|Rex Ryan called the Super Bowl matchup a 'cruel joke.' (Getty Images)|
By Ryan Wilson
More than anyone, maybe even Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, Jets head coach Rex Ryan is happy to put the 2011 season behind him. His third year in New York began like the previous two: with talk of championships. Except this time, the Jets not only fell short of the AFC Championship game (where they had lost in 2009 and 2010), at 8-8 they didn't even make the playoffs.
By the final week of the season, one that ended with an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins, team captain Santonio Holmes had been benched for insolence. In the end-of-year press conference days later, Ryan spent most of his time explaining why everything went so horribly wrong and promising to fix it in the coming months.
Of course, Ryan says a lot of things, not all of them believable, starting with the annual championship guarantees. He also said he's committed to quarterback Mark Sanchez, which might be true right up till the moment a better offer comes along. And then there are his prognosticatory skills. In the days leading up to the AFC Championship game between the Ravens and Patriots, Ryan boldly predicted that Baltimore is "going to win this game."
So now Billy Cundiff knows who to blame for that.
Ryan, like the rest of the NFL world, was in Indianapolis for Super Bowl week. On Wednesday, he told the Newark Star-Ledger's Jenny Vrentas that when the championship matchup between the Giants and Patriots was set, it felt like a "cruel joke."
Still, the Giants winning their second Lombardi Trophy in four years hasn't provided Ryan with extra motivation heading into 2012.
“Absolutely not,” he said Wednesday at the annual luncheon for the Long Island Association, where he also participated in a panel discussion with Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms. “You can’t be more motivated than we are. ...
|Click to enlarge Sanchez's Valentine Day message. (Twitter)|
Ryan also reiterated what he's said several times this offseason: “2011 was a huge disappointment for us, but if we don’t learn from it, then we’ll repeat the same mistakes. We are not going to do that; we’ll learn from it.”
Oh, and to set the record straight (we're looking at you, Norv Turner), technically, Ryan does have a Super Bowl ring -- he earned it as an assistant with the Ravens in 2000 (hey, if it counts for Trent Dilfer then it counts for Ryan). He spoke of more rings but thankfully didn't offer a specific time frame.
“I plan on getting another one, and I plan on getting it quickly,” Ryan said.
The coach, now heading into his fourth season, might have his biggest job in front of him. High on the to-do list: fixing the locker room. However, he may have one less thing to worry about: the awkwardness between Sanchez and Holmes. On Valentine's Day, Sanchez (who is reportedly dating Kate Upton -- yep, the same one Brinson somehow corralled for a few minutes in Indy) sent Holmes a very special tweet (it's to the right there -- click on the photo to enlarge).
No word yet from Holmes.
Ryan's response Wednesday when Esiason pointed it out to him? "Pretty funny."
Yep, right up until the moment Holmes again quits on Sanchez and his teammates. Until then, it's hilarious.
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