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Rex Ryan mixes fun and won

In an up-and-down season with a rookie head

In an up-and-down season with a rookie head coach (Rex Ryan) and rookie quarterback (Mark Sanchez), the Jets pasted the Cincinnati Bengals, 37-0, in the final game of the season to earn the wild card. After defeating the same Bengals in the AFC Wild Card game, they shocked San Diego in the divisional round thanks to a big game from Shonn Greene and three missed field goals by the Chargers' Nate Kaeding. The dream ride ended in the AFC Championship Game, as Peyton Manning threw for 377 yards and two touchdowns and the Colts beat the Jets, 30-17. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Here is a mini-column in which I posit that Rex Ryan's approach to the job in general and media relations makes this Jets ride to the AFC Championship Game that much more fun for Jets fans than those in 1983 and '99.

I also wrote something for the Tuesday paper about CBS' coverage of the big game, in which I called Phil Simms "feisty and insightful throughout."

Here is a sneak preview to reward you for being an Optimum Online, Newsday or subscriber:

Among his observations were that officials should have overlooked Vincent Jackson kicking the Jets’ replay flag, and that the Chargers erred by trying an onsides kick with more than two minutes left.

But his finest moment was one that initially seemed off base.

Late in the first quarter he said, “Do you think the Jets are upset that their offense hasn’t gotten a first down yet? . . . They don’t care. It’s the pace of play. They’re patient. And when you play their style, you learn to do it.

“They’re happy with the way this game has started, no doubt.’’

On the next play, Philip Rivers hit Jackson for 26 yards. But it turned out Simms’ early sense was on target. The Jets really did have the Chargers where they wanted them.

Simms will analyze the Jets for the duration, as CBS has Super Bowl XLIV. In 1999, he worked the Jets-Broncos AFC title game, his first at CBS.

Photo: Getty

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