From the day Rex Ryan was introduced as head coach of the New York Jets, I could tell he was going to put his imprint on the team. But despite his size, I never thought his mark would be so big. From day one he instilled a confidence and swagger with Gang Green that I never seen before.
From the day he said he wasn't in New York to kiss Bill Belichick's rings, to when he cried in front of everyone, everyone could tell that his heart and soul was invested in this team. How could the Jets have beaten the Patriots if they were in awe of them? They had to be cocky and arrogant and genuinely believe they could do it—from the very beginning.
I knew Ryan would be great on the defensive side of the ball, but not this good. The chemistry on the defense is unparalleled by any that I've seen by any Jets team in the past. We've watched Darelle Revis blossom into the best corner in the league, hands down. Their defense definitely made up for rookie Mark Sanchez's mistakes, especially his interceptions.
Thinking like a winner, at the beginning of the playoffs Rex proclaimed he wass expecting a Super Bowl win and parade. That's the way to think. Is he supposed to tell his team to just try, or that he hopes they win?
That is how winners are built, by not fearing their opponent. If a fighter stepped into the ring with Mike Tyson with the mentality of "hoping" to win, or just being in awe, their weakness and fear would be discovered and exploited. The same thing applies to Peyton Manning. Going into a game facing the best quarterback ever, in my opinion, fear is not an option.
Rex deflected the pressure off his players with his press conference statements. Not only did it light a fire under his players to play at their best to not embarrass themselves or their coach, but it now puts the pressure solely on Indy. After all, they have Peyton Manning, and people expect them to win. They're supposed to be here. Every season, the Super Bow is a realistic expectation for them.
We were unsure the Jets would even make the playoffs. Rex had big plans and high expectations. If you shoot for the moon, you might just hit the stars. Aim high. If they don't beat Indy, they weren't supposed to win anyway. But if they do, Rex set a high goal and achieved it. He got his team to believe in him and believe in themselves.
Bart Scott summed it up pretty well after the win in San Diego when he said: "We're not the Phoenix Suns, or the Golden State Warriors. We're like the old school Pistons. Old school Knicks. We win ugly. Tune in if you wanna."
I haven't seen such inspiring performances since the Yankees and Mets took the field after the 9-11 attacks.
Rex proved the old saying right: If you believe it, you can achieve it. If we achieve it, then belief turns into reality. Tune in. You play to win the game. Regardless if the opponent is superior or not. Every team should be in the preseason, striving to go 16-0. I always said that defense wins championships, in every sport. Let's see if Rex got it right. So far so good. Tune in this Sunday at 3:00, I surely will.