Edwards Enjoyed Win but Not Beating Friend

Times Staff Writer

Satisfying as Saturday's victory was for New York Jet Coach Herm Edwards, it was also emotionally trying.

Edwards is a close friend of Indianapolis Coach Tony Dungy -- his former boss in Tampa Bay -- and it was the first playoff game in NFL history between two teams coached by African Americans.

"It was tough at the end because I know what kind of coach he is and, really, that's the reason I'm standing here, because of Tony," said Edwards, Dungy's assistant head coach and defensive backfield coach with the Buccaneers.

"It's a sweet win for us, but it's going to be tough on them," Edwards continued, briefly struggling to keep his composure in check. "I think for him to go there his first year and win 10 games and take them to the playoffs, a lot of people can't do that. I'm just thankful for our friendship and for the opportunities he's given me to really stand here and be a head coach."

Dungy and Edwards are the only two black head coaches among 32 teams.


But Dungy and Edwards were thinking of their friendship first when they met at midfield after the game.

"I just wished him good luck and said they played really well and were well prepared," Dungy said. "And I gave credit to him. They have a chance to do as much as any team, and I'm going to be pulling for them."


The Jets did a lot of things to disguise their coverages and try to confuse Peyton Manning.

"You could tell when he was indecisive," cornerback Ray Mickens said. "He was kind of indecisive in throwing the ball. Even though he's one of the greatest minds in this game right now, anybody can be a little indecisive if you give them different looks. That's what we were trying to do."


The Jets feel as if they're a better team than they were a month ago, when they traveled to Oakland and lost, 26-20. They were outgained, 411 yards to 274.

"It's a tough place to play, Oakland," Mickens said. "You're facing other elements than just the game. There's a lot of elements involved in going into the Black Hole...."

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