The National Football League is full of paradoxes.
The league likes to say that it cares about the safety of its players, yet it allows things like this and this to happen. Hell, the league lives off of it, that sort of brutality is what gets people to watch the games.
Just as long as that doesn't happen to pretty boy quarterbacks, right Commissioner Goodell?
I can understand that. It's business. But at the same time, the league cannot constantly project the corporate, clean cut image they constantly try and ram down our throats.
I mean, I don't think Roger Goodell has unclenched since he's taken the job as NFL commissioner!
He parades himself as this enforcer, straightening out a league gone wild, while he resides over a sport that makes its name on brutality. How hypocritical is that?
But I have to say that Goodell has done a good job. He's maintained suspensions for player such as Santonio Holmes for smoking pot and he's reduced the suspension for model citizens like Ben Roethlisberger.
Way to go, Ben! You did a good job of um...not, um...trying to rape women over the past few months? For that you deserve a reduction of your suspension from six games to four...I guess?
Living up to this corporate identity are guys like Tony Dungy and Bill Belichick.
I have to say, Tony Dungy is a nice guy. How nice is he? Well he is so nice that he criticizes Rex Ryan for the smallest of offenses, such as swearing. He's also pretty intolerant and likes to support guys like this.
Isn't he a swell guy? And not the least bit hypocritical...just like the NFL!
From two of the most influential coaches in the past decade we have learned important lessons that should be applied throughout the NFL: don't swear, be modest, keep quiet, and for God sake's don't worry about any other player and the health risk this sport poses other than your star QB.
It's all in the best interest of the league, right?
To quote what I'd imagine Rex Ryan would say to that, "f@#k that!"
This league is built on violence, confidence, and more violence sprinkled in for fun.
This current New York Jets team is nothing more than the personification of everything the NFL has been trying to run away from in the past decade but cannot hope to escape.
From their style of play to their outspokenness, the Jets under Rex Ryan are the embodiment of everything this league is about.
And oddly enough many opposing fans hate them for it. They criticize the Jets outspokenness.
But aren't all fans outspoken in support of their team? Don't they wish their team would be just as outspoken in their wish to fulfill their hopes and dreams? Doesn't the league thrive on poise and confidence? Where is there room for modesty in a league where grown men bash each other's heads in?
If you were to believe Goodell and the coaching models set forth by Dungy and Belichick then you believe this league is corporate and straight line.
But the evidence is stacked against these false idols. Despite their attempts to make this league appear as anything other than a cutthroat, dirty entity where men with all sorts of flaws reside, each and every fan realizes that this is anything other than the truth.
For a guy like Rex Ryan this culture is something that is embraceable, not something that should be avoided.
Rex isn't perfect. His struggles with weight lose are well documented, but at least he doesn't sleep around and cheat; nor does he criticize other men for swearing while bashing people's way of life and supporting a criminal.
And, to a fault, Rex personifies this league. He is a violent man at times (everything I refer to is in that article if you take the time to find it). This is in no way meant to glorify Rex Ryan or the Jets. In a league that builds itself on violence it takes a man that regularly got into fights as a young man, or a grown adult who bloodied his neighbors face in a dispute, to fully engender just what exactly this league consists of.
Rex Ryan and the New York Jets are not some maverick outlier in a league full of straight-buttoned suits.
They are a manifestation of everything this league is about yet tries to hide away. They are brash, they are boisterous, and they are dangerous.
Ryan and the Jets are brash just like the game of football, where players hurtle their bodies at one another with fervor. They are boisterous just like the game of football, where the crack of helmets and pads smacking against one another is only trumped by the sound of expletives that flow from players and coaches, expressing frustration, exhilaration, and pain. They are dangerous because Rex Ryan promises if you take out one of ours, we'll take out two of yours. Just like a league that pays back glory with exponential suffering.
In that regard Ryan and the Jets are not something to be glorified.
But boy do I hope they win.
Firstly because I am a Jets fan, but secondly because I think this team and this coach are exactly what the NFL has coming to it. They are the exactly what this league does not want to admit it is, a bizarro Superman of the league's corporate image if you will.
This second reason is for no other reason than the fact that winning makes sheeple out of the masses. Winning overshadows an individuals faults. Could you imagine if people deified Ryan like they do Dungy and Belichick?
I think Goodell would have a heart attack, or maybe it would provide him occasion to unclench and come to grips with the reality of the sort of organization he runs; one in which a seedy character might not necessarily be a detriment to success.
The Jets are the monstrous visage of the NFL's reality exactly because Ryan and his staff exalt the kind of things highlighted in the first two links of this article...and they're not afraid to admit it.
In a league full of contradictions Rex Ryan and the Jets seem to be the only team willing to admit they are just what this league endorses: violence and testosterone-filled vitriol that rarely ever looks at the consequences of what it brings about.
The funny thing is fans of opposing teams seem to criticize the Ryan and the Jets for this attitude. "They are too arrogant," they will say. But the reality is the NFL is abound in arrogance, from individual franchises to their fanbases.
Perhaps it is as Kant says, "Here as elsewhere, when things are considered in broad perspective, a strange, unexpected pattern in human affairs reveals itself, one in which almost everything is paradoxical."
In the NFL it seems just about the only thing that isn't a paradox is Rex Ryan and the New York Jets.