The much anticipated heavyweight fight according to the words of Mike Francesa occurred yesterday afternoon at Jets training camp down at Florham Park, New Jersey. The most popular radio personality in New York sports history, Mike Francesa, has continually been at war with the New York Jets, who have made a quite a name for themselves over the past few years under head coach Rex Ryan. Mike Francesa has been severely critical of the Jets over the past year for a numerous amount of issues stemming from Rex Ryan’s constant trash talk all the way to his cursing on the HBO Series: Hard Knocks.
Francesa is a legendary sports radio voice that started up the medium that is sports talk radio in this country. He has been widely known as a big-time New York Giants fan and his callers let him know about that on a daily basis when he is critical of Rex Ryan and the Jets for talking so much when they haven’t won a thing yet. I’ll tell you one thing this interview was so heavily publicized that the YES Network started plugging it specifically after the Yankees and Angles game ended yesterday afternoon and was headed for the post-game show because they had Francesa’s show coming on next with the simulcast. For any New York Jets fans or Rex Ryan haters the following interview with WFAN in New York sure doesn’t disappoint. Francesa said during the week when he got back from vacation that he was shocked the Jets granted him an interview with Rex Ryan for his training camp show and he didn’t hold back when given the chance to go after Rex for all his talk over the years.
Rex Ryan joined WFAN in New York with Mike Francesa to discuss Rex Ryan’s trash talk being real or put on over the past three years, his trash talk helping fuel the New York Jets, feeling stupid after his trash talk backfired on him in year one of his head coaching career for the Jets when they lost to the Colts in the playoffs, his initial feelings last season after talking the Jets up all postseason and getting smacked around by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half of the AFC Championship game, his cursing on Hard Knocks, putting the Jets in a bad position by making predictions all the time, the media getting the sense that Rex Ryan believes he already won a Super Bowl for the Jets when he hasn’t, being a great head coach at this point and finally admitting the Indianapolis Colts intentionally lost to the New York Jets two years ago in the second to last regular season game in order for his team to qualify for the playoffs.
Is all your trash talk real or is it more show business to sell tickets? Is it put on?
“I think it is definitely real, but is there motives behind some of the things I do? Maybe a little bit [of show business]. Especially to stir it up a little bit against some people.”
Does it help your team to talk like that?
“I think it does when you look at it. Lets take the New England game for instance. We are playing in the playoffs. If I don’t say something everybody is going to talk about that 45-3 game and that’s all they are going to focus on. I never wanted our locker-room to keep hearing it over-and-over-and-over, so I was like well why don’t I challenge Bill Belichick. That way it’s like…everybody is like he is going to get killed. He’s going to do this. Nah. I even had it down where I even told Mike Tannenbaum…I said at the end of this it’s going to be about me being wrong. It wasn’t going to have anything to do with me against Belichick. It was about our teams. I knew it was about our teams. I wanted to deflect it a little bit.”
Your first year was a little up and down. You caught a few breaks. The Colts pulling guys out and you win the games. You make the proclamations that you guys were going to the Super Bowl and seeing the President. When that doesn’t happen do you feel silly after saying those things?
“I think that first year when I made the thing about seeing the President and all that I truly believe in my heart by the time of my four years we will win one. [Mike Francesa: You believe you will win the Super Bowl in the next two years?] Absolutely. I think we will win it this year. I think when you look at it my first one was this: Number one I truly believe it. When we made the playoffs did I think we would win it that first year? I couldn’t say that. [Mike Francesa: But you did?] When we made the playoffs I was like why not? [Mike Francesa: Do you say it because you had nothing to lose?] No. I said it because I knew we were good. We had the number one defense in football. We also had the number one rushing attack in football.
By the way I did make those predictions also. When we got there and I made the parade thing now was it suppose to be in public? Somebody read it off one of our boards and all that and it came out there. That’s fine with me because when I say I am extremely confident in my abilities, but I am more so confident in the entire organization abilities and that’s why I will make those statements. Again the great thing is I am going to be true to myself. I said that the day I took the job whether we win, lose, or draw I am going to be true to myself. When I walk out this door and I am not going to make this thing guaranteed, but I am thinking twenty years. When I walk out this door I am going to be like I did it my way. The one shot…I am going to get one shot in life to be a head football coach in this league and I am going to do it my way and have no regrets.”
What was different the second year? You were a better team. The quarterback was more complete. You show up in Pittsburgh and they knocked the heck out of you in the first half lets be honest. After you made those bold statements throughout the postseason about Peyton Manning what were you thinking on the sidelines when they were knocking the heck out of you?
“Yeah I don’t know. I just never felt like…it wasn’t like I thought we were going to get beat by the Steelers. That’s not the case, but it was like everything I said that was personal between me and Peyton Manning. The guy had beat me two times and all that and had knocked me out of the playoffs before in the AFC Championship game the year before and another time in the playoffs in when we had one of the best defenses in the history of the game. It was personal and that’s what I said. I just tell what I believe to be the truth.”
Can you stop cursing on Hard Knocks? You went out and cursed up a blue streak on that show. It sounded like you only knew two words of vocabulary during that show?
“You know what I will apologize for nothing because I do 1,000 interviews a year. Have you ever heard me curse in an interview? [Mike Francesa: Why did you curse there?] Because I am in a different environment. I don’t protest to be perfect. When I am in there in front of my team and I’m sitting back telling my team and our football team that we are going to be ourselves and lets have fun. Let the entire league and entire country see who we are. I am not going to change. I would be the biggest hypocrite of all time. This is how I talk to my team. There’s no phoniness about it. This is how I am.”
Do you ever think that you put your team in a precarious position by the things you say? Are you going to stay in the prediction business?
“Well I look at it this way, we have one goal. One goal from the day I walked in here and that’s to win a Super Bowl. I never came here to go to the AFC Championship Game. That’s part of it. That’s great. [Mike Francesa: That’s gotta be everyone’s goal?] That’s why I don’t understand why I’m so different than everyone else. Maybe it’s because I do say it. Now look after we win it you don’t have to put me in that god category.”
See you didn’t even win the Super Bowl yet. Sometimes I think that you think you have won a Super Bowl already here with the things you say?
“Absolutely. I know I didn’t. I’ve won it in the past. The fact that my family has won five of them. I know what it looks like. That’s why I think we have the goods to do it. Nobody is going to convince me otherwise until they say ‘hey you guys don’t play this week because you are out of the playoffs or whatever.’ But to me we are going for it. It’s the only goal we have and I just want our guys to envision…you know what because they know I am speaking from the heart and I’m telling you what I believe to be the truth. Is it the truth? We are going to find out. The great thing is I can’t wait because we get to prove it on the field and we’ll see who’s right.”
Are you a great coach? Are you going to be a great coach?
“You know what I know I am a great defensive coach. I’m trying to become a great head coach. I know I will be [a great head coach]. It’s about my passion and my dedication to the game, but it’s also about the guys I surround myself with. That’s what it takes to be a great head coach. I think you have to surround yourself with great people. Bill Parcells helped Bill Belichick.”
Will you admit to me now that if the Colts tried in the second to last regular season game two years ago that you would have lost and not made the playoffs? The Colts said it was a Christmas gift. You could throw me that bone right? You don’t believe you were going to win that game?
“Hey somebody was listening, but you know what I will say this: I don’t admit because they still gotta prove it on the field. We beat them by ten points. It wasn’t even close. The game wasn’t even close. We beat them by ten points and it wasn’t even a contest. I was surprised we didn’t beat them by more.”