For the second straight year Rex Ryan took the New York Jets to the AFC Championship game. Unfortunately, for the second straight year his team fell short of their ultimate goal of getting to the Super Bowl. After going on the road and beating the Colts and Patriots, the Jets weren’t able to do for a third straight time in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. Rex’s defense got punched in the mouth in the first half by Pittsburgh and by the time the second half rolled around, it was too late.
Now the Jets head into 2011 as cocky, arrogant, and brash as ever, but it could be a tough offseason in New York and their roster could look a lot different next season with all the free agents on the roster and other players that could decided to call it a career. Rex Ryan has stated his intention in New York is to win a Super Bowl and maybe after two season of tasting defeat in the AFC Championship, the third time will be a charm for Rex in New York.
Rex Ryan joined ESPN Radio in New York on the Michael Kay Show to talk about what happened in the first half against the Steelers, how disappointing it was to get to the AFC Championship game for the second year and lose one game short of getting to the Super Bowl, how much the New England game took out of them, and whether or not he would like to keep the roster in tact.
How disappointing it was to lose one game short of the Super Bowl again:
“Extremely disappointing. I thought we had the best team, but obviously it never worked out that way. You’re so disappointed because you know all the work that went into it. From Mike Tannenbaum to everybody up in personnel trying to put this team together to give up a chance and get us right back to where we were last year. We accomplished that, but our mission was higher than that. All the training camp, preseason, regular season games, and all that, to win at Indy, at New England in the playoffs and go there thinking we had the better team, and it wasn’t the case. It’s amazing when you look at it, the tale of two halves. Statistically it’s like they were complete opposite of each other and that’s the thing that kills ya. The poor tackling it’s just hard to explain.”
On Ben Roethlisberger making the plays at the end of the game:
“Well they did and the fact that he had a 35 quarterback rating I don’t think people focus on, but he made two huge plays at the end of the game to win the game for them. When all is said and done he ended up making the plays and that’s what he does.”
How much they left in New England and how much that had to do with them coming out flat:
“That’s certainly possible. I think when you look at it, we always say it’s hard to win on the road. When you look at it, we had five of our last six games on the road and not just against any opponent. I’m talking about Chicago, two times against New England, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh. I think the five out of six games probably took its toll more than just the one game. That’s why it’s so important that you try and get as many games at home as you can. Part of our problem with the success that New England has had, we seem to be the only team that can beat them. We can’t just focus everything on beating New England. We’ve got to learn how to beat Baltimore’s, Green Bay’s, and Miami, we can’t afford to slip up against anybody and that’s obvious. Travelling this road, unless you change it and win your division, we’re going to have to go on the road. Winning three games on the road in the playoffs has only been done one time in the AFC and that was by Pittsburgh. Clearly our best shot of making the big game would be hosting a playoff game anyway.”
If he thinks the lack of trash talk was a bad idea:
“I’ll rip everybody next year if that’s the case. I don’t think that was it. I think we’re not giving Pittsburgh enough credit. They came out, were they fresher? I think they were. They got to play a game at home and watch for a week. I think that was it. It might not have looked like there was intensity because we were getting pushed around. That’s as simple as that, but I’ll do whatever it takes to win. If we really think it’s me ripping an opponent then I’ll do it. Usually I’m just myself and I felt that to be true against Peyton Manning and Bill Belichick. This one here it was more businesslike and I really don’t think it was an issue of not getting up, it’s just that it looked like we were hit in the mouth and just took us awhile.”
Whether or not he still thinks the year was a success:
“It was a great year. I’m gonna tie this answer in with the other answer. Of the four teams that went to the Final Four last year, only one team got back there this year and it was the New York Jets. That’s quite an accomplishment, but it also shows how difficult it really is. We’ve got to make some great decisions, I have great confidence in Mike Tannenbaum, and I think we’ll always do what’s in the best interest in the Jets. I have a feeling there will be a lot of players that want to come play for the Jets so you’ve gotta try and figure out the puzzle. I really think when you look at the fact that we’ve been consistent, as consistent as any team in the last two years, the fact that we made it two years in a row to the AFC Championship game is a real positive, but we’ve got to find a way to knock that door down. I think the obvious would be, hey let’s just get a couple home games, but it’s much more difficult than that. Clearly that would be a much easier solution to the problem, but if we have to play three games on the road again, then we have to find a way to get it done.”
If he wants LaDainian Tomlinson back this year:
“Not just LT back, I would love to have that group of 53 back, but I also know the likelihood of that is almost nonexistent. That’s really not what happens in this league. There’s going to be some players that we’re going to lose or going to get much more money than we can offer, there are going to be some guys that retire, or some guys that get beat out, that’s the way it is and that’s the way it is everywhere, but I would love to have LT back.”