Back-to-back losses in the AFC championship game may not have been easy on the New York Jets' coach, but they have done nothing to diminish his confidence.
They haven't quieted him at all, either.
Ryan, entering his third season as the Jets' coach, said on Thursday he is doing more this season than just hoping to win a Super Bowl in February 2012, and he said he's doing more than talking about it, too.
He's guaranteeing it. That's right: guarantee.
"I believe this is the year we're going to win the Super Bowl," Ryan said during a press conference at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, being held this week at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis.
"I thought we'd win it the first two years. I guarantee we'll win it this year."
Ryan, perhaps the NFL's most media-friendly, quotable coach, typically uses his midweek press conferences to set the tone for the week ahead. This week, he set the tone for the 2011 season. And he did so in typical fashion.
"Why would you put yourself out there?" Ryan asked rhetorically. "Why? Because I believe. I believe we will be the team that wins it. Period. Plain and simple. I'm not afraid to stand up here and say we're going to get it done."
Ryan said he didn't consider his words bragging, nor did he believe them too much.
"The reason I feel that way is this: I know we're an excellent football team," he said. "We have a great organization. We're the only team to go back-to-back in the final four -- albeit we never got it done. But I know the kind of players we have and I know the players we're going to have represent us.
"This is not something I just believe in, and it's not just what I want. It's what a whole bunch of people want from our players, our coaches, our entire organization and our fans."
Ryan spent time emphasizing the last group.
"Our fans want a Super Bowl," he said. "I feel it. I sense it. There's no doubt about it. I think it's my responsibility. Now, that being said, I don't feel our fans on my shoulders or my players on my back and all that. I think it's just the opposite.
"The reason I think we're going to win is we're going to lock arms and we're going to find a way to get this done. From players, coaches and fans, we're going to lock arms and when we do, we're going to find a way. I believe it. I think that's going to be a difference."
The Jets have made the playoffs as a wild-card team in each of Ryan's first two seasons, and each season, won two road playoff games to advance to the AFC Championship Game.
The Jets lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game following the 2009 season, then lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the title game this past January.
"They're all tough," Ryan said. "You remember everyone of them, but with our football team, I think we're resilient enough to not say, 'Holly, we came up short.' We picked ourselves up and got right back in the same spot again. We traveled the same road. We found a way to get in there."
Ryan said one key for the Jets next season will be improving a 5-3 home record, and that another will be winning a division won by New England the past two seasons.
"Our fans deserve better, and you know what? I think we're going to figure it out,'' Ryan said. "We have to find a way to win our division, and that's a heck of a lot easier said than done."
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