Before he hops on a plane and heads down to lovely Mobile, Ala. scouting for Saturday's Senior Bowl, Rex Ryan held his season wrap up press conference out here at on a soggy late afternoon at The Hangar.
Ryan was talking about how nice it would be to host a playoff at the $1.4 billion edifice that sits a Hail Mary away from the soon-to-be-demolished Giants Stadium when he slipped in a reference that he feels the Jets are casting a large shadow over the New York sports scene.
"Let's play this game in front of our fans and our stadium, the New Jets Stadium," he said. "That is going to be [the name of] it when we play in it. I can't wait. We get our stadium and we are not the visitors in our stadium. This is our stadium. We are the biggest show in town and that's what it's going to be. Our players really accepted what we were selling. They really bought in and sometimes that's hard to do when you come in and you're brand new.
"Our fans, I felt, I saw them make a difference. We played New England. I saw the difference. We won that game because of our fans. We really had a huge game against Cincinnati because of the way our players fed off our fans. It was awesome. I want to have that stadium. I want it to be rocking and I expect it to be like that. Our fans should be wearing Jets stuff, too. They don't have to wear it every day like I am, but at least two or three times a week would be fine."
I asked Rex about the peaks and valleys of his rookie season guiding this team, wanting him to describe the roller-coaster the Jets were riding on all season until it came to a halt with yesterday's 30-17 loss to the Colts in the AFC Championship game at gorgeous Lucas Oil Stadium.
Six Flags, anyone?
"It is interesting, because it was like a yo?yo," Ryan said. "We started great and then we about hit rock bottom, came right back up again and then unfortunately, last night, we hit rock bottom again, because there's no tomorrow. That's kind of what it felt like to me. The thing that was great, though, is our players and our coaches had a vision and we believed in it. We knew if we would hang in there, that it was just a matter of time.
"The momentum was coming back to us and we could get this thing going in the right direction and it did. That I'm proud of. When you consider we finished over 28 teams in this League and in a first year of a system, a brand new defense, a rookie quarterback into a brand new system, that's really a good thing."
That's when the colorful Ryan started showing that he bleeds green, not the same color as most of us earthly humans. He wants the players to follow in his footsteps.
"I told our players to wear their Jets stuff and be proud of it," he said. "There's no reason we shouldn't be proud to be a New York Jet. This isn't the 'Same Old Jets' and any negative connotation that way is crazy. Like I said, punch somebody in the nose for it if that's the case."
That last crack drew the laugh track by yours truly and others.
"That's the way we feel because our football team is tough," he added. "We are resilient and I think we are going to get back. We'll see."
A couple of quickies of note from Rex's presser that we haven't hit on yet here today on The Boone Docks:
-- He said the Jets will tender WR Braylon Edwards, which is what we first reported last week. So bank on Braylon's return.
-- DE Shaun Ellis, who broke his left hand in their divisional round victory over the Chargers, will indeed participate in Sunday's Pro Bowl and will hold off on surgery.
-- Rex wants Pro Bowl lockdown CB Darrelle Revis to become more of a vocal defensive leader. He wants this to become Revis' defense.
Lastly, I asked Ryan if this team is set up to contend for years to come with its young nucleus. The hourglass that's counting down the time until the White House visit Ryan promised is ticking with another grain of sand by the second. "That's the plan," he said.
"That's for sure. No question about it. We have to. Remember my opening statement? I would have felt great doing it this year, to be honest with you, because I know I'll be held accountable, and I accept that. I'm thinking, yes, we should be a definite contender these next several years."