The feature fight between Kyle Van Noy and Max Kellerman finally came Thursday, and it lived up to its billing.
Some brief background: Van Noy has taken the New England Patriots' critics to task this season, most notably Kellerman, who still stands by his take that Tom Brady is in decline. Van Noy recently said the ESPN analyst should "stick to boxing," and during the Patriots' Super Bowl parade Tuesday, fellow linebacker Elandon Roberts actually held up a sign dubbing Kellerman the "Haterade Player of the Year."
That all led to Van Noy (joined by rookie running back Sony Michel) and Kellerman working out their differences on-air Thursday during ESPN's "First Take." Here are a few highlights:
Van Noy on the "Haterade" sign: "First of all, I didn't have that sign. Because if I had that sign, I probably would have thrown it in the trash, because that's giving (Kellerman) too much credit.
"There's other people that probably deserve it more. I mean, you've got (Fox Sports') Rob Parker that should be moving to Mexico right now because he said we couldn't beat the Chiefs."
"We just enjoy everybody that doubted us, and thank you Max."
Van Noy on Kellerman saying Patrick Mahomes outplayed Brady in the AFC Championship Game: "You can sit here and argue with me all you want. At the end of the day, he's the GOAT, we won another Super Bowl, and just the look (on your face) and your smile says it all."
Kellerman: "You're saying I'm wrong about Brady being in decline?"
Van Noy: "I'll take his wet noodle arm any day.
"He's good at what he does. He is an excellent communicator, he's excellent at what he does, he gets everybody orchestrated and runs the offense to the best of his ability with Josh McDaniels."
Van Noy on if last year's Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles motivated this Patriots team: "I think it was a big motivation all year. I think if we sit here and say it wasn't a motivation, we'd be lying to you, but it was.
"I think the guys understood that, and we didn't want to walk off that field with the other team's confetti coming down on (us)."
Van Noy on his initial reaction to being traded from the Detroit Lions to the Patriots in 2016: "I finally get to play chess and not checkers, baby."
Van Noy's parting shot for Kellerman: "Enjoy another year of talking about Tom again. ... You don't even deserve that hater award."
So, yeah. Kyle got his money's worth today.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.