Since arriving in New York in 2009 after being named the New York Jets head coach, Rex Ryan has been a lightning rod. He has become one of the more polarizing figures in the NFL, making one bold statement after the next, with some people supportive and some vehemently opposed.
So, what does Ryan himself think of the controversy that seems to swirl around him constantly?
“Did I know that I was going to be under the media spotlight, or that if I said something a little offbeat that it would get me? But really? I'm a football coach,” Ryan said. “I'm not trying to save somebody's life or whatever. I'm not a doctor. I'm a football coach, and I love it.
"And part of this is a game and it's fun. I don't take myself too seriously. Now, I'm competitive and I take that seriously. I want to win. But sometimes it's like, you make a comment and it's phoom!, well, that one never went over the way I thought it would. But that's OK.”
Ryan had two solid role models growing up. His father -- the legendary football coach Buddy Ryan -- and his mother, Doris, a Ph.D from the University of Chicago who became a vice president at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.
But Ryan had challenges and feels that his self-confidence may come from dealing with those.
“How many guys are dyslexic, ADHD, all that kind of stuff that I had and I found a way to get a master's degree? When clearly there's way more talented guys in the classroom than me. I still found a way to succeed.”
He admitted that he felt frustrated over the years. “I never knew I was dyslexic until I was in my 40s. You think about all those years of struggling in school and everything. But, I still knew where I wanted to get to. And that's what drives you. My dream was never to be
a head coach in the National Football League. My dream was to win the Super Bowl as a head coach in the National Football League, and so that's what drives me. I want that more than anything.”
Ryan has made no secret of that goal, and it's one of the statements that gets him in trouble.
At his introductory press conference in 2009, he proclaimed that the Jets would meet the country's new president, Barack Obama, when they won the Super Bowl.
Next he ruffled feathers by saying that he didn't come to New York to “kiss Bill Belichick's rings.”
Then there was the war of words with then Dolphins' linebacker Channing Crowder when Ryan's praise of his team during OTAs prompted Crowder to sarcastically deem the Jets the winner of the OTA championship.
Then in 2011, he once again proclaimed his feeling that his team was going to win the Super Bowl.
Finally, at the outset of the 2012 training camp, he called himself the best defensive coach in the league. But that wasn't the full statement.
“As I said, it's easy for me to say I'm the best defensive coach in football. Now that's saying something, because Dick LeBeau's pretty (darn) good, Bill Belichick is pretty good. But that's the way I've always believed. And you know what, I believe it because of the guys I coach with, there's no doubt about that, and the guys that I've coached. That's the truth, and that's how I feel.”
Ryan is unapologetic for that confidence and for the goals he's set for himself.
“Why do I have to apologize for that? He's a loudmouth, all that, OK so be it. I got one shot in life and I'm going to do it my way. If I offend people -- I don't try to -- then so be it. But I know one thing, I'm going to be consistent. I'm going to chase it. That's my goal, that's what I'm chasing.
“Hey, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, never pretended to be. What I am is competitive, and I believe in the guys that I have.”
Ryan also firmly believes that it is his job to make sure that he instills confidence in the people around him, to make sure that they all believe they can succeed and that's part of the reason he spends so much time heaping praise on his players and doing what some may
“If you're confident, you're going to play better. My message has been the same since the day I got here, that we're going to win.”
Stay dialed in on the New York Jets by following correspondent Lisa Zimmerman on Twitter@CBSSportsNFLNYJ and @LisaZimmerman.