You've Been Manipulated: The Genius of Rex Ryan

QualmsContributor ISeptember 17, 2009

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - MAY 02:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets speaks to the media during minicamp on May 2, 2009 at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

This week, leading up to one of the most evenly matched Jets-Patriots games in recent history, everyone is talking about Rex Ryan this and Rex Ryan that. Therein lies the genius of the man. 

Throughout this week and all the way up to gametime, you can expect the media and the analysts on overcrowded pregame shows (which now seem to feature almost anyone who has played, coached, or watched a game and owns a suit) to harp on what Rex Ryan has said about the New England Patriots and their easy-to-hate, hoodie-wearing mastermind of a coach, Bill Belichick.

"I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick's rings," Ryan casually said in a radio interview this past summer.

As a result, everyone is pinning this matchup on Ryan vs. Belichick.

The brazen new guy who won't back down against the proven winner.

The guy who talks too much against the guy who rarely speaks.

Did it ever occur to anyone that this is exactly what Ryan wants?

Those who think of Ryan as a loud-mouth who doesn't know when to shut up, and a spewer of bulletin board material are not only completely missing the point, but being manipulated.

Let's look at the facts: The New York Jets have a rookie quarterback; the New England Patriots have perhaps the best on the planet, and one of the most clutch of all time.

The Patriots have won three Super Bowls in the past nine years, while the Jets have won only one ever. The Jets have not won a home game against the Patriots since 2000.

And yet the focus is on the coaches.

With his remarks, Rex Ryan did two things. He sent a message to his team that he came here to win and is not intimidated by anyone, even the Patriots. He also took the focus, and therefore a lot of the pressure and scrutiny, off his players, and put it onto himself.

Now, instead of the headlines focusing on Sanchez vs. Brady, how the Jets defense will stop Randy Moss and Wes Welker, or how the rookie QB will be facing the defense of a mastermind in only his second professional game, it is about two guys who won't even be wearing pads on Sunday.

The Jets players can go about their business and prepare for a heated rivalry game while their coach shoulders the load with reporters and gets criticized by the media.

Some may argue that Ryan is adding fuel to the fire, giving the Patriots extra motivation for Sunday. But Ryan is seemingly indifferent to what others may think, or what consequences his actions may have on outsiders.

Quite frankly, and I couldn't agree more, Ryan cares more about what his team thinks and how his actions will affect them than anything else. Isn't that the way it should be? Isn't that refreshing?

When Rex Ryan said what he said back in June, the message got to his players loud and clear. It helped the players buy into Ryan's persona, believe in their coach, and expect a lot from themselves.

His bravado and his "I don't care what you think" attitude benefited the New York Jets. Case closed.

To him, that's all that matters. To him, that makes it worthwhile.

So the next time Ryan shoots off his mouth, and let's be honest, he most definitely will, don't be so quick to dismiss it as overconfidence and trash talk. Give the man a little more credit than that.

Think about who is being shielded from the spotlight while their coach is directly under it.  


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