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lack of respect drives playoff teams towards success

By Sam Farmer Los Angeles Times

Nobody believed in them. Only the people in their locker room thought they could get this far. They are a team of destin , and Su- per Bowl XLV is just one win away. They are the New York Jets. and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. With all due respect, where’s all the respect that’s due? All of the four NFLteams in this weekend’s conference champion- ship games have at some point claimed they have been over- looked, undervalued, ignored by all but those rare true believers. People have been waiting for weeks for the Bears to come un- glued. The Steelers were doomed from the start, and playing their fourth-string quarterback by Week 3. As for the Packers and Jets, they barely made it into the playoffs as sixth-seeded teams. “Maybe everybody else didn’t believe in us or whatever, but we believed,”saidJetscoachRexRyan,

whose team followed the exam- ple set by Green Bay and knocked out the No. 1-seeded team. The Jets latch on to the dis- respect card the way Santo- nio Holmes hangs on to the football with gusto. Yes, there have been slights, but, as is the case with all teams, everything that can be magnified will be. “We’re all still little football players at heart and little foot- ball players like to be motivated, like to have an edge going into a game, some sort of anger, some reason to be more focused,” said CBS analyst Boomer Esiason. Before the Packers played their divisional game at Atlan- ta, Green Bay defensive coor- dinator Dom Capers apprised his players of dismissive com- ments allegedly made by Fal- cons fullback Ovie Mughelli. While saying he didn’t know where Capers came up with the comments Mughelli supposedly made after a three-point win over the Packers in November, Green Bay’s B.J. Raji said the remarks

“kind of fueled our fire a little bit.” Said Raji, in the wake of Satur- day’s win in the Georgia Dome: “(Mughelli) was saying after the first game how we were soft. When somebody challenges your manhood, you have to respond. It had nothing to do with football. It was just strictly being a man.” It’s not uncommon for coach- es and players to go in search of bulletin-board material for snubs, interpreting everything in the most negative way possible. Last summer, for instance, Pitts- burgh’s Hines Ward talked about how no one believes in the Steel- ers, no one was willing to give them the respect they deserve. It’s one of his favorite refrains. The Steelers have overcome a lot to get this far, including going 3-1 during Ben Roethlis- berger’s suspension, losing of- fensive tackles Max Starks and Willie Colon for long stretches.

Good,”

Roethlisberg-

recently. people

“He loves wrong.”

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New England loses

By Reggie Hayes The News-Sentinel

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick benched receiv- er Wes Welker for the first of- fensive series in their loss to the New York Jets because of Welker’s pregame monologue subtly mocking Jets coach Rex Ryan’s alleged foot fetish. Belichick then punished himself for lack of insti-

tutional control by ting Patrick Chung

let- call

the key play in the game. To add insult to injury, in a video from Week 2 re- leased by Fox Sports on Sunday, some Patriots were shown lining up along the

sideline and apparently try- ing to trip a Jets player on a punt, much in the manner for which Jets assistant coach Sal Alosi was fined $100,000. Upon hearing the Pa- triots might push the en- velope of ethical strat- egy, sports fans outside of New England yawned. As if it were a suspense novel, the rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears is fueled and the teams will meet in the playoffs for only the sec- ond time in history. The first time was in 1941. The Packers lost that day, but quarterback Brett Favre came back to have some good games after that.

Sports

Karl Mondon / MCTCampus New England Patriots Head Coach,

Bill Belichick, benched WesWelker for mocking NewYork Jets coach.

Ron Jenkins / MCTCampus

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