…along comes Rex Ryan.
When Eric Mangini was fired following yet another New York Jets stretch run collapse, some might’ve thought that perhaps the animosity between the two franchises would take a little breather. Maybe the games this season wouldn’t be quite the over-the-top storyline-filled dramas that we’ve come to expect. Maybe it would just be about football.
If we’ve learned anything over the years, it is that Patriots/Jets is always going to be contentious, no matter who the faces on the sidelines are. Whether it was Weeb Ewbank, Joe Walton, Bill Parcells, Herman Edwards or Mangini, the games between these two franchises have always been circuses.
It seems clear that Rex Ryan aims to keep it that way.
The new Jets coach was a guest on WFAN’s Mike Francesa show yesterday, and when the subject of the Patriots came up, Ryan showed he isn’t afraid providing bulletin board material for opponents:
Francesa: You know this division has been dominated by Tom Brady and the Pats in a very big way and you also know it’s you know, you know what’s going on, you know that the Pats have a deep hatred for many reasons for the Jets and they love to beat nothing more than the Jets. How about the relationship and how about the idea of the Pats and their dominance does that mean anything? Is that something you specifically have to attack, because they have been such a dominant figure in this division?
Ryan: Well believe me we’re going to attack ’em. There’s no question about that and you know whatever you know you gotta take it from then. And you know, I think last year obviously Miami wins the division…
Francesa: Well, no Tom Brady…no Tom Brady
Ryan: No Tom Brady and all that, and obviously, I think he makes a huge difference. You know there’s no question he makes a huge difference. And I played him before and things like that, we played with a team that won five games, and if I don’t call a timeout we beat them, at least that’s what everybody says, so I’ll accept that. But, I’ve got confidence that we’ll give them everything they want and maybe a little bit more, so we’ll see what happens.
Confidence is good.Quiet confidence has historically proven to be a better strategy than the in-your-face style, but this is the son of Buddy Ryan we’re talking about here. That was just the opening salvo, and pretty benign, overall.
Francesa: So do you think it’s important to send a message to that team or they’re not any different than anybody else in the division or does it means something because of the way they have dominated the division?”
Ryan: I think we already have sent a message to them, so that they can read between the lines.”
Francesa: Oh, you think you have sent a message to them?
Ryan: Oh yeah! No question. Yup.
So what is this “message” they’ve sent up to Foxborough? Messageboards are abuzz…was it a kneebrace with a fish inside it? Was one of the lesser-known Kraft boys kidnapped? Where there hang-up, crank calls placed to Belichick’s office? Was “stealing” Larry Izzo the zinger? WHAT WAS THE MESSAGE?
Francesa: In what way?
Ryan: You know, they can figure it out and when they come here the second week of the season we’ll see. ‘Cause see, I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick’s, you know, rings. You know, I came… you know, to win. Let’s put it that way and so we’ll see what happens. I’m certainly not intimidated by, you know, by New England or anybody else and so, you know again, I’m not a guy that is going to say well, this guys that. Hey look, Tom Brady is a hell of a quarterback, no question. I’ve got great respect for him, but I also have a great deal of confidence in the people we have in this building. Again, if that team can beat us, if New England can beat us, then they must have one hell of a football team.”
There’s a whole lot of rambling going on there. I just know that when the two teams meet and Bill Belichick’s holds out his hand full of Super Bowl rings, Rex Ryan is not kissing them! No way, no how.
And yeah, if the Patriots somehow manage to beat this Jets team, a team without an experienced quarterback, then we might as well give them the Super Bowl. Yeah, the Super Bowl is in week two this season. Didn’t you know?
Speaking of rambling:
Francesa: Coach, I would say that is music to everybody’s ears here in New York I would say. They loved hearing just what they just heard, you know that?
Ryan: Well again they’re probably…you know, they probably want to win as bad as I do, and I think, you know, we’re gonna put a team out there that they can be proud of and again, you know we’re going to try to have from the first day, the most physical team in the National Football League. I really I truly believe if, at the end of the day, if we can accomplish that then we’re going to be really successful and again, you know how I feel about it and that New England whether it’s New England, Miami, Buffalo, us, anybody else – Pittsburgh – anybody else. We’re all under the same salary cap so for me to sit back and say that, well, you know we’re going to… you know, let’s just, you know, kick and scratch and maybe be .500 you know, maybe we’ll see.. it’s their first year in the program… – that’s ridiculous.
What’s ridiculous is that Ryan went on, and on, and on after this, I just cut it off at that point. He went on to say how the Jets have the best coaches in the National Football League, the best facilities in the National Football League, the best support staff in the National Football League, and the best fans in the National Football League. You get the picture.
Earlier in the day, Ryan had taken another little jab at the Patriots during the Jets OTA media session, as reported by Roderick Boon:
So as Ryan talked about Harris and how he needed some stitches to close the cut on his lip, he couldn’t help but joke around in the same way that he’s done since he arrived on the scene.
“I don’t know how many,” Ryan said, referring to the number of stitches required to get Harris’ cut under control. “We’re keeping that from New England.”
Ryan is a sportswriter’s dream. He’s going to be entertaining, and fill their notebooks with quotes like the above. His last head-coaching experience was in 1993 with Morehead State. He has never been a head coach at any level. He has a rookie quarterback in Mark Sanchez, and the other quarterbacks currently on the roster are Kellen Clemens, Erik Ainge and Chris Pizzotti. The defense may well be very good, but unless he is hoping Sanchez can be Joe Flacco, then it could be a tough year for the Jets offense.
It also appears that he has the Patriots on his mind, perhaps more than he should. With all his talk, he’s at least guaranteed that one tradition will continue.
The Patriots/Jets games will continue to be fueled by animosity. Really though, could it ever be any other way?