I have been thinking about this all day: Rex Ryan broke all the rules this season.
No coach calls out the other team's coach and quarterback like Ryan did with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and gets away with it. No coach celebrates with a player that just got a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration. No coach encourages his players to say whatever is on their minds, even if expletives are used against the opposing MVP quarterback.
This is a league of integrity and rules that date back to the stone age. Who is this Rex Ryan that talks trash and backs it up? Not since Muhammad Ali have we seen something so outrageous and fun.
For anybody who thinks the NFL's stuffy rules have gone too far, this was a victory. For every fan who has seen their tickets priced out of their price range, this was a free sideline pass.
Somebody slipped into the NFL when nobody was watching and turned this league upside down. You mean you can actually have fun playing football and still kick some butt? How many players will be trying to sign up for the Rex Express this offseason? Is a new day dawning in the NFL?
Let me give you a few quotes from when I have met with Jets players this season:
Shonn Greene: "I have been playing football since I was six years old. Players, coaches, all the way to the janitors all love him. We respect him because he always tells us the truth. We love him."
Antonio Cromartie: "Rex Ryan makes it a relaxing place where you can have fun. I lost my passion for the game in San Diego the last two years. Rex has given it back to me."
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Jason Taylor: "Rex Ryan really wanted me, that meant a lot to me after Miami determined that I didn't have anything left. I am thinking about playing another year for one reason, Rex Ryan."
Bart Scott: "We want Rex to be successful so more head coaches will be like him. He will let you speak your mind and not be afraid. He always makes you feel important. My first head coach wouldn't even speak to me in the hallways."
This week some Giants players basically said they wish Tom Coughlin would coach more like Rex. It is a theme I am hearing around the league. Rex hasn't even won anything as a head coach yet.
Can you imagine if the Jets win a Super Bowl? Rex may make the NFL feel uncomfortable, but his style is drawing Muhammad Ali like ratings and reactions on both sides. You may like or dislike Rex Ryan and his style, but regardless, you have to watch.
For more from Cris Collinsworth, check out FootballPros.com every week.
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