick returned as a Jet coordinator and then turn down an offer to coach the Jets - preferring to get his own team in New England; The place where Belichick's former assistant turned him in to the NFL.
Bill Belichick refuses to address the controversy other than to admit it happened and it's in the past. "That was last year, we're focused on this year," Belichick said .
This year - even without Tom Brady - is proving just as sweet for the coach and the team from Foxboro.
Here are a number of quotes from inside the stadium that some in the media think are players/coaches taking little jabs at the opposition.
Patriots Coach Bill Belichick:
"That was a very good win for our team. I like the way we stepped up and played. We had a good week of practice and I thought we played a very good Jets team, who were riding high off of last week's win over Miami. "
Reaction: Miami was 1-15 last season. Impartial analysis indicates that New York was fortunate to pull out a win over a team they should have dominated.
" I know a lot of people didn't expect much today, but these guys came in with a lot of determination," Belichick said. "It's always good to get a division win on the road and we are certainly happy to do that. We are on to Miami next week, but we are going to enjoy this one for a while . It's good to come down here and win at Giants Stadium."
Reaction: The last part of his opening statement was obvious. Belichick's restrained level of satisfaction was barely contained within his normally crusty demeanor. Saying the team would enjoy the win for a while is in direct contradiction to Belichick's usual statement after a win: "It was nice, but we're going to put the win behind us and focus on the next opponent."
The Giants Stadium comment was a direct poke at Jets owner Woody Johnson who has worked hard to get name sponsor for the new Jets-Giants Stadium so it won't be known as Giants Stadium, where the Jets also play home games.
Jets Coach Eric Mangini:
"It was a very disappointing loss. We had some excellent opportunities throughout the course of the game to make a lot of plays and do a lot of very positive things. We weren't able to execute on those opportunities consistently. I take nothing away from New England We had a lot of positive things today, but there were too many missed opportunities and too many things we could have controlled whether it was penalties or putting ourselves in a bad position that we didn't do a good enough job with."
Reaction: Some who saw Mangini believe he was more discouraged at a loss to a team without Tom Brady that the Jets had expected to win. Though the coach has always maintained a public stance showing his respect for the Patriots, it's believed Mangini privately seethes at not being able to defeat his former mentor.
Jets WR Laveranues Coles:
"It's only one game. You always expect to win, but we didn't win. Our season doesn't hang on one game. We still have 14 more games to play. I still have 14 more games to play and that is the most important thing guys understand is that we get back to the drawing board and try and get better."
Reaction: Coles has been publicly reserved about the change in direction the Jets took in trading for Brett Farve and releasing Chad Pennington. Considered one of the Jets top weapons, his timing with Favre has not been close to that he had with Pennington. The lack of chemistry between the pair has already contributed to a number of missed opportunities for the Jets -- opportunities that could have been game changers. The focus in New York is switching to Jerricho Cotchery and how he may be the Jets best receiver now. That isn't sitting well with Coles, despite what he may say publicly.
Jets QB Brett Favre:
"I'm fine with it. My job is to come here and run this offense. Believe me; regardless of the plays that were called, there were some opportunities," said Favre of the offensive philosophy. "I looked at the pictures on the sidelines and there were some opportunities for some big plays. That falls back on me. It can go both ways. We didn't score enough points, obviously. Someone is blamed on it, and I think that goes to our whole offense."
Reaction: Favre knows that he has to learn the offense, and it's not an easy thing to do after spending the past 15 seasons running the West Coast system in Green Bay. Although the Jets claim Favre is fine, not knowing the offense is holding the team back. One reason why Favre sees it on the pictures is because he isn't seeing it in his head on the field, like Pennington did, or like he did when he played for the Packers. Once Favre gets up to speed, the offensive should run more smoothly. If he can avoid the crucial turnovers, that will help. Favre was lucky against the Dolphins. That luck ran out against New England.