Monday, March 21, 2011

REX RYAN: BRILLIANT OR A BUFFOON?

There he goes again. Rex Ryan, the loquacious and large coach
of the New York Jets, recently told the NY Daily News that he
was guaranteeing a Super Bowl victory. This marks the 387th time
Ryan has done that since taking over Gang Green. But who's
counting? After all, it's Rex Ryan. He spits out guarantees as
often as you check your Facebook.

Ryan is starting to remind me of another big man with powerful pipes.
In "The Green Mile",  John Coffey who is on death row, possesses
the power of faith healing. When he heals, strange things come
out of his mouth. The guards stare in disbelief, not unlike
the media, when peculiar things come out of Ryan's trap.

In the interview with the New York Daily News, Ryan had mandibles
dropping on the floor when he compared himself to Babe Ruth. Now, most
of us are thinking the only thing Ruth and Ryan have in common,
is their girth. But Ryan said they both possessed the courage to call
their shots.

Ryan added, "They talk about walk softly and carry a big stick.
I love that. I agree with that 100%," he said. "But I guess I feel more
like Babe Ruth. I'm going to walk softly, I'm going to carry that big
stick and then I'm going to point and then I'm going to hit it over the fence."

As Coffey said in  "The Green Mile", "you can't hide what's in your heart."
Ryan has often told that to the media and he'll never apologize for
believing in himself, or the team.

But do all these bold and sometimes frivolous statements really
come from the heart? Or are they a calculated component of Ryan's
psychological warfare on an organization that had been stained
with negativity?

Years of bad coaches, contracts, and curious draft picks, had given
the Jets franchise a negative vibe they just couldn't seem to shake.
They seemed to have a fear of success and a knack for self-destructing.

The Jets attempted to fix the problem with Eric Mangini, but he
just made it worse, bringing a black cloud and a curtain of negativity.
The team wasn't winning, and with Mangini's persona, it made for
an unbearable place to work.

Enter Rex Ryan. A big, garrulous man, Ryan gave the Jets instant
personality and swagger. He immediately vowed he wasn't there
to kiss the rings of Bill Belichick's and predicted Super Bowl
glory for a franchise that hadn't experienced it, in more than 40 years.
It didn't matter that Ryan had zero coaching experience. He had a
spine and the belief his team could win it all.

The psychological make-over was on. Ryan was like Anthony
Robbins and Joel Osteen, a pair of self-help gurus who got
people to believe in themselves, rinse away the negativity,
and dream big dreams.

Muhammad Ali had big dreams and kept telling
himself and the boxing world that he was "the Greatest".
He played mind games with his opponents and had them
beaten before ever getting in the ring.

Ali had to believe he was "the Greatest" before he became it.
And you know what? Ali hit the canvas four times and actually
lost five times. But he kept getting back off the canvas and never
stopped believing that he was the best.

Ryan needed to go over the top with his comments because
years of pessimism don't go away with a single sound bite.
He preached and pounded positive thoughts into his team,
making them think that they were the best of the NFL's
lot.

This is no fluke or act, but all part of Ryan's master plan. This is
the genius of Rex Ryan. He has them believing they are the
toughest and most talented team on the field. He is bold and brash
and the team took on the personality of their head coach.

Before the Jets playoff match-up against the Patriots, Ryan made it clear
that this about him vs. Belichick, making a challenge that no coach
was ever bold enough to make. And Ryan not only talked the talk,
he walked the walk, outcoaching the best one in the NFL.

People have said all these pie-in-the-sky statements put undue
pressure on the players. No, they don't. They do the exact opposite.
Ryan has put all the pressure on his shoulders. He's letting the
critics call him a blowhard and a buffoon. Ryan doesn't care, he'll
take all the heat so the players don't have to.

Ryan's comments about he and Babe Ruth made "SportsCenter"
of course, and the anchors got to have a little chuckle. But Ryan
doesn't care, he's doing it his way, critics be damned. He is
no buffoon. He is brillaint and knows full well the path he
needs to take. It's all about the end game and the Jets are on
the road to getting where they want to go.

In less than three years, Ryan's helped rinse away more than 30
of negativity. He can call his shots any way that he likes.
Just don't be surprised when he hits that home run and rounds
the bases, with that Super Bowl trophy in hand.

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