FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Call them whatever bleepin' names you want - and plenty already have. Rex Ryan's bunch of blabbermouths isn't shutting up anytime soon.
They insult the other team’s quarterback, needle the opposing coach and never stop yapping.
Not the way it’s normally done in the NFL.
Only with these jabbering New York Jets, it’s working. Cover your ears because they’re talking all the way back to the AFC championship game.
“We’ve got guys who are confident,” defensive back Dwight Lowery said Monday, “and we all show that confidence in different ways.”
They take their cue from Ryan. He’s made bold predictions from the moment he took over two years ago, coaching a franchise that had lacked an identity ever since Broadway Joe made the biggest boast of all 42 years ago.
Sometimes, Ryan and his guys have been a bit profane. But if that offends other people, well, then too bad.
Besides, win Sunday in Pittsburgh and the Jets reach the Super Bowl for the first time since their 1969 win over the Baltimore Colts.
No wonder Joe Namath loves what he’s seeing – and hearing.
“THATS WHAT WE’RE TALKIN ABOUT!!!” Namath tweeted after Santonio Holmes’ touchdown catch Sunday against New England.
Next up, the green-and-white sequel in this made-for-TV season.
“Everybody’s true to their colors here,” defensive lineman Sione Pouha said. “This is Rex’s style, and as everyone can see, we love it.”
Just ask the Patriots, who’ve seen and heard enough of the Jets to last an entire offseason. After New York’s wild on-field celebration in Foxborough – complete with Braylon Edwards’ backflip – following a 28-21 win, Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch called the Jets “classless.”
“Just take the loss like a man,” cornerback Darrelle Revis said. “Just take it like a man, and move on.”
So far, the Jets have backed up their tough talk.
First, Peyton Manning and Indianapolis.
Then, Tom Brady and the Patriots.
All on the road.
Standing in their way to the Super Bowl are Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
“I think we know the formula that it takes to win,” Ryan said. “Now, we just have to go out and do it, albeit in an incredibly tough environment.”
No, Ryan’s confidence hasn’t wavered one bit. Not with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake.
“I just talk the way it is,” he said. “If you can’t get motivated to win an AFC championship game, I don’t know what else you need.”
When Ryan first took over, he was hailed by many as a breath of fresh air in a league filled with tight-lipped coaches who play things close to the vest.
“New York is very diverse and I think your team should reflect where you are,” Lowery said. “That might have something to do with it. It might be that this is just the right coach for this organization and this area.”
Anything goes with Ryan, whether it’s self-deprecating humor about his weight or talking about how his team will meet the President Barack Obama someday soon.
The Jets’ locker room is filled mostly with players who speak openly about themselves or their opponents – not worried about consequences or perceptions.
“I totally disagree with people saying we’re trash-talking,” Pouha said. “We’re confident talkers more than we are talking trash.”
But there have been few teams in pro sports that have been successful on the field while being so loose off it.
Ryan’s Jets are the closest to a team people love to hate as we’ve seen in a while.
“Part of it is maybe because when you see a team that wins Super Bowls, or has a lot of repeated success, people try to duplicate that,” Lowery said. “So, when the Patriots were winning a lot in the 2000s, it was like, that’s what you needed to do to win. So, now, you have a lot of teams trying to adopt that style and it may not fit their style. Rex got a head (coaching) job and just came in and this is how he wants to run the ship.”
A hot ticket in the old town this week
Several brokers said tickets for Sunday’s NFC championship game between the Bears and Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field are by far the most in-demand in Chicago sports history, creating a frenetic online market as Bears fans try to decide how much it’s worth to see the big game live.
On Monday, $134 seats in the upper reaches of Soldier Field were selling for about $500 each, according to brokers and several ticket resale websites. Seats in the stadium’s lower levels are going for up to $2,000, said Melissa Janes, who works for a Chicago-area ticket broker.
“This is what the market is, so if you want to go, you’re going to have to take out a small loan or use your mortgage payment,” said Janes, who said she hasn’t seen such high demand for a Chicago sporting event since Michael Jordan was leading the Bulls to six NBA titles in the 1990s.
The most expensive ticket sold by StubHub as of Monday afternoon was a $2,942 seat in Soldier Field’s United Club, said company spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer. StubHub figures Sunday’s game will be hottest NFL conference championship ticket in the company’s 10-year history, Ferrer said.