On the day of a game between those two teams, the Jets stupidly covered up the Giants' Super Bowl murals with black curtains. It was a childish, trolling act. Giants players walked by, saw what happened, and were infuriated. It became part of the Giants' motivation for the game, as was a Rex Ryan quote in which he said the Jets were the better team and would stay that way for the next decade.
The end result was a beatdown of the Jets that included one of the great quotes of that year. Said then-Giants running back Brandon Jacobs to Ryan after the game: "Shut up, fat boy."
Since that contest, the fortunes of the two franchises could not be starker. It did appear that the Jets, coming off back-to-back conference title games, would be a capable rival of the Giants.
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Following that game, the Giants have won a Super Bowl, the quarterback, Eli Manning, has become a legend, Tom Coughlin is now so good he deserves a Hall of Fame nod, Jerry Reese might be the best general manager in the sport, the Giants have one of the deepest rosters in the NFL, and are, maybe, the most stable team in football. Right now, they might be the best team in the NFC and could easily appear in another Super Bowl.
The Jets have Tim Tebow.
They also have one of the least talented teams in the NFL, a head coach whose mouth runs more than his backs, a general manager who knows the salary cap but not personnel, a franchise quarterback who may or may not be with the franchise down the road, and a superfan who just quit the team.
What that infamous night for the Jets demonstrated was not merely two franchises that share the same stadium and same geographic area headed in two directions, it also showed the Jets a blueprint on how to turn their team around.
This is the truth: If the Jets ever want to win again, they must swallow their pride, and imitate the Giants.
There is no better franchise, other than Green Bay or the Patriots, to parrot than the Giants, and for the Jets, they don't have to travel far to see how it's done. Here are five ideas the Jets must steal from the Giants if the Jets ever want to be a viable franchise again:
• Shut up. Does anyone ever see Coughlin bragging? Or strutting? Or insulting another team? Or pulling stupid stunts? The answer is no. The Jets need to hire someone less yappish who believes in football over trash talk.
• Hire a football-centric general manager. Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum is a good man, but he was mostly a numbers guy before assuming his general manager duties with the Jets. There is also the fact that he and Ryan pick players together. Coughlin definitely has say, but it's Reese who gets the definitive final word. There is a line of demarcation.
• Replace departed good players with, you know, other good players. The Jets let quality locker room guys and excellent talent depart without replacing it. The list is lengthy. Again, look at the Giants. They're not perfect but close to it. Jacobs was once a key cog on this Giants team. He's gone. Mario Manningham made a key catch in the Super Bowl. He's gone. On and on it goes for the Giants, yet they still win and it's due to a scouting/personnel department second to none. The Jets don't have anything close to this.
• Don't go for flash and dash. Circuses and football teams rarely mix. The Giants wouldn't have signed Tebow at gunpoint because they know he can't play quarterback and isn't worth the headaches that follow.
• Stability is your best friend. One family has owned the Giants for many decades. The Giants have had three general managers in some three decades. Again, the Giants haven't been perfect -- Ray Handley, anyone? -- but with most of the Giants' leaders in recent years, there have been few clown shows and mostly one, experienced stable voice.
If the Jets want to win, there is only one thing they have to do:
Become the Giants.
2. Not to be corny but the fourth-and-forever play made by Ravens running back Ray Rice, in which he shows both great determination and will, is the kind of play that defines why football is the best sport to watch. OK, that was corny.
3. That same play also illustrates why the Chargers' Norv Turner will be fired. Finally. A cat looks at Turner and says, "Wow, you have more lives than me." Turner has at least 20 but that will end this season.
4. There is a mini-firestorm over Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles asking Peyton Manning for his autograph. There is nothing egregious about this or traitorous or disgraceful. Everyone calm the hell down.
But a question, if I may?
Would Tom Brady, after a loss to Manning, ask for Manning's autograph? Would Manning, after a loss to Brady, ask for Brady's? Probably not since both men possess a great deal of pride and are consumed with winning, not chasing down autographs.
Once, wide receivers Cris Carter, Jerry Rice and Tim Brown (Rice and Brown were with the Raiders and Carter with the Dolphins) took a picture together after playing each other in a game. It was done to commemorate the first time you had three receivers with 1,000 catches each on the same field. That was different. That was done to honor a great moment.
Asking for an autograph, especially after a meaningful loss, is a sign of being subservient. The great players, the elite ones, are still too angry after a loss to consider such a thing. Losing to them is personal. It's bitter. They would just assume cut off an arm than ask a competitor for an autograph after a loss. No, this isn't some great outrage, but it is an indicator of Charles' mentality.
5a. Champ of the week: The Patriots. The beating of the Jets was incredible, even though the Patriots had lots of help from, well, the Jets.
5b. Chump of the week: Fireman Ed. Egomaniac, and in this day and age of attention-seeking jerks and Twitter tough guys, that's saying something.
5c. Tweet of the week: From the excellent Giants beat writer, Art Stapleton, in response to the news that the Eagles' DeSean Jackson is out for the remainder of the season with broken ribs: "Short-term IR & back for Super Bowl?"
6. Ndamukong Suh has been allegedly involved in another traffic incident. Not sure what number this is: four, five, seven? But who keeps count. I'm beginning to think the only wheel Suh should be behind is this one.
7. It's definitely true that, as first reported by Yahoo, Ray Lewis could return soon from his triceps injury and play again in the regular season. There is also a debate inside the Ravens hierarchy wondering if that's a smart thing. The Ravens are rolling right now and while Lewis is an eternal, great talent, rushing him back, the thinking goes, might not be the brightest thing. As one source told me, Lewis is like gold, a valuable commodity, and you need to be careful with what you do with gold. Or something like that.
But there's one thing about Lewis: He will push the Ravens to let him play, and he's extremely convincing.
8. The belief in football is that Andy Reid will last until the end of the season, but with each horrible loss you have to wonder if that will actually be the case.
9. Five years ago this week, Washington defensive back Sean Taylor was murdered in his home. Amazingly, the case has yet to go to trial.
10. This blog explains why the Jets dressing injured Tebow against New England -- and no other quarterback -- was a borderline firing offense. The blog was written by medical expert Dr. Ben Wedro. The Jets, in effect, dressed only one quarterback, Sanchez, because despite the fact that Tebow dressed for the game, it would have been impossible for him to play because of his badly injured ribs.