#Bill Belichick, Adam Gase have helped ruin Patriots-Jets rivalry

#Bill Belichick, Adam Gase have helped ruin Patriots-Jets rivalry

June 8, 2020 | 6:04pm

The scene would have been hard to believe a decade ago: the head coaches of the Jets and the Patriots emerging from the same car in front of their Indianapolis hotel.

But there Adam Gase and Bill Belichick were in late February, splitting an Uber after a night of watching drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, looking chummy as they exited their ride.

At one time, this would have been as unimaginable as Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi going square dancing. The two coaches sharing a ride is a symbol of how much the Jets-Patriots rivalry has cooled.

The Border War has become the Bore-der War.

There are no fireworks anymore between the teams, barely ever even a flareup. It is hard to remember the last time it felt like a true rivalry. The teams have even made two trades in the last year.

Domination by the Patriots is one reason for the de-escalation. New England has won the past eight meetings between the teams. Since the Jets pulled off the playoff upset in Foxborough in January 2011, the Jets have gone 2-16 against the Patriots.

It is not simply the Patriots pounding the Jets, though. The relationship between Gase and Belichick is a big factor. It might be a stretch to call them close, but they are friendly, and a healthy respect goes both ways. Gase is part of the extended Belichick coaching tree, having worked under former Belichick assistants Nick Saban and Josh McDaniels. Through McDaniels, Gase has also gotten close to other members of the Belichick family, like Lions coach Matt Patricia and Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio.

Bill Belichick (l) and Adam Gase
Bill Belichick (l) and Adam GaseGetty Images

Belichick speaks glowingly of Gase. Now, that does not always mean a lot because Belichick has been known to heap praise on opponents, but he seems genuine when it comes to Gase, who beat Belichick twice as the coach of the Dolphins

“Adam’s [one of], as I I’ve talked about, I think one of the best game-planners in the game and does an excellent job of attacking defenses and just making it tough to handle what they do offensively, with their different personnel groups and plays and his play calling,” he said before the teams played last season.

Another factor in the rivalry receding is a lack of developments. It used to be every few years something happened to reignite the animosity.

Bill Parcells started it with his departure from New England to New York in 1997. Then, he and Mike Tannenbaum swiped Curtis Martin. Belichick resigned as HC of the NYJ. Eric Mangini fled Foxborough in 2006 and reported his old boss in 2007, which led to Spygate. Rex Ryan arrived in 2009 and vowed not to kiss Belichick’s rings. Wes Welker played footsie with Ryan before the playoff game and then the Jets went out and stunned the Patriots.

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Since then, there have been a few memorable games and moments, a brief dustup over tampering with Darrelle Revis, but nothing like the old days of the rivalry.

Joe Douglas put another nail in the rivalry’s coffin when he made a trade with Belichick for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas in September. It was the first time Belichick had made a deal with the Jets since he went to New England in 2000. The two sides made another trade during the draft in April. One former Jets GM used to say he spoke with 30 other teams about trades, but never the Patriots. Douglas has shown that way of thinking is gone.

“I view it as just trying to do what’s best for the New York Jets,” Douglas said after the draft. “And if it happens to be working with the Patriots on a trade, or working with the Seahawks on a trade, I mean, if it’s something that we feel strongly that can help us moving forward, we’ll do it.”

Another key figure of the rivalry will be gone when the teams meet this year. Tom Brady, who has tormented the Jets ever since Mo Lewis took out Drew Bledsoe in 2001, is in Tampa. Jets fans won’t have as much venom for Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer.

The days when this rivalry ran red-hot are long gone. Perhaps something will come along to reignite it at some point. Maybe Belichick made Gase pay for the full Uber.


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