INDIANAPOLIS -- Remember Rex Ryan's long-ago guarantee that he would make it to Super Bowl XLVI? Turns out he did, sort of.
Ryan is in town doing promotional work, but his biggest moment here came Thursday during a screening of a new Adam Sandler movie, "That's My Boy," due out in June. His small role drew big laughs from an audience that included Sandler and other cast members (but not Ryan).
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It was reported in November that Ryan would play a lawyer who is a big Patriots fan, but the fact that the Patriots will play here Sunday on the stage Ryan longed to reach added to the comedic impact.
In Ryan's most extensive scene, he discusses a financial problem with Sandler's character, who throws a chair in frustration at a Tom Brady poster on the wall.
"C'mon, Donny, don't screw up my Tom Brady poster!" Ryan's character says. "Look at that jaw line, and just the right amount of scruff."
Later Sandler's character grabs a Bill Belichick bobblehead off the desk. "Hey, hey, hey, you're killing me, man," Ryan says. "Don't mess with the genius!"
Ryan appears in two other key scenes, one in voice only.
So how did he do?
"Rex gets a lot of laughs in that movie, I'm telling you," said Sandler's producing partner, Jack Giarraputo. "For a rookie, I think I would re-sign him to a long-term deal."
Did Giarraputo, a Giants fan from Patchogue, consider casting Tom Coughlin instead? He laughed and said, "We thought it would be funny if he were a Belichick and Brady fan. We had a lot of fun shooting it, and Rex was really good-natured and fun with it. We shot in Boston, and the crew got a kick out of it. The whole crew was Patriots fans."
Sandler comes to the Super Bowl most years to promote movies, for practical reasons.
"It's a male audience, and where else can you find a male audience so concentrated in one area?" Giarraputo said. "We've done a lot of sports movies in the past and we'll probably do a lot of sports movies in the future, so I think that we like to let them know what's coming."
He was wearing a Giants shirt as he spoke.
"This year it's a bonus for me because my own team is playing, so I had to be like a player and get extra tickets for a bunch of family and friends from Long Island," said Giarraputo, who now lives in California. "I listened to Eli Manning and got that done last week, so now I can focus on my work."
Ryan may have had fun playing a Patriots fan in Sandler's new movie, but he's certainly not enjoying the fact that two Jets rivals are playing in the Super Bowl.
"Look, I respect both these teams a great deal," Ryan told the Boston Herald at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday. "But to say you have your natural rival from New England in the Super Bowl and then you have somebody you share a stadium with, yeah, it's pretty rough."
Ryan joked that it might be a good thing if he stays scarce while in town. Room service probably never sounded so good.
"We try to kind of laugh about it, but, man, coming down here this week for the Super Bowl -- man, that's something," Ryan said. "The one thing I'll do, I'll just do my thing and then go to my room, because one thing I know is that everyone involved in this game is anti-Rex Ryan.
"That's the way it is," he said. "But I appreciate kind of going in as a villain on the road anyway."
With Roderick Boone