This was the scene in the Jets locker room a little more than seven months ago.
Big celebration at the end of the regular season after winning the AFC East again? Nope. Rex Ryan got to keep his job.
With the winds of continued employment in his sails, Rex rediscovered his voice this offseason.
The latest bleating revealed in the New York Post on Sunday (from a June interview) had Ryan directing the Patriots to be concerned about the Jets.
“Somebody asked me if we focus on New England.” Ryan told The Post. “We’re focused on us. We’re focused on us and how are we going to be better. I have to be honest, I don’t worry about them. They need to worry about us. I think that’s really where we’re at now.”
Ryan has a knack for making bold proclamations in interviews then adding a bunch of qualifying comments that get lesser play. It allows the “Rex being Rex” defense and provides the opportunity for his legion of defenders to say, “What else is he supposed to say?”
The round of qualifiers in his interview with the Post’s Brian Costello were designed to underscore his tremendous authenticity.
“I’m an average-ass guy, but given an unbelievable opportunity,” Ryan told Costello. “I know I can coach. I know I can lead. This is a sport that guys will see phonies. Guys can tell you who is a phony and who is the real deal. One thing I know I am, I know I’m the real deal. I’ll tell you what I believe to be the truth. I think you would assume that’s easy to do. It’s not. I’ve never wavered from what I want for this football team, the vision I have for this team. It’s been consistent from the day I took the job.
“I think that’s a reason I’m still here. I’m not a phony. Have I made mistakes? I’ve made a million mistakes. But I don’t know how many more guys will be more dedicated to their team and their belief and their organization than I am.”
Which is why – even when the Jets miss the playoffs – they can pop the champagne when the news comes down that Rex is sticking around.