By GEORGE WILLIS
Last Updated: 8:57 AM, November 22, 2011
Posted: 1:46 AM, November 22, 2011
Rex Ryan put on a humble face yesterday and said he would accept his wrist slap from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Apparently bad language toward fans is frowned upon in this establishment even though it was OK to show Ryan dropping an unlimited number of F-bombs during the HBO “Hard Knocks” series before the 2010 season. Then it was presumed good for HBO and good for the NFL.
Ryan crossed the line when he was video-taped yelling “Shut the f--- up,” after a fan called out, “Hey Rex, Belichick is better than you,” as the Jets headed toward the locker room at halftime of their eventual, 37-16, loss to the Patriots on Nov. 13.
“It was a mistake and I’ve owned up to that mistake,” Ryan said during his press conference yesterday at the Jets training facility at Florham Park. “There’s no question about it. I’m not going to appeal it. Quite honestly, the man has made a decision and his decision is that I should be fined $75,000 then that’s the way it is. I just want to get it behind me.”
What’s noteworthy is this might be the first time Ryan has apologized for anything he has said since being hired as the Jets’ head coach before the 2009 season. His mouth has been moving non-stop since then, guaranteeing Super Bowls and vowing to take over New York and the like.
Still, this latest trip to the principal’s office has caused his players to rally around their coach. In fact, linebacker Bart Scott is of the opinion it’s the so-called Jets fans who need to shut the (bleep) up (my words not his) when it comes to criticizing Ryan even if the Jets are 5-5 and on the brink of elimination from playoff contention.
“Sometimes fans can say things that get under your skin,” Scott said. “You expect that on the road. It’s kind of discouraging when it comes at home, especially when the game is still achievable and you still have an opportunity to win. You don’t expect to hear discouraging things from your fans, especially to somebody who’s brought success and changed the culture of this team.
“I don’t think he deserves that level of disrespect because he’s laid it all on the line. He’s given this city what they weren’t getting before and that’s an identity, national exposure, a new attitude and a league-wide respect about how we go about business and how hard this team plays for the city.
“For you to forget all that and disrespect him or have an obscene statement or something that could enrage him like that because of one half of one game, it’s almost like someone you take care of and love in your own household, the first time you tell them you can’t loan them any money, they hate you.”
If that sounds like the Jets are circling the wagons, they are. Needing to win just about all of their remaining six games to be assured of a playoff spot, the Jets are trying to maintain their swagger in the midst of a flood of criticism after back-to-back losses to the Patriots and Tim Tebow’s Broncos in Denver. They are being viewed as an underachieving team with a coach who is beginning to sound more like a windbag than a winner.
“That’s what you sign up for in New York,” Scott said. “It’s not, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ It’s, ‘What have you done for me right now?’ ”
That’s the reality of not just New York, but the NFL, where the perception of a season and a coach can change week to week. With the Bills headed for MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Ryan didn’t back down on his belief the Jets can still make the playoffs.
“Absolutely, we can make a run,” he said. “We have the kind of team that can get hot and put it together.”
At this point, talk is cheap.
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