Coach of the Year: Rex Ryan Delivers in Every Way Possible

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets stands on the field prior to the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Forget Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, and even Jim Caldwell.  Rex Ryan is the coach of the year.

The New York Jets, once a struggling team that went through numerous phases of injury, poor passing, and poor coaching, is now a playoff team that even the strongest of dynasties fear.

Rex Ryan was also once a nobody.  However, he is a guy that has football in his blood and a desire for the game that the greatest of coaches must have in order to succeed.

Combine these two together, and you get the 2010 New York Jets.  Okay, so they aren't exactly Super Bowl champions just yet, but they are making a case for themselves right now.

Rewind two weeks ago and you would've found hundreds of people (myself included) criticising Rex Ryan on his recent statement about the Jets being favorites in the playoffs.  People ridiculed him, questioned him, and even laughed at him, but as the saying goes, "Those who laugh last laugh best."

With a smile a mile wild on the sidelines today in San Diego, Rex Ryan knew that he had coached his young team well enough to believe in themselves and win some games.  Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez is looking like a future star, and so are Shonn Greene and Darrelle Revis.  The Jets as a whole, though, are finally together and are working as one to reach a goal that the franchise hasn't experienced in over four decades.

Game wise, the Jets weren't exactly perfect against San Diego, but they were good enough to pull off the upset. The first half showed jitters and woes, but the second half was as solid as the previous week had been against Cincinnati.  Mark Sanchez missed the odd throw and the Chargers often burned the Jets defense. 

LaDainian Tomlinson was stopped in nearly every way possible and when the Jets made defensive stand after defensive stand in the second half, you got the feeling that the momentum had shifted.

The term that everybody seems to be using this week is "underdog."  A title that the New York Jets feed off of for success.  With one game to go against the Indianapolis Colts, the Jets have punched their ticket and are heading to Lucas Oil Stadium more focused than ever. 

Respect is certainly due for Rex Ryan.  A man who once looked like a buffoon in front of the press now looks like a Vince Lombardi-like genius.  Talking seems to be his forte, and when he can deliver like he has, there's no real need for him to stop.

A huge task is at hand, but the Gatorade is certainly ready to be thrown for the Jets next Sunday.  At the moment, though, NFL fans nationwide need to live in the moment.  The Jets have upset the San Diego Chargers, a team that was supposed to go to the Super Bowl this year.  High Voltage?  Who cares?  It's J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets, all the way to Indy this week.