Rex Ryan has been classic Rex Ryan this week, and that’s perfectly fine.
The Bills head coach has had a blast with the media, from his Bill Belichick impression to begin his press conference on Monday, to disguising himself as a Buffalo News reporter during a conference call with Julian Edelman to ask the wide receiver if he was playing quarterback.
Neither of those playful happenings should be categorized as Rex "poking the bear," although many on Twitter have suggested he’s doing just that.
It’d be one thing if the Bills head coach was disparaging Belichick or scoffing at the idea of Tom Brady as one of the league’s best.
But he hasn’t done that... at all.
(Side note: Even if Rex openly mocked or criticized, it wouldn’t magically make Belichick coach better. I’ll have more on that later.)
In fact, in between the Belichick impersonation and the conference-call question, Rex has heaped a Belichickian amount of praise on the New England head coach, Brady and, essentially, the entire Patriots organization all as NFL gold standards. But those comments aren’t as headline-able, and they’ve quickly and mostly been forgotten.
And, actually, I’ve never met Belichick, but he seems like the type of guy who’d watch the impersonation, emit one, monotone “ha” with a half smile, then get on with his day without being agitated whatsoever.
With Rex, it all comes down to what it comes down to with every head coach in the NFL — or in professional sports for that matter — winning.
When he was the larger-than-life, boisterous quote-machine during his first two years in New York, he was the most famous coach in football, a guy you loved to hate, Jets fans absolutely adored, and someone who could not stay off the front page of sports’ sections across the country.
When he started to lose more than win, his “act” grew tired to most. But you probably already knew all that.
Using another example... neither Bruce Arians nor Mike Zimmer are exactly Rex circa 2009, yet both are brazenly candid — and at times terse — at the podium, yet, because they’ve won recently, they’re adored by just about everyone. Much of the same goes for the perpetually jovial and loose Pete Carroll.
Belichick gives as little as humanly possible each week, and there’s never an issue. And that’s OK too.
For me, head coaches don’t have to give colorful or impassioned quotes each time they’re in front of a microphone, especially if that’s simply not their personality. But with the overwhelming majority of them extremely politically correct now, someone like Rex is refreshing and relatable. When he’s not your team’s head coach, and he gloats a bit or doesn’t stand down to an opponent, it’s easier to dislike him than most, but at least he elicits emotion from NFL fans and those that cover the league.
Regardless of his win-loss record, Rex isn’t afraid to be who he is in front of the cameras, and I’ll always respect him for that.
While I’m on this subject... might as well discuss what we’ll be inundated with next week — the return of ANGRY Tom Brady, which will be significantly more ridiculous than the reaction to Rex’s humorous media sessions this week.
You’re bound to hear and read legitimately serious analysis centered on how much better Brady will be because he’s furious about getting suspended.
Although it makes for a Hollywood-esque story, anger suddenly sparking superhuman athletic powers is not a real phenomenon.
If it was real, you can bet every NFL team would be doing everything imaginable to anger all their players, every day, every week, every season.
Sure, frustration can probably be used as a motivational tool, but Tom Brady playing tremendously when he returns will be due to him, well, just being Tom Brady, a future first-ballot Hall of Famer and signal-caller who’s a fixture in the “who’s the greatest quarterback in the history of football?” debate, not because he’s really pissed off.
The other time in Brady’s career he may have been mad came in 2009 after he missed basically the entire season with a knee injury. That year, he had 28 TDs and 13 INTs — pedestrian by his standards — and has gone on to have five years with higher QB ratings.
Regardless of what you think of Rex Ryan as a head coach, just know that anything he’s done on the record this week has no bearing on anything that’ll happen in the Bills vs. Patriots game on Sunday.
And he’s made it more interesting.