The New York Jets and New York Giants will be the final NFL teams to report to training camp when their players arrive at SUNY Cortland and UAlbany, respectively, this weekend.
That is because the two teams will be the last to play exhibition games, opening New Meadowlands Stadium on Monday, Aug. 16.
It is appropriate that the two teams start together in 2010. The two New York NFL franchises are more tightly linked than ever before. Business partners, yes, but quite possibly also more fierce rivals on the field than they have ever been.
The Jets are, unquestionably, feeling good about themselves these days. Led by brash second-year head coach Rex Ryan, they aren't shy about telling you exactly how good they feel, either.
It was Ryan, in fact, who fired the shot across the Giants' bow that was really the opening salvo in the Jets' not-so-subtle effort at casting aside their long-held status as New York's second NFL team.
Here is what the Jets coach said after his team lost to Indianapolis in last January's AFC title game.
"Let's come back hungrier than ever," he said. "Let's go take this thing. Let's try to get a home game. Let's play this game in front of our fans and our stadium, the New Jets Stadium. That is going to be (the name of) it when we play in it. I can't wait. We get our stadium and we are not the visitors in our stadium. This is our stadium. We are the biggest show in town and that's what it's going to be."
Nope. Not subtle at all, but subtlety is not Ryan's style. In your face, 'too bad if you don't like it because we can back it up' talk is what the Jets' coach is about.
'Biggest show in town'? Let's forget for a second that there is a baseball team called the New York Yankees over in the Bronx. Truth is, if any team owns this town it belongs to the Yankees. Twenty-seven World Series titles says so. The Yankees, in reality, will always own New York City.
Ryan's remark, though, was an arrow pointed straight at Tom Coughlin's New York Giants.
I guess you have to forgive the Jets some chest-thumping as we enter the 2010 season.
- They did reach the AFC title game in 2009, the first time they had gotten that far since the dinosaur days of 1999.
- They have their own stadium for the first time in their history. Sort of. They share ownership of New Meadowlands Stadium with the Giants, but throughout their history the Jets have always been someone's tenant. This had to be especially grating to Jets' fans the past several years, as they played 'home' games in Giants Stadium. Now, they have a place of their own. At least when the Giants aren't using it.
- They have one of the game's best defenses, led by quite possibly the game's best cornerback, Darrelle Revis.
- They have a young franchise quarterback in Mark Sanchez whom they can build an offense around.
- They are ranked No. 1 by SI.com in that website's pre-season NFL power rankings.
- The Jets are the subject of HBO's annual 'Hard Knocks' training camp show.
- The Giants bumbled their way to an 8-8 season in 2009, missing the playoffs for the first time in five seasons and ceding the post-season spotlight to the Jets for a change.
- The Jets have one Super Bowl title, Super Bowl III way back in 1969. They have not reached the big game since.
- The Giants have three Super Bowl titles, including Super Bowl XLII just a couple of seasons ago.
- The Jets have two AFC East titles since 1969. The Giants have eight NFC East titles since 1986.
- Prior to last season's stumble the Giants had made four consecutive playoff appearances and been one of the league's premier teams.
"We have only one goal and that's to win the Super Bowl. And that's what we plan on doing this year."
``We'll never be the other team for the simple reason we have a Super Bowl ring,'' Jacobs said Friday after an organized team activity. ``We didn't stop the tour when we got there. We got past people we needed to get past. We beat teams that nobody beat and got what we wanted - Super Bowl XLII champions.
Giants' quarterback Eli Manning.
``It's not our concern,'' Manning said. ``We have to worry about the New York Giants. We know what we are capable of. We know we have a big season ahead of us. What the Jets do in their offseason doesn't affect us. We got to worry about our play and make sure we play at a high level.''
In a recent interview with the New York Post, Giants' defensive end Justin Tuck may have been playful, but he got his point across. Here is a section of that story.
Clearly, Tuck isn't losing any sleep over the hullabaloo over the media darling Jets. When I brought up The Other Team in Town notion, Tuck laughed, and loudly.
"You heard what I said to it," Tuck said. "Write in quotations, 'He laughed.' "
Except it's no laughing matter.
"I'll just say this -- we're the last football team to walk down the Canyon of Heroes," Tuck said. "They can have all the glamour and glitz and all that, I could care less. . . . I'm trying to be careful. There are some things I could say I don't want to say."
"I agree," Tuck said, before adding: "You said that, I didn't."
Coughlin has always encouraged his teams not to talk about what they were going to do, but simply to perform on game days.
In a way, that is an easier approach to take with the Giants. Coughlin's group has been to the top, and the Giants still have a team that might be capable of getting there again -- this season or in the not-too-distant future.
Right now, the Jets are still trying to attain a level the Giants have already reached. Talk, not titles, is all they have.
Maybe that will change in 2010. Maybe it won't. Finally, though, we have reached the point where it is time for the talking to stop and the proving to start.
It should be fun to watch.