If you are a Buffalo Bills fan, have a pulse, genuinely enjoy the sport of football, and watched the Rex Ryan introductory press conference on Wednesday, then your heartbeat is probably a bit elevated right now.
Ryan, the Bills' new head coach, hit the podium with his customary bravado, turning simple coaching platitudes like "we're going to be the bullies" and "we want to be a nightmare to play against" into rallying cries for a fan base starved for a winner. He was charismatic, bold, and entertaining - the exact opposite of what Bills coaches have been in recent seasons.
If you had any doubt whatsoever that Ryan would be an unpopular hire in Buffalo, it's fair to let that doubt die - until the games start being played, at least.
There was even something closely resembling a playoff guarantee!
He also told the assembled crowd that the Bills' fourth-ranked defense would finish first next season; that the Bills deserve a loyal coach, and that he's as loyal as they come; that instead of craving a shot at the Jets, the team that just fired him, he'd rather get one over on the Patriots; that he's not a mediocre coach despite his last four seasons in New York, and that he'd challenge anyone contending otherwise; and that despite all of the adversity recently in his career, he's never lost his swagger.
Really, it was everything one would expect from a Ryan press conference. Except this time, he was the head coach of the Bills. That makes a pretty big difference.
Introductory press conferences rarely contain much in the way of hard news, and Ryan's was no exception. There were, however, a couple of nuggets worth pointing out: defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson will remain on Ryan's staff, in a role to be determined; it was also revealed that Ryan, GM Doug Whaley, and president Russ Brandon will all each report directly to team owners Kim and Terry Pegula.
Rex Ryan taps mic. "Is this thing on? Because it's getting ready to be on." pic.twitter.com/r06VUqyGEd— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) January 14, 2015
Rex just dropped the mic when he got done speaking at the podium I can feel his energy just by watching this press conference— Cj Spiller (@CJSPILLER) January 14, 2015
Rex Ryan: "Are we going to ground out pound? Yeah, you're darn right we are."— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) January 14, 2015
Rex Ryan: "Fourth in the league [on defense] was probably a little disappointing. I know we’ll lead the league in defense."— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) January 14, 2015
Rex Ryan says for other teams to "put up" whatever billboard material they want. Says his team will back it up.— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) January 14, 2015
Rex Ryan: "We're going to build a bully."— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) January 14, 2015
Rex Ryan: "We're not afraid of anybody. Certainly not afraid of (the Patriots)."— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) January 14, 2015
Rex Ryan: "We will not build our offensive game plans around our punter, I'll tell you that."— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) January 14, 2015
Rex asked about getting back at the Jets: "I’ll be honest, it’s still the Patriots that I want the most."— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) January 14, 2015
Rex: "Oh, we’re gonna be aggressive. There’s no doubt. I think that statement’s going to be answered early."— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) January 14, 2015
Rex Ryan asked his realtor where the most snow falls in Buffalo because that's where he wants to live. "How Buffalo is that?" Pegula says.— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) January 14, 2015
Rex Ryan: "We're not going to get pushed around. We're going to be the bullies."— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) January 14, 2015
Certainly, this was a fun way to start the Ryan era in Buffalo. And we can all agree that, hopefully, this day won't turn out to be the highlight of the Ryan era. Serious question, though: could Rex Ryan have started off his career as the Bills' had coach any better?