So, anyone who knows me knows that my favorite sports team is the NY Jets. Ever since I was introduced to Joe Namath a long time ago, on a practice field far, far away I have literally lived and died watching that team. Well, actually pieces of furniture and all manner of breakables have died and I have sacrificed vast quantities of Cherry Twizzlers as fuel as well. So, when Rex Ryan was announced as coach of the team, I was filled with hope. I’ve been a long proponent of the “Joe Namath sold his soul” so the Jets could win their one Super Bowl title, a theory that was immortalized in Adam Sandler’s ridiculously funny Little Nicky. I mean come on, Vinny Testaverde resurrects his career with the Jets and in the season that they are expected to get to the SB, he tears out his Achilles Tendon, along with the Jets SB hopes, early in the season. Then, a few years later, the Jets announce that Bill Belichick is going to be their next head coach and before he can even coach a game he leaves and goes to rival New England and wins multiple Super Bowls while the NYJ don’t even get to the big game? How’s that for cursed? Yet, over the last year R2 has done nothing but show that he is the right man to help lead the Jets out of the perdition with his flaming sword of braggadocio, his shield of “Inyourface” and his +5 steel-toed boots of stomping. During his brief tenure he has helped turn around a franchise that seemed destined to rival the Chicago Cubs for title futility in the modern era (the old, old Cubs won a lot more championships than the NYJ have for you CC fans out there). Now in his second year, R2 is taking heat for not only being boastful and arrogant but his critics are also attacking him for being foul-mouthed on a cable channel (Heaven forbid!).
Well, all I have to say about that is ‘Give ‘em Hell Rex!” and don’t change a thing. Whether the Jets win a Super Bowl or not he has made the Jets relevant again. He, along with the rest of the extremely talented coaching staff, GM Mike Tannenbaum and the rest of the Jets organization are helping reshape a franchise that was no different than most other losing organizations to one where winning is expected, supported and anything less than being great is not tolerated. The man can flat out coach a defense and one day, after he has learned how to be a great head coach, I believe his record will speak for itself (R2 will play down his contribution and credit his players as he has done already). Anybody can talk a good game but I think when all is said and done that R2 will be able to back it up. While I have certainly done my share of talking for AUSI/Mythic, I have never been willing to commit publicly to the kind of statements that R2 has made (maybe it’s the lawyer in me) and I respect him for it. Not because he can hype (the late, great Billy Mays could hype anything) but because he’s willing to put himself out there and be the lightning rod for the criticism while he’s doing it. That I can relate to and IMHO, that is worthy of respect. Love him or loathe him, hate the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets or adore them but R2 is a hell of a leader by continually demonstrating his willingness to do what it takes to create a winning attitude and a winning team while still being the kind of guy that his players apparently love to play for. IMHO, we could all learn something from him.
P.S. I don’t actually believe that Joe sold his soul so the Jets could win the Super Bowl but it makes for a good water cooler story.