INDIANAPOLIS - If Patriots fans were hoping to spend the next several months mocking Rex Ryan for making another brash Super Bowl prediction, they're going to be disappointed. Drawing the largest media crowd of the day, Ryan opened his press conference by making sure he wouldn't fall into the same pattern he has in recent years.
"All right, I know what you're all thinking, the return to the infamous Super Bowl guarantee," Ryan began. "It was [made] here. In all seriousness, looking back, obviously it was a huge mistake to make that guarantee. At the time, we were coming off two championship games. I really thought it would be a thing that would actually motivate our team, to really talk about the Super Bowl, focus on the Super Bowl, but in hindsight I think it put undue pressure on our team. We kind of lost focus and really we lost focus on what we do best.
"Obviously, it was a big mistake. I go back, and look at it, and I think it contributed to the season we had. Realistically, it's something I've been thinking about a great deal and obviously we had a terrible season. I'll take full responsibility for it. I think part of that guarantee really contributed to that."
While Ryan wasn't ready to make any promises about championships, he did maintain his trademark confidence.
"But I will say, we're going to have a team now, that I think is going to have the potential to do great things," he said.
So, Patriots fans will have to find something else to criticize Ryan about, but fortunately for everyone in New England the Jets coach will surely provide it. Even while clearly trying to change his approach, he often cracked wise on various topics - "We're a fast team, not as fast as the Raiders but they're a track team" would be a prime example. It's in his nature to express his confidence and even in the face of a disastrous season he doesn't seem to have lost much.
Ryan may be quieter about his feelings in 2012, but they will come out be heard – much to the delight of his critics.