- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Rex Ryan nestled between New York Gov. David Paterson and Jets owner Woody Johnson on the dais at the new Meadowlands Coaches Club. For a guy accustomed to being the loudest one in a given room, Ryan had to compete with two governors, a lieutenant governor, four NFL owners and Tom Coughlin.
Reporters asked question after probing question to get to the heart of this Super Bowl XLVIII "weather" issue. As the temperatures soared into the 90s outside, someone finally asked who was going to pay to clean up all the snow after the Great Blizzard of 2014.
"The snow is no more expensive to move on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day," said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
For Ryan however, there was a more important question: How can he make sure he's in the 2014 Super Bowl? Because the alternative would be dreadful.
"It'd be impossible," Ryan said. "To have your facilities taken over by another AFC team? That would be hard to take. That would be almost impossible to take."
Imagine for a moment, Bill Belichick settling in to the Jets' locker room, emblazoned with the digital logo, AFC Champion New England Patriots. Or Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall hosting a pregame party at the 40/40 Club. Or the Baltimore secondary rocking out to "Empire State of Mind" in the end zone after winning it all.
First of all, if Ryan is still coaching in 2014 he will be the longest-tenured Jets coach since Joe Walton made it for seven seasons back in the 1980s. Plus there's the matter of a Super Bowl timeline. When Ryan had his first news conference, Barack Obama had just started his term and Ryan said the Jets would pay him a visit as the winners of the Super Bowl. He wasn't making that prediction based on a hypothetical second term, so if Ryan gets to 2014, it won't be his first rodeo unless he has some 'splaining to do.
Ryan watched the Meadowlands win the 2014 bid from his office, and was pretty confident, until the votes kept coming back without a winner. To him, New York was the obvious choice, and it was mind-boggling the owners didn't immediately see it.
"And when the rounds kept going by it was like, 'Are you kiddin' me?'" Ryan said.
He spoke as the stage was being set for a Bon Jovi concert. Outside, construction was making finding an entrance onto a major highway or into a parking lot in the new Meadowlands complex equally impossible. But within three years, that ongoing headache should be nearly cleared up.
Either way, it's a game Ryan doesn't want to watch on television.
"Deep down, you want to be a part of this," Ryan said.
The thought of Jets not playing in XLVIII makes their coach green in the gills.