Sunday, January 16, 2011

If I'm Ryan -- I'm flyin

In case you haven't noticed, there's been a very sinister conspiracy going on for a long time to take over our minds. It's called the Ryan Syndrome.
Everybody loved Irene Ryan as Granny Clampett. Ryan Seacrest is all over the airwaves. Rarely does a year go by without Meg Ryan in a blockbuster film. Ryan O'Neal was part of the best "love story" of all time. Jack Ryan is the hero of renowned author Tom Clancy's books and films. Buddy Ryan came along and won the Super Bowl in 1986 with the Chicago Bears. Tom Hanks got in the act with Saving Private Ryan. I clicked over to ESPN and who was spouting off?  Bob Ryan, of the Boston Globe. There's even a soap opera named Ryan's Hope.
Maybe it started in 1951 when J. D. Salinger wrote the classic book Catcher in the Ryan. Roy Orbison woefully crooned about Ryan in 1961. The rock group Eagles followed up with Ryan Eyes in 1975. Not exacty true, you say? Close enough. They were merely subliminal references planted in our minds by the Evil Ryan Empire.
They're everywhere, I tell ya.
Now, love him or hate him, and there's probably little middle ground, we have Rex Ryan, head coach of the New York Jets.
What he's accomplished is impressive. In just a couple years he's taken a mediocre Jets team and turned them into very serious Super Bowl contenders. They appear to be as good as anybody right now.
Consider: Come playoff time, they went into Indianapolis and knocked off the Colts. No small feat. They followed it up by whipping the Patriots in their own back yard. An even larger feat.
How did this happen? A few reasons.
The Jets have lockdown cornerbacks that effectively remove the opponents' wide receivers from the game plan. They stick to their man like a federal indictment.
Second, future Hall of Famers like Manning and Brady are given a lot of credit for their passing games, but none of that happens without protection from their offensive line. Those guys are used to dropping back, and going through 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and maybe 4th reads, before having to throw the ball. The Jets don't allow that. Opposing QBs get to look at their first choice, maybe the second, and then BOOM happens. Peyton and Tom found that out the hard way. Get them out of their comfort zone, make them speed everything up, and they start looking more like Joey Harrington.
Now the Jets go to Pittsburgh, where Big Ben and his Big Bad Steelers await with their terrible towels. Can they pull it off? Beating them would complete an awesome road win trifecta, and be a colossal feat. We'll find out next Sunday, but I wouldn't underestimate these guys, given their last 2 games.
One last thing. If you happen to know how to get in touch with Rex Ryan, please don't tell him about my repeated references to "feats". Some say he has a fetish about such things.
I wear a size 11, but he doesn't need to know that.

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