Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo came across as an intelligent and articulate athlete when he made a stand for gay rights in Maryland a few months ago. On Sunday night, he made the biggest (and dumbest) mistake in what has been a magical postseason so far for Baltimore.
In a series of posts on Twitter, Ayanbadejo called the Patriots' hurry-up offense "a gimmick" and dug up the Spygate controversy along with the Patriots' inability to finish off a perfect season in 2007.
Do I think this will make a difference in Sunday's AFC Championship game? Not a chance. Tom Brady is probably asking, "Brendon who?"
But this still doesn't take away from what was an awful lapse in judgment. I'm not sure why Ayanbadejo decided to post these comments, but he comes across as both silly and classless.
It's one thing for fans to trash-talk like this. It's another issue completely when a backup defensive player is calling out another organization a week before playing that team for a trip to the Super Bowl. If coach John Harbaugh was on Twitter, his response would be: "smh."
Ayanbadejo's tirade against the Patriots began even before New England had finished off Houston in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game. He decided to unload on Brady and the Patriots on Twitter, calling their hurry-up offense "a gimmick." He took issue with Brady snapping the ball before the defense is set.
"New England does some suspect stuff on offense," Ayanbadejo posted on Twitter. "Can't really respect it. Comparable to a cheap shot b4 a fight."
He did pay the Patriots a compliment of sorts by saying their offense is good enough without needing to resort to those tactics. That was until he delivered the ultimate shot when it comes to trash-talking the Patriots:
"You know the same organization that did spygate and cut a guy the day b4 the Super Bowl," Ayanbadejo posted on Twitter.
When he started to receive the expected negative feedback from Patriots fans, Ayanbadejo simply posted: "18-1," which refers to the Patriots' run for a perfect 2007 season coming up short in the Super Bowl.
Way to fill up the cyber-bulletin board, Ayanbadejo.
This isn't the first time that the Ravens have taken shots at the Patriots. In 2010, linebacker Terrell Suggs called Brady's three championships "questionable" because of the "Tuck Rule" game during the 2001 playoffs and the "Spygate" videotaping scandal in 2007.
Suggs has since learned how to tone down his chatter on the Patriots when it comes time to play them. Since taking over the Ravens in 2008, Harbaugh has tried to change the Ravens' image and locker room culture.
That's why you don't hear the Ravens trash-talk as much as they did in the past. And that's why Ayanbadejo's ripping of the Patriots on Sunday was not how Harbaugh wanted to start such an important week.