Rex Ryan Cannot Win When It Comes to the New York Media

Rocco Constantino@@br_jets_reportContributor IDecember 19, 2012

Rex Ryan had to face the music once again Tuesday.

He had to answer questions about the New York Jets' second embarrassing prime-time performance in a month, and also had to publicly announce his plans to bench Mark Sanchez in favor of Greg McElroy.

That brought up a ton of questions about the futures of Sanchez, McElroy and Tim Tebow.

It was at that point that Rex Ryan turned in a press conference performance that would make Eric Mangini and Bill Belichick jealous.

He spoke in cliches, stuck to a script and didn't give any kind of definitive insight, and boy did that get the Jets' beat writers hot in the pants:


Rex kept repeating over And over this was best for team and this was his decision. Gave no reasons why it was best

— NYPost_Cannizzaro (@MarkCannizzaro) December 18, 2012



The Jets talk about being a transparent organization. Yet, they continually shut out the fans on the truth behind their decisions.

— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) December 18, 2012



Rex Ryan being positively Manginian in his responses.

— Jane McManus (@janesports) December 18, 2012



Recap of Ryan conf call: He said a lot of nothing. No concrete reason on why he made QB change or why he picked McElroy over Tebow. #Jets

— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) December 18, 2012



"We've tried everything, but it hasn't gotten done," Ryan said. He also dodged a question about Sparano. Says all coaches work hard. #nyj

— Conor Orr (@ConorTOrr) December 18, 2012



Gist of Rex conf call: He's going with McElroy b/c that's best for the team. Why not Tebow? None of your business.

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 18, 2012


Anytime a team moves on from a quarterback who has started for the better part of four seasons and has given that team some of the best playoff moments in franchise history, it's a huge decision.

Ryan decided to give no real insight into the decision or what this means for the future.

Good for him.

This is a media that at first lapped up the gregarious and self-effacing coach.  He was a welcome breath of fresh air after the staid and secret Eric Mangini years.  He had the personality and likability of Herman Edwards with the one glaring difference being that he could actually coach.

Along with his defensive expertise, one of the reasons he was hired was that his brashness would change the culture around the team—and it certainly did.

Part of the reason Ryan was able to take the Jets into San Diego, Cincinnati, New England and Indianapolis and win playoff games was because his players bought into his bravado.

However, the media eventually started to turn on Ryan and the Jets, and he took it in stride for as long as he could.

The exact point at which the media turned on Ryan and the Jets is up for debate.  Ryan used the media's underestimation of his team as a rallying point for runs in the 2009 and 2010 postseason, and it worked.  

A lot of the blame lands on Ryan for coming into the situation declaring that the Jets were going to take over the city and win multiple Super Bowls fast.  When he didn't deliver on this promise, the media was very happy to take those words and shove them back in his face.

That was a calculated tactic by Ryan in order to take the oppressed feeling the Jets experienced under Mangini and let the players loose in a liberating way.  It instantly made Ryan a favorite among his players and made him a lightning rod in the media, and he was fine with that.

Ryan has been as honest and transparent as any coach in the NFL for the better part of his regime.  He is a stand-up man who defends his team and coaches to the point where it puts his job on the line.

The only thing that has gotten him is a media very willing to take that honesty and use it to their own personal benefit—however they see fit.

He spent the first three seasons being asked what he thinks about his team, and when he said he believed they were a Super Bowl team, he was ridiculed.  

What does the media want him to say at that point?  That they have a good team, but too many holes to consider a championship?  Does any fan want to hear his coach say that?

For those who think Ryan shouldn't say anything at all in those situations, that's not Ryan's style.  He doesn't want to stand up in front of a microphone and give the canned answers almost every other coach in the NFL does.

The same goes for the infinite number of times he has been asked what he thinks of his defense.  He always stands behind the fact that he thinks they are an elite defense because he wants his players to believe that as well.  

The media makes it seem that Ryan calls press conferences on his own in the middle of the day to make unprovoked declarations about how good his team is.

After every loss and just about every win, Ryan has said that his team has a lot of work to do to reach its goals.  However, the quotes that make it to print are the ones that will support the media's constant need for attention.

On December 18, in his biggest press conference of the year, though, Ryan took that all away from the media.

He stuck to a script and didn't give a single quote that could be misconstrued by the media in an attempt to sell papers or gain Twitter followers.

Ryan's candor was refreshing when he arrived on the scene in 2009.  It was refreshing to see a coach with a personality and someone who wasn't afraid to speak his mind.

It's now four years later and Ryan's actions at a big press conference are refreshing once again.

His refusal to give a single nugget of information to the salivating reporters was a great way to, in essence, take his ball and go home.

The things the New York media has done to Ryan over the past four years has given him every right to be as tight-lipped as he wants to be.

From the jokes about his weight to the coverage of his personal relationship with his wife to the hinging on his every single word, the press has treated one of the most successful coaches in Jets history as unfairly as possible.

Here's to hoping that he goes to the Crash Davis school of media relations and that he continues to say a whole lot of nothing from here on out. 


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