FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Talks of under-inflated footballs and broken cell phones and four-game suspensions just didn’t seem to register with the New York Jets, who reported to training camp on Wednesday against the backdrop of “Deflategate”to their north.
The New England Patriots might still be the talk of the NFL, and not for their Super Bowl win last February, but rather for the deflated football story that continues to have more twists and turns than a house of mirrors. That the NFL held-up Tom Brady’s four-game suspension this week isn’t a headline in this locker room, however, even as it might open up the door for the Jets to grab the AFC East.
The last time that the Patriots didn’t win the division was in 2008. One would think that the Jets would be eying this news from afar. This might be their best chance in recent history to claim a division, so they must be aware of the whole scandal.
One would be wrong.
“I haven’t. Obviously I’ve seen it in the news. I really haven’t read the report or what is going on to be honest with you,” Jets wide receiver Eric Decker said on Wednesday. “I don’t think we play New England in all those first four games. We get the championship Brady every game so for that we’re not worried about it. We’re focused on ourselves and putting together a good team.”
Undoubtedly, the Patriots are the biggest rivals of the Jets. These two teams have had some rough-and-tumble battles in recent times and a history twisted and warped by headlines and an epic playoff game in the 2010 playoffs.
But the Jets won’t openly admit to following the story much, although the truth might not be told here. How could this team not help but keep one eye out on the juggernaut of the division and the biggest scandal to potentially rock the NFL in league history?
Center Nick Mangold said he was at lunch recently when his phone started to blow-up with people reaching out to him about the suspension news. He claims he wasn’t up to date on everything going on in Pats-Land but now he’s in the know.
And he shrugs.
“Having since been caught up, that’s their business,” Mangold said. “I think we’re more focused on what we have to do here.”