The infamous "Pittsburgh Flu" has entered our vernacular again.
The last time was before the AFC Championship game in 2011, before the Steelers defeated the Jets. It was the last time the teams have played. Jets coach Rex Ryan said he has seen players come down with a mysterious illness before his teams played the Steelers, suggesting they would fake illness or injury to avoid playing the physical Steelers.
It was obviously tongue-in-cheek, but Ryan is adding to it again, this time quietly suggesting wide receiver and kick returner Jeremy Kerley, who's been battling a back injury, could have caught a sudden bout of the ambiguous virus.
Kerley certainly didn't have it last week, when he returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown, and scored on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Over-flattery is a symptom of the cunning, and Ryan loves toying with the media, providing worthy quotes (like the one that inspired this column). After his team scored 48 points - getting touchdowns from his offensive, defensive and special teams units - against Buffalo in Week 1, there's little chance Ryan doesn't feel very excited about this chances.
It would definitely help, though, if the Steelers gave him a reason to think of the same joke the next time these teams play.
Maybe it'd be better to hear a different joke, but anything that categorizes the Steelers as a physical team is probably ok with them. They just need to back it up.