FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan was up to the task of firing up a good, old preseason rivalry.
OK, sort of.
No, the games don’t matter in the standings. But since the only time the Jets and Giants play this season is Friday night at MetLife Stadium — for the coveted Snoopy Bowl trophy — the teams couldn’t help spice things up a little.
Giants rookie running back Andre Williams, a former Boston College star, told the New York Post that his squad is “the real New York team.” When told of Williams’ comment, Ryan jumped on it without missing a beat.
“Yeah, last time I saw him he was getting smoked by Clemson,” Ryan said with a big smile.
The Jets coach was jokingly referring to Boston College’s 24-14 loss last October, in which Williams ran for 70 yards on 24 carries.
Oh, and Ryan has some loyalty to Clemson, too. His son Seth is a redshirt freshman wide receiver there.
“I will say that kid is a good back, though,” Ryan added. “I mean, it was like, ‘Is anybody going to tackle him?’ He is a good back, though. But you know what, hey, that’s great. I have a funny feeling he’s going to get some Riddell’s put on him, but we’ll see.
“It will be a competitive thing. I know he’s going to be pumped up and, trust me, our guys will be pumped up, too.”
Even if it doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. Except, of course, the winner goes home with that cute, little trophy that includes a football-playing Snoopy statue on top.
Jets nose tackle Damon Harrison even got into the fun, writing on Twitter: “See you Friday Mr. Williams...#JetLifeeeeee.”
Both teams enter the game with undefeated records, as the Giants are 3-0 and the Jets have their two preseason games. The Giants are expected to play their starters for at least the first half, as Eli Manning is just 7-for-16 in exhibition games so far this season and the team wants to get him a little more work.
For the record, the Jets won last year’s tilt 24-21 in overtime — a victory that was marred by Mark Sanchez injuring his throwing shoulder after he was put into the game in the fourth quarter. The injury cost Sanchez his season and thrust Geno Smith into the starting role as a rookie.
“I think there is something to it,” Ryan said of the summer showdown. “You don’t get to play each other very often. So it is kind of a one-shot deal. This game is always a physical game. I think guys like each other, respect each other and things like that. They’re in a different color jersey, you have guys popping off.”