New York Jets Fans Can Savor The Joy Of Rex Ryan

Cecil HarrisCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 29:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets looks on against the New York Giants on August 29, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

New York Jets fans have reason to feel giddy after the team’s dominant performance in the season-opening victory over the Texans. Now, as Sunday’s showdown against the Patriots draws near, Coach Rex Ryan has given fans another reason to smile.


In recorded comments that Jets season-ticket holders will hear in an automated call, Ryan is appealing to fans to be loud and proud—actually, to be difference-makers—in the home opener at Giants Stadium.


Ryan, managing to sound deferential while keeping his tongue firmly planted against his cheek, says in the message that while the Pats clearly have the edge at head coach and quarterback, the Pats should have no answer Sunday for the intensity and passion of Jets’ fans.


Fans of Gang Green, Ryan asserts, should be The 12th Man that carries the team to 2-0 and into first place in the AFC East.


Jets fans are always energized when the Pats come to town. Now, Ryan wants to make sure the energy level is ramped up even higher, while also taking a subtle dig at the Pats.


Good for Ryan. The man adds spice to what is often called the No Fun League.


Ryan has already engaged in a verbal battle with Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder—and the Jets don’t see Miami until October 12—and now he’s raising the stakes on the Jets-Patriots rivalry.


Why not? The Jets may have enough talent on defense, running back, offensive line, quarterback, and the coaching staff to wrest the division title away from New England.


Clearly, the Jets kept their best blitz packages under wraps during the preseason because the unprepared Texans didn’t know what hit them last Sunday.


The Jets made a team with such potent weapons as wide receiver Andre Johnson, quarterback Matt Schaub and running back Steve Slaton look inept.


And since the Pats were fortunate to escape with a 25-24 win over the mediocre Bills, the Jets may be ready to make a major statement on Sunday.


Ryan always seems ready to make major statements. Jets fans won’t mind that at all as long as the team backs him up.


The Texans entered the season as a chic pick to make the playoffs, and they still might. But the Jets looked twice as good as Houston in the opener.


When Ryan became the Jets’ coach in January, he said he doesn’t intend to kiss the ring of Pats coach Bill Belichick, or let his team take a backseat to the perennial AFC East leaders.


That’s Ryan—a chip off the block of his shoot-from-the-lip father, Buddy Ryan.


You can bet Rex Ryan privately can’t wait to take down the Pats, or see his gifted rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez someday draw favorable comparisons to Tom Brady.


How long will it take for Ryan to tweak Brady by saying, “My quarterback’s supermodel-girlfriend is even better-looking than Gisele”?


If any NFL head coach would dare go there, it’s Ryan. Already, he has brought a swagger and toughness to the Jets that has not been seen since the days of Bill “the Tuna” Parcells.


Now if Ryan’s team can get consistent pressure on Brady this Sunday and put him on his back more than a few times and win the game, then Jets fans will be absolutely raving about the joy of Rex.