Rex Ryan’s Quirks Are Definition of 21st Century Motivation


Jul 25, 2010

Rex Ryan's Quirks Are Definition of 21st Century Motivation Even if doubters would say that the New York Jets' 2010 playoff run was a fluke, nobody will say that about the team's success in the upcoming season.

They are simply too talented after adding Santonio Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Cromartie, and Jason Taylor among others. That's a lot of fantasy points and Pro Bowls to swoop up at once.

Even so, talent fails a good portion of the time. Just ask the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers of recent memory, and the Washington Redskins of the last decade and a half.

When talent succeeds, it does so because of coaching.

That is exactly what has been and will be the case for the new-look New York Jets.

Simply put, Rex Ryan is a winner.

Obviously, Ryan has quite the coaching pedigree as the son of Super Bowl winning coaching curmudgeon Buddy Ryan and with a successful stint as Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator on his resume, but that's not the point.

Sure, it doesn't hurt that Rex Ryan is a great defensive mind. So is Dick LeBeau, but he clearly couldn't succeed as an NFL head coach. The point is that Rex Ryan is a master motivator.

Clearly, most coaches don't go on television and challenge opposing players and their families to fights.

Most also don't cry in press conferences after losses, but maybe Rex is on to something. If you watched the Jets on the field last year, you probably noticed that they played really hard. Perhaps, by being willing to be public and put his money where his mouth is, he got his team to do the same. Maybe by being willing to cry for his team, he showed them what it is to be passionate about winning.

He also clearly can be one of the guys, dropping F-bombs like he was on an Eminem album.

Since the playoffs, Ryan has continued to be a public figure. He was very open about his off-season gastric-band surgery and even more open about changing jerseys at a Carolina Hurricanes game.

When we next see Rex on HBO's Hard Knocks, he may be a much skinner person, but you should expect him to be the same otherwise. Last year, Chad Ochocinco's antics and predictions on the show may have helped the Cincinnati Bengals to a strong season (though previously there was a "Hard Knocks curse").

Don't be surprised if Rex Ryan does the exact same thing.

Think about who the best coaches in the NFL have been in the last decade or so. With the exception of Tony Dungy, nearly all of them are controversial figures. John Gruden, Bill Belichick, Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin and Tom Coughlin all have their quirks and deal with the media in unique ways. All have rings.

In the 21st century, that is the kind of motivation that works, and it sure worked for the Jets last season.

We are in an era of TMZ, Twitter and YouTube. The players know it and are part of it. Coaches just can't motivate in traditional ways. They have to be a little bit crazy.

And look at it this way, no matter what crazy stunts Rex pulls, Buddy will probably always have him beat with this one:

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