As the Jets prepare to face their crosstown opponents, the New York Giants, one of the questions asked of head coach Todd Bowles during Monday's conference call was what he remembers of the Jets-Giants rivalry as a kid growing up in Elizabeth, NJ.
"I'm afraid I don't remember too much from my childhood football days," said Coach Bowles. "From a professional standpoint, I don't. I remember people, I don't remember the rivalry as much. I don't think there was a big rivalry back then, or if there was, I don't remember."
The reason the first-year head coach doesn't remember there being a rivalry is because there isn't.
The fact that the Jets don't share the same conference with the Giants prevents the two teams from being rivals.
"I don't think it's a rivalry because you don't play them as much," said Bowles. "They're not in the same division. You only play them once every four years. The fact that we're in the same city, same stadium makes it very interesting for the fan base."
"It's different having a team in your same hometown," added C Nick Mangold. "It's something that until you experience it, you don't really understand it. Sharing a city and sharing a stadium, it's obviously a different experience than Tennessee or Cincinnati, where you're the only team there."
Sunday's matchup will be the 13th time that the two teams will meet up in the regular season, with Big Blue leading the series, 8-4. For the Jets, facing the Giants is just another game on the schedule.
"I'm getting ready like any other week," said CB Antonio Cromartie. "I don't think there is a reason to get up for a team any different than any other week. I think I look at it as they are our next opponent and we have to prepare ourselves the right way to go out and try to get another win and try to get a two-game win streak going."
Both teams are on a quest to set themselves up for a shot late in the season for a playoff berth. And for some Green & White faithful, Sunday's game may bring back memories from the 2011 game in which WR Victor Cruz took a short pass 99 yards that gave the Giants a first-half lead they never lost in their 29-14 win. But there is no Jet lag among the players that played on that day.
"That play won't ever stand out for me," said Cromartie. "It's a play, it's over and done with, and it's four years old."
"That is so long ago," added Mangold. "Assuming that there is only a handful of guys left that actually played in that game, it's so long ago that I don't think it has any bearing on this game. It's just the next step in our season here."
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is new to the Jets-Giants game and is looking to build off last week's success, is excited about Sunday's matchup.
"There's already plenty of chatter around the community with different people that I know that are either Jets or Giants fans," said Fitzpatrick. "It's going to be a great atmosphere that I'm looking forward to."