Never short on confidence, Rex Ryan told the New York media Wednesday that he believes the Jets should be “the favorite” in the Super Bowl trophy race.
When asked for his thoughts on his team being the “biggest underdog” – and not one of the few favorites to win it all -- the head coach paused briefly and said:
“Yeah, I wasn’t aware of that. To me, we should be favorites, so that’s fine.”
And Ryan didn’t backpedal when asked to clarify his remarks a few minutes later.
“I mean, in the whole tournament,” he said. “You know the way I feel. I think we have the best defense, I know we do. I know we have the best rushing attack. So, those are too huge factors in our favor. I think with a couple of exceptions on our staff – myself, probably – I think we have a great coaching staff.
“I want this football team. I’m not going to trade our team. If I had a choice to coach any team in the tournament, I would choose this one.”
That’s certainly high praise – and yet another potential bull’s-eye on the backs of his players as they head into their AFC wild-card rematch with Cincinnati Saturday.
Though Ryan’s comments caught some of his players off-guard, they didn’t shy away from their coach’s bold proclamation.
“If he says it, we believe it,” safety Kerry Rhodes said with a laugh. “That’s the way it’s been all year. …He’s confident and that’s what we take from it as well. We’re a confident team as well. We definitely know no team wants to face us right now. We’re playing at a very high level right now and we’re going to be a tough out for anybody.”
Cornerback Darrelle Revis was also surprised by Ryan’s comments and appeared to laugh somewhat nervously before co-signing his coach’s assertion.
“Uh, that’s a bold answer right there,” he said. “But you know what, I have to back my coach up. We just feel very confident right now. All the pieces are falling together for us on all cylinders. The offense has been rolling, the defense has been rolling as well. I just think we need to keep the momentum we have and just ride it until the wheels fall off.”