The NFL playoffs have proven once again to be full of excitement, disappointment and clashing egos that keep things interesting both on and off the field.
One of the most exciting teams to watch and listen to this postseason has been the New York Jets. Jets coach Rex Ryan is one of those coaches who is not afraid to put his reputation on the line by engaging in big talk. Unlike other coaches in the league who generally prefer to keep things on the field and will often punish outspoken players, Ryan has no problem with his players bragging before games as long as they back it up on the field.
I'm sure some people would prefer that Ryan remove himself from the limelight, sit down, shut up and get over himself, but what would be the fun in that? The 2011 playoffs have been interesting and exciting to watch for many reasons including the exceptional skill of Aaron Rodgers, the tough Steelers showing they have what it takes to make it in the playoffs year after year and the always competitive New England Patriots looking to make another big run. These have all made the playoffs interesting, but the best part is simply the New York Jets being the New York Jets. Sometimes it's necessary to accept that sports can't be all about humility, grace and polite handshakes. This is football after all and sometimes it's fun to watch teams that are full of talk, especially if they are as good as they say.
The week before their playoff match up against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Jan. 16, Jets players and Ryan were full of predictions, narcissism and jabs taken at the other team. Like it or not however the Jets were able to proove their big talk right with an impressive 28-21 victory over the Patriots, proving that they can put their money where their mouth is. Obnoxious as Ryan is, he proved himself by out-coaching Bill Belicheck. When you play that way and can put together a game like that against formidable opponents, you earn the right to be excited, to brag and even to celebrate your victory with arms outstretched.
Unfortunately the Jets are not going to win the Superbowl as Ryan had predicted because of last weekend's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the show won't stop here. In his comments following their loss on Sunday Ryan discussed the bright future of the Jets franchise, looked back on their playoff successes the past two seasons and gloated on their big win against the Patriots. He is right, their future does look bright. Hopefully the Jets stick around and continue to play the same aggressive, dirty and exiting football that they have shown this post-season.
If you can mix good football and good coaching in with your off-the-field antics then you've earned the right to gloat. It's only when you can't walk the walk that your talk grows tiresome and obnoxious. The Jets care about football and have a coach that they rally around and will stand behind. Respect them for their big wins and laugh at them for their unoriginal chatter and taunts.