By Mary Paoletti
If Wes Welker could go back in time, he wouldn't make fun of Rex Ryan.
If the Patriots receiver could rewind to the happy days before Jan. 16, he wouldn't mention feet once in his press conferences, let alone 10 times.
If Welker could return to the schoolyard where Ryan and Antonio Cromartie were pushing around his buddy Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick, he wouldn't push back. He'd walk away.
"It's just not worth it," he said.
Not after losing to Ryan's team in the playoffs, anyway. No, Welker has officially joined the wave of second-guessing that's washed over New England.
Belichick might regret benching Welker; Vince Wilfork does regret the benching of Welker, Patrick Chung regrets the fake punt; Brady regrets the pass that David Harris intercepted; Brady should regret the hair and the Uggs; the Patriots all now regret their lack of urgency.
Pretty standard stuff after getting pushed off the road to Dallas.
Except the Jets don't regret a damn thing.
Rex Ryan burdened his team with such lofty expectations that they could only end up owners of the ballsiest Super Bowl prophecy in recent history, or inevitable failure. He boasted, he joked, he taunted, he made threats, and he promised a Lombardi Trophy to the city of New York.
They beat the Patriots, sure. But then they beat themselves.
On Sunday, the Jets lost to Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship. There are plenty of things -- not just on that day, but throughout the season -- that the heartbroken Ryan could have regretted. But he never backed down, not from anything.
"Our goal for next year, Ive got news for you, it wont change," the coach said. "It will never change. Were going to chase that Super Bowl. Were going to chase it until we get it. Then, well chase it after that again.
"I would change the outcome of this game and thats the only thing I would change. We dont need to apologize to anybody. Well be back, youll see."
So the contrast between franchises followed both teams to their graves this season.
And who would you rather be? The guy with the hangdog mug, spilling regrets during his presser? Or the guy who hides failed promises under new vows more pressure-laden than the last?
With both teams bounced from Super Bowl dreams, there's really only one answer: Everyone regrets Uggs. Everyone.