December 24, 2011. Mark it down as the day Rex Ryan's
mouth died. After all his bravado, boasting, and endless Super
Bowl guarantees, the Jets big pie hole has been stuffed shut, thanks
to a crippling loss to city-rivals, the New York Giants. In the
week leading up the big game, the media attention was focused
on Ryan, who said the Jets wanted to own "not only the town,
but the entire league." He claimed the Jets were the far better
team because they had gone to the last two conference title games
whereas the Giants hadn't even made the playoffs. Before the
game, he ordered staffers to cover-up the mural of the Giants
four Super Bowl trophies in the bowls of Met-Life Stadium.
Then the Jets lost. After the game, Giants running back Brandon
Jacobs had words with Not-so-Sexy, Rexy and told ESPN
Ryan was a "big-mouth, big-bellied, loudmouth bast--d, who
needs to keep his mouth shut." Well said.
Ever since being named head coach of the New York Jets in
January of 2009, Rex Ryan has been walking a fine between being
brilliant and a buffoon. He's been talking as if his keg-of-beer gut
needed trash-talking fuel to survive. At his introductory press
conference, Ryan announced his presence with authority stating he
didn't come to the Big Apple to "kiss Bill Belichick's rings." After
Eric Mangini, who had the personality of a pencil, Ryan was a breath
of fresh air and he gave the entire Jets organization a positive vibe
and livedby the mantra, "Dream big." Fans of Gang Green were thrilled and
Ryan made them relevant again after taking the team to back-to-back
Everything was about Rex and part of it was by design and this
is where the brilliant part comes in. Rex and his outlandish statements
put the focus on him and took the spotlight and pressure off his
team. With the New York media-wolves obsessed with Ryan
and his sometimes ridiculous statements (Like guaranteeing a
Super Bowl every year), his players could go out and just play.
He has a talented team, but it's filled with petulant, trouble stars
like Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes, who almost led a
mutiny earlier this year because of the play-calling of offensive
coordinator. Ryan diffused that situation with his mouth like
firefighters extinguish blazes with water and foam.
Ryan's antics also took some of the pressure of Mark Sanchez,
who was tagged with extraordinary expectations but has endured
the growing pains that every young quarterback not named Marino,
However, everything reaches a tipping point and Saturday's loss
to the Giants was it for Ryan. He exchanged words with Jacobs
after the game, adding to his litany of post-game foul-ups. Ryan
said the magic word to a fan earlier this season and had used his
ring-less middle finger inappropriately. There comes a point when
enough is enough. The behavior becomes boorish and exhausting.
As Crash Davis said in "Bull Durham", when you win, the antics
are considered funny and colorful. But if you lose, you're pretty
much a moron.
Ryan can coach and motivate, there is little doubt about it.
But he must find a new way to do it. The guarantees and
predictions have become hollow and laughable. If Ryan
does the same thing again, the New York media will roll
their eyes and not waste any energy writing about them.
Ryan's bravado has become old, tiresome, and predictable.
The big mouth act has run it's course and is getting diminishing
returns. Hopefully, it can rest in peace forever.