It’s on days like Saturday, when New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has the crowd eating right out of his outstretched hand, that it’s easy to think that maybe the guy isn’t that big of a boob after all.
After all, if there’s one thing Ryan knows how to do better than draft a competent quarterback, it’s work a room. That and many, many other things, but we digress…
After his team practiced on Saturday in Cortland, N.Y., Ryan decided to have some fun with the Jets media, a sometimes odd brigade with an unhealthy obsession of Bill Belichick, that often carries itself as if it were assigned to cover games under the Big Top, which, well...
Ryan summoned ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini - in his 26th season, the senior member on the Jets beat - to take the podium, as he chose to join the scribes and ask the questions on this day in a role reversal press conference.
“I wish I had turned sideways during one of Ryan's questions, impersonating his now-infamous response during the postgame grilling after the Mark Sanchez injury last summer, but it didn't cross my mind as I stood behind the podium. I obviously choked under the pressure. I'm sure Ryan would've laughed. Clearly, he doesn't take himself too seriously.
“Not many coaches would've staged a role reversal. Could you imagine Belichick sitting with the evil media and asking questions? Not a chance. In a league of paranoia and tight rear ends, Ryan is a rare breed.
“He's a regular guy, willing to hang out with those who sometimes make his life difficult. That says a lot about a person.”
After Cimini finished writing, he and Rex apparently got some frozen yogurt together, then took a jolly skip through a field of daisies - with Harry Nilsson blaring from a car off in the distance - to work off the calories.
It may indeed say a lot about a person, but it says next to nothing about a coach. With a pair of 8-8 campaigns sandwiching a 6-10 season the last three years, 2014 could be a make-or-break year for Ryan as head coach of the Jets, a team the head coach insisted was good enough to be in reach of the Super Bowl last month. Then everybody just kind of giggled at the words any coach in his same situation might say.
“I’m just telling you that I believe this team is on the cusp of doing some special things,” he said. “I’m confident we will be a playoff team.”
Thirty-one other coaches say that, and it’s filed as a throwaway line. In the thirsty New York media, especially coming from Rex Ryan, it’s an intentional, brash shot at the rest of the league. And the rest of the world acts accordingly by rolling their collective eyes.
This is what happens when you are a laughingstock like the Jets. But hey, what a fella. No arguments here.
Of course, if the same tables were turned, as Cimini suggested, in Foxborough, the results might lead to Belichick giving a much deeper look into his feelings for the everyday media. In terms of laughs, Ryan would be “Caddyshack,” while Belichick would be “War of the Roses,” a dark comedy that aims at an introspective look of a person’s true being wrapped in a satirical nature. Knee slaps vs. uncomfortable fidgeting. I do suppose it would be worth it if only to see whether Belichick would pepper a member of the media with an in-depth scheming question that he or she couldn't possibly answer, or just show how dumb it sounds when somebody asks if the [insert dome, heat in Miami, thin air in Denver, etc.] will play a big role in the game.
Ryan’s stunt was cute. Transparent, but cute.
Everybody Loves Rex. If Ryan is headed out after this season, at least he can have some people on his side on his way out the door.
That's because everybody loves a winner too. There’s zero guarantee that they can be the same person.
More from this blog on: Patriots