Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo got the ball rolling on the pre-AFC Championship Game war of words on Sunday with some disparaging comments about the Patriots’ uptempo offense, Spygate and the team’s decision to cut wide receiver Tiquan Underwood before the Super Bowl last season.
It didn’t take long for Ayanbadejo’s thoughts to filter back to the Patriots. There wasn’t much return fire from the New England locker room, with guard Logan Mankins saying things will get settled next Sunday and cornerback Aqib Talib saying that the team isn’t paying any attention to Ayanbadejo.
“I can’t speak for everybody but me personally I’m not on the social network, Facebook, none of that,” Talib said, via USA Today. “So that’s in one ear and out the other.”
There’s more than enough history between the Ravens and Patriots to keep things at a fever pitch without any volleys being lobbed via Twitter. They played a tight AFC Championship Game last year that was settled by a dropped pass and missed field goal by Baltimore and the Ravens beat the Patriots early in the regular season in a game that wound up with Bill Belichick getting fined for making contact with an official after Justin Tucker won the game with a field goal for the Ravens. All of it adds up to a compelling backstory for a game that means plenty without any of it.
“From what I saw in Week 3, what I was a part of, I don’t think the world would expect anything less,” Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui said. “That’s what we’re going to get prepared for starting tomorrow.”
We’re all in that boat and, frankly, next Sunday can’t get here soon enough.