The Jets have become the Cinderella story in the NFL this season after defying all odds to make the AFC championship game. Just don’t tell Rex Ryan that. According to Ryan, the Jets should be the favorites to win the Super Bowl, even though he thought his team was mathematically eliminated after their Week 15 loss.
Ryan has become a media gold mine with his outlandish remarks, lofty goals and improbable predictions. But the rookie head coach has backed up everything that has come out of his mouth, and his team is one win away from playing in the Super Bowl.
There is never really an ideal time to put together a list of the 10 best quotes from Ryan, since the list could change following any press conference. And even though he is sure to make headlines again between now and the Jets’ final game of the season, here are the 10 most memorable quotes from Ryan since he replaced Eric Mangini in East Rutherford, N.J.
10. Ryan wasn’t going to be bossed around after becoming head coach of the Jets, and he certainly wasn’t going to be pushed around by the fierce competition in the AFC. Ryan took the Jets’ job with a promise to be himself and be successful.
“I was just going to come in and be myself and hope that the
organization and the coaches and the players and everybody else
realized that’s who I am. If you can go to work every day
with a smile on your face, you’re probably successful.”
9. Trash talk comes out of Ryan’s mouth just about every time
a microphone is put in front of it. But there is a reason for all the
optimism from Ryan, and he explained why he talks up his team.
“I just build our guys up. If it’s trash talking that I believe in
our football team, then, yes, I agree with that statement. I’m the
biggest trash talker there is. I don’t disrespect anybody else. I just
have confidence in our football team. I don’t mean to be disrespectful
at all to opponents.”
8. The Jets faced a must-win game in Week 16 against the
Colts to keep their playoff chances alive. During a media session
leading up to the game, Ryan turned into a comedian by asking the Colts
to rest their players to give the Jets a better chance to win.
“We’re going to start with the injury report. [Peyton] Manning, [Dallas] Clark, [Joseph] Addai,
Reggie Wayne, [Dwight] Freeney, [Robert] Mathis, [Gary] Brackett. … All those guys will not
play. Tom Moore, Howard Mudd and [John Teerlink] should get more
extended Christmas break, it says here. Oh, hold up. That was my wish list for Santa Claus.”
7. The Colts laid down and kept the Jets’ playoff hopes alive
in Week 16 before the Bengals did the same for Gang Green in Week 17.
But despite the Colts giving up on the perfect season by pulling Peyton
Manning and nearly every important starter, Ryan still believes the
Jets earned the victory.
“The fact is that we won that game by 14 points. It wasn’t like we
squeaked it out by one point or something like that. We played well.
Granted, it was the Colts JV team or whatever they want to call it,
they still had the Colts uniform on.”
6. It didn’t take long for Ryan to talk trash as the head
coach of the Jets. The same day the former Ravens defensive coordinator
was introduced as the future of the Jets, he made headlines by warning
the rest of the NFL about the Jets.
“The message to the rest of the league is, hey, the Jets are coming,
and we’re going to give you everything we got. And I think that’s going
to be more than you can handle.”
5. No one thought the Jets could make the playoffs. No one gave them any really chance to beat the Bengals on the road in the opening round of the playoffs. And no one gave them any chance to beat the Chargers on the road in the divisional round. But the Jets are still standing, and Ryan thinks they will still be after the AFC championship game against the Colts.
“I’m confident. There is no question about it. We’re going into the game expecting to win. I’d be shocked if we don’t. Absolutely would be.”
4. Ryan’s introductory press conference took place the same day
that Barack Obama took over the White House. Ryan made it known that he
expected the Jets to win it all in the near future, which would allow the new head coach to meet the new President of the United States.
“First off, with all the cameras I was looking for our new president [Barack Obama] back there. I think we’ll get to meet him in the next couple of years anyway.”
3. The first time Ryan hosted the Patriots as head coach of the Jets, he left season ticket holders a voice mail telling them to come out to Giants Stadium to get rowdy with Jets’ rival coming to town. But Ryan’s passion for beating the Patriots had been made evident before the season, when the new coach let New England know he wasn’t about to hand over the division or the conference.
“I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick‘s rings. I came here to win,
let’s put it that way. … I’m certainly not intimidated by New England
or anybody else.”
2. After the Jets blew a 7-3 lead late in the fourth quarter to the Falcons in an eventual 10-7 loss, Giants Stadium was quiet. While Jets knew the loss likely meant the end to a potential postseason berth, the team was still not mathematically eliminated. However, Ryan was unaware after the loss.
“We’re obviously out of the playoffs, and that’s unfortunate.”
1. The Jets entered the postseason as the weakest team in the 12-team field, according to bookmakers. But Ryan believed that his 9-7 team was actually built better than the Colts (14-2) or Saints (14-2). And so far, the Jets have backed up the big man’s words.
“I wasn’t aware of that,” Ryan said when asked about being underdogs. “But to me we should be favorites. I mean in the whole tournament. I think we have the best defense; I know we do. I think we have the best rushing attack. I want this football team. If I had a choice to coach any team in this tournament, I would choose this one.”