Jets coach Rex Ryan took the acclaim from New York’s basketball fans Friday night before pledging to bring Super Bowl glory to the city, the New York Post reported Saturday.
Ryan, wearing a throwback Clyde Frazier jersey and seated courtside next to his wife Michelle, got a resounding ovation from the Knicks crowd inside Madison Square Garden before the 113-96 loss to the Lakers.
The Gang Green coach said, "there’s no way we don’t get it done next year," and told the MSG’s Jill Martin at halftime that "next year I know we’ll win it."
But in a quiet moment in the bowels of the Garden, Ryan said last month’s AFC Championship 24-19 loss in Pittsburgh still stings. He hoped it will spur the Jets on to a title of their own next season.
"It feeds the competitiveness in you," Ryan said. "You’re sick that you missed out again, two years in a row. I know how important it us to this town and our fans, and how important it is to me, this football team. To come up short again, it’s a huge blow."
"But you do remember," he added. "It drives your competitive spirit, like there’s no way, no way we don’t get it done next year. That’s how you feel. That’s how I feel. You can’t wait to get back and have at it again."
Ryan is used to off-the-field headlines, after a series of foot-fetish videos, allegedly of his wife Michelle, hit the web. That’s why he is uniquely qualified to offer advice to young quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has been embroiled in a media firestorm of his own after an alleged tryst with Eliza Kruger, a 17-year-old Connecticut girl.
"Not everybody can play quarterback in this town. It takes a special person, and Mark can do it. He’s proved that he can do it. He’s focused and determined," Ryan said. "Some guys would wilt under the pressure of New York, of being in the city. But Mark looks forward to it.
"You’ve got to have broad shoulders, he has broad shoulders," he added. "I always talk about skin like an armadillo — though I know it’s armor — but that’s the illustration we make to our guys. He’s a great player, a great person, and he can handle this."