INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Rex Ryan was the story on the first day of the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Thursday. And it wasn’t for shocking the world with his blazing speed in the forty-yard dash, either. No, instead Ryan did what Ryan does best (other than coaching football): talking.
Just one month removed from the AFC Championship game, one game away from fulfilling Ryan’s guarantee of winning the Super Bowl that he publicly stated in the off-season, he took the podium at the site of this year’s Super Bowl (maybe?) and marked his territory once again.
“I believe this is the year that we’re going to win the Super Bowl,” he said at Lucas Oil Stadium during the Scouting Combine. “I thought we’d win it the first two years. I guarantee we’ll win it this year.”
Now Ryan has never come across a microphone he didn’t like the sound of his own voice in, but after issuing guarantees in the last two years, in which they turned from guarantees to empty promises, how much weight does this year’s guarantee hold?
“Why wouldn’t I be positive?” he said. “ ‘Hey guys, I’ll be happy if we’re 8-8.’ That’s the wrong guy standing in front of you. I’m always going to say the same thing. I believe we can be champs. Why wouldn’t I believe it? Somebody tell me why I shouldn’t believe that we deserve to be a champion.”
Certainly the perfect answer to combat those cynics who say Ryan’s brash outcries are more arrogant than motivating. That better-than-the-rest mindset has won over, not just his own players, but players from across the league. Sports Illustrated polled 279 players during this past season, asking them “For which other coach would you like to play?” and 21 percent responded Ryan — by far the most. Ryan talked about using HBO’s “Hard Knocks” program as a way of recruiting players and fans and it appears to have worked. Players around the NFL seem to respond to Ryan’s relentless will to win.
“I’m going to see if I can will a championship,” Ryan said. “I’m going to try to will a championship. Anything it takes.”
While Ryan has whiffed on his last two guarantees, he has come painstakingly close to fulfilling them. Dating back to his final year with the Baltimore Ravens as the defensive coordinator, he has lost in AFC Championship game three years in a row, twice losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Guarantee or no guarantee, Ryan’s mouth has been a double-edged sword throughout his tenure as Jets head coach. But while there have been slip-ups that have brought negative attention to himself and his team, it has rewarded his team much more. Perhaps, however, the Jets should just leave the guarantees to Broadway Joe.
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