FLORHAM PARK, N.J.
Well, Rex Ryan went and did it again. Opened his big mouth, popped off about getting a couple Super Bowl rings if he'd gotten the Chargers' job instead of Norv Turner in 2007, and then said it was all a misunderstanding, that he didn't intend it as a shot at Turner.
So there it is, another bullet point on Ryan's long list of quotes to note, right up there with the "kiss Belichick's rings'' line and the rest of the outspoken coach's litany of controversial remarks.
As LaDainian Tomlinson, the former Chargers star, would say, it's "Rex being Rex."
Surely, the bombastic coach gets on the nerves of opposing coaches and players (hey, the guy once welcomed a fight with former Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder) -- not to mention fans who like their coaches to keep their colorful remarks within the confines of the locker room and not blare them through the loudspeaker of the media.
To which I say: When was the last time something that came out of Ryan's mouth did any real harm to his team or his players?
Haven't cared for the Belichick tweaks over the years? Well, if they were so bad, why is Ryan the only coach to beat Belichick in each of the previous two seasons?
Tired of Ryan's Super Bowl proclamations? Well, what would you prefer, a coach who would rather not publicly profess what his job is supposed to be all about? Haven't we had that around here before? You need me to name the post-Weeb Ewbank coaches who failed to capture the imagination of their players, not to mention their fan base?
Sure, Ryan can be outrageous at times with his wild predictions of greatness. And maybe there are times when it would be best to dial it back, at least on occasion. But with two straight runs to the AFC Championship Game, he has nearly matched that outward bravado with on-field results. And with a young quarterback who already has four road playoff victories on his resume, why not try and shoot the moon every time?
Say what you will about the guy, but his players love the way Ryan talks. And they have responded to him, showing a fierce loyalty regardless of what happens on the field.
"I think Rex's style definitely has an impact on players," Tomlinson said. "Rex is a guy that is able to relate to his players, get something out of them more than what possibly can be done sometimes . . . He has a way of challenging guys, as a team or individually."
Sometimes his way of challenging his players will rub a lot of people outside the locker room the wrong way. As it did Turner, who uncharacteristically shot back at Ryan after the crack he made about winning Super Bowls if he'd gotten the San Diego job.
"I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he's guaranteed the last couple of years," Turner said after hearing about Ryan's quote.
That's the first time I can ever remember Turner going public with a remark like that. It was a great line, and maybe it fired up his players. Or maybe it showed that Ryan is inside his head.
After all, Turner's Chargers teams have been loaded with talent, only to fizzle in the playoffs during his run there. The knock against him is that he can't win the big one. And so far, he hasn't.
Ryan hasn't either. But he's still swinging for the fences with an in-your-face style that his players adore, even if his rivals detest it.