There's no love lost between the New York Jets and New England Patriots, whose decade-plus-long rivalry has morphed from on-field feud to a full-fledged daytime soap opera, replete with name-calling, cheating accusations, betrayals, barbs fired through the media and, of course, fake handshakes and hugs.
The latest chapter was written Tuesday, as New York filed tampering charges against the Patriots apparently in retaliation for New England filing its own charges against the Jets a few weeks ago.
In light of this latest twist, we take a look back at five drama-filled moments in the New York-New England feud:
Parcells plants seeds of discord
Shortly after guiding New England to Super Bowl XXXI, Bill Parcells bolted for New York amid clashes with Pats owner Robert Kraft, lighting the embers to the ensuing border battle. The messy divorce forced then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue to intervene, placating New England with a bevy of picks as compensation for Parcells' exit. A year after his migration south, Parcells struck back by luring Curtis Martin to New York, sapping New England of its top rusher. Parcells went 29-19 as Jets coach, while his replacement, Pete Carroll, was 27-21 until ...
Belichick switches allegiance, launches Pats dynasty
During the early back-and-forth, the Patriots landed a severe blow in January of 2000, hiring Bill Belichick a mere 24 days after he resigned as Jets head coach. Belichick's arrival -- along with the emergence of Tom Brady, who, ironically, became New England's starter after a crushing hit by Jets LB Mo Lewis sidelined Drew Bledsoe -- swung the pendulum of power firmly in the Patriots' favor. The Jets then watched their ex-hire claim three Super Bowls during his first five seasons in New England.
Belichick confidant turns informant
While the Pats were laying claim to the NFL's latest dynasty, the Jets again looked to the Pats sidelines to bridge the gap. Their pursuit led them to defensive coordinator and Belichick protégé Eric Mangini. While the Mangini era produced a pair of winning seasons and a playoff berth, it will be most remembered for the "Spygate" incident in which it was later revealed that Mangini dimed out his former boss for filming signals of the Jets' coaches. Belichick and the team were fined and stripped of their '08 first-round pick, giving Patriots fans more reason to hate those "damn" Jets.
The Ryan show takes over Broadway
Mangini's dismissal ushered in Rex Ryan -- and a circus the Jets had not seen since the days of Joe Namath. The bombastic coach announced his arrival by boldly proclaiming "I'm not here to kiss Belichick's rings." He brought respectability back to New York with consecutive AFC championship game appearances -- going through Belichick & Co. in Gillette during his first year -- and endeared himself to Gang Green with his brash talk, which also permeated the roster (see Antonio Cromartie on Brady).
Revis plays both sides
Darrelle Revis' savvy in manipulating the free-agency market is well-documented, and he was able to land successive lucrative deals from both teams. After his release from Tampa Bay, Revis, a Jets draft pick in '07, eschewed a return home for a one-year fling in New England. The decision paid off on the field -- Revis won his first ring in February -- and off, he raked in $12 million. When New England declined to pick up his option, Revis returned to his first love thanks to a wildly seductive five-year, $70 million contract, which brought on the tampering charges.
And the drama continues ...
Recently a vintage apparel company crunched its sales numbers for throwback pro sports jerseys, then created the fascinating map above (click here for a larger version).
Important note: These are numbers for specific jerseys (e.g. John Elway's 1994 authentic jersey), not all jerseys for a specific player. Now, some thoughts:
• The Kobe Bryant rookie-year No. 8 is the best-seller in seven states, and its popularity is the first thing that stands out ... especially when you note where it moves well (Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio, which all have their share of successful retired pro athletes) and where it doesn't dominate (California, where Bryant's No. 24 is, shall we say, still a rather common sight).
• Another surprise: Michael Jordan did not win Illinois; instead, that honor goes to late and beloved former Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, whose 1985 jersey outsold anything having to do with No. 23.
• Off-field factors clearly influenced Arizona and Louisiana. In the former, Pat Tillman, who left the Arizona Cardinals to join the U.S. Army and was later killed in Afghanistan, outsold Phoenix Suns legends such as Steve Nash and Charles Barkley. For the latter, Steve Gleason, the former New Orleans Saints safety/special-teamer who is battling ALS and raising awareness for the disease, beat out other ex-Saints and LSU/New Orleans Jazz star Pete Maravich.
• Our favorites: The seemingly random picks from states without major pro sports teams, such as Oklahoma-native New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle in Idaho, New Yorker through-and-through Lou Gehrig in Wyoming, Pennsylvania native and Florida State/Oakland Raiders-tied Fred Biletnikoff in North Dakota, Pittsburgh-to-Tuscaloosa-to-New York-to-Los Angeles Super Bowl star Joe Namath in Iowa, and Minnesota native Dave Winfield's San Diego Padres jersey in Maine -- which is about as far from San Diego as you can get in the continental U.S. Perhaps there's a small-sample situation here?
Check out the map and full jersey breakdown on Mitchell & Ness' website.
H/T For The Win
After a 19-year NBA career in which he stood out as a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest point guards ever, Steve Nash is now retired. Nash won two NBA MVP awards, but he never got the opportunity to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy -- just one of four retired former MVPs to have never won an NBA title. Here are the others:
Barkley is one of the most dominant power forwards in the history of the league, and he is arguably the best retired forward to not win a title. The closest "Sir Charles" came to a ring was in 1993, when he won the MVP and led the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals. However, the Suns lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls 4-2. Barkley is one of four players in NBA history who have compiled 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Karl Malone are the others).
"The Answer" came closest to winning a championship in 2001 when he took the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Iverson and his team fell 4-1 to Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Some thought Iverson could win one alongside Carmelo Anthony when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2006, but that never panned out. Iverson retired with 11 All-Star appearances and one MVP award.
Barkley is arguably the best forward because Malone is the counterargument. The Basketball Hall of Famer made three appearances in the NBA Finals, twice with the Utah Jazz and once with the Lakers in his last season in the NBA. Despite never winning it all, "The Mailman" is considered one of the best players to ever play the game.
Other greats without a ring:
Late in the Wildcats' round of 32 loss to the NC State Wolfpack, Villanova piccolo player Roxanne Chalifoux broke into tears while playing one of the last songs of her college band career.
TV cameras caught the moment. The Internet noticed. But so did the people at "The Tonight Show," who invited her on the show and let her sit in with The Roots, have a chat with host Jimmy Fallon and get a very special surprise at the end:
It might not be the Sweet 16, but it's still pretty sweet.
A dog is a man's best friend, and even though athletes sometimes appear superhuman, they're still mere mortals -- which means they love puppies and days like today that celebrate puppies -- National Puppy Day!
Lions tight end Joseph Fauria sprained his ankle and missed time last season chasing after this little guy named Lil Rufio, but Fauria loves Lil Rufio anyway!
The 49ers, today dubbed "K9ers," appreciate their puppies of all shapes and sizes.
Kings alternate captain Anze Kopitar wants this puppy around all the time, even on the ice.
Teams as a whole celebrated National Puppy Day, too. Butler's mascot, Butler Blue III, even threw it back to the good ol' times he was a puppy.
And though we may enjoy seeing all these pictures of puppies, here's video of Brewers mascot Hank the Ballpark Pup living it up last year -- so he wins everything.
But not everyone could get into the spirit. You'll have your day, kittens! Just not today.
Why can't it be National Puppy Day every day? Athletes, we assure you, we will never hate you posting pictures of your puppy.