When Rex Ryan was first hired by the New York Jets, he started his tenure out with a bang by saying he did not come to the AFC East to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings. Since then, Ryan has been nothing but complimentary toward Belichick, often referring to him as one of the greatest coaches of all time. And then there was that one time when Rex said he was going to punch Belichick in the face.
Former Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson told an entertaining story on NFL Network Tuesday about Rex getting his team fired up to face the New England Patriots.
“We were playing the Patriots one time, and as I mentioned, Rex is a master motivator,” Tomlinson said. “It was going to be a big game, a heated rivalry game, and Rex got in front of us, he said, ‘I’m going to set the tempo today, guys,’ he said, ‘I’m going to set the tempo when I meet Bill Belichick in the center of the field, I’m gonna start it off and punch him in the face.’ I loved it.”
Of course, Ryan would never actually do it (we think). This is the same Rex that once joked he was thrilled to beat Belichick by being named the most overrated coach in the league. That being said, Tomlinson said the Jets won the game and the speech worked.
“He was motivating his guys and he wanted to jump it off,” Tomlinson continued. ” … Our coach showed confidence that he has in us (and) in himself. He can be joking and lighten the mood at the same time while being serious about the competition.”
Ryan’s confidence has been known to make him look like an idiot in the past, but his players seem to love playing for him. In a league that is filled with egomaniacs, that can sometimes be half the battle.