As if this thing needed more hype.
Rex Ryan said this about the New England Patriots during his final news conference before Sunday’s AFC divisional playoff:
• The Jets respected them but didn’t fear them;
• The game ranks right behind the Broadway Joe Super Bowl win in 1969;
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• And, yes, the Jets would win.
“I think it’ll be huge,” the coach said Friday. “This one will probably be the second-biggest in the history of the franchise.”
Following a ho-hum week of name-calling, accusations and challenges, New York is looking to get past the Patriots and reach the AFC Championship game for the second straight season. But Bill Belichick and Tom Brady might have something to say about all of that. On the field, that is.
“Certainly the stakes are much higher than they were the last time,” Brady said, referring to the Patriots’ 45-3 rout last month.
New 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh hired away three coaches from his former Stanford staff to join him in the NFL.
The 49ers hired Greg Roman as offensive coordinator, Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator and Tim Drevno as offensive line coach. The moves were expected by Harbaugh, who received a five-year deal as San Francisco’s new coach last Friday to replace the fired Mike Singletary.
Nick Fairley, Auburn’s other big-name star, also is heading to the NFL after winning the Lombardi Award and helping Cam Newton lead the Tigers to a national title. The San Diego Chargers hired Greg Manusky as defensive coordinator. Manusky signed a two-year contract to replace Ron Rivera, who was hired Tuesday as head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Manusky held the same position with the San Francisco 49ers from 2007-10. He was linebackers coach for the Chargers under Marty Schottenheimer from 2002-06. Junior tailback Taiwan Jones of FCS national champion Eastern Washington has made himself eligible for the NFL draft. Jones, plagued by injuries over the last two seasons, rushed for 1,724 yards and 14 touchdowns despite missing three games and parts of two others while Eastern Washington went 13-2. Jones’ 201.8 all-purpose yards per game ranked second in the FCS.