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The Joe Namath-Rex Ryan Feud

Perhaps feud is too strong of a word, but Joe Namath and Rex Ryan have expressed a bit of a disagreement over Rex's techniques over the past few days.

"It's rather alarming," Namath said on 1050 ESPN Radio yesterday. "It starts at the top. Coach Rex Ryan, he's been doing a great job, getting us to two conference championship games, but there's one thing about the athlete: You keep telling him how good he is, he's going to start believing it to the point that he may not be preparing quite the way he should. He may be losing some respect for the other team."

"I'm not going to change who I am because Joe Namath said something," Ryan said. "Joe Namath can come in here and if he can still throw we'll have him as a backup quarterback. But you know what? He doesn't know our team. He's on the outside, even though he's a Jet and once you're a Jet you're always a Jet. But he's on the outside. He's not in these meetings. I think if he was he'd be shocked at the preparation."

I agree with Rex on this one. I think Namath falls into two traps here. The first is that he assumes what the media hypes up is the only message Rex drills into the team. The fact of the matter is Rex frequently praises his opponents in the press. The only way to know what he says to the team in the locker room is to be there, which Joe is not. The second mistake is using a coach's style to explain the result of something. There is more than one way a coach can be successful. When the Jets win, we hear about how he instills his team with confidence. Somehow the exact same thing becomes a negative when the team loses. In reality, it probably comes down more to execution.

Just to be clear, I respect Joe Namath. He is a champion and should be free to speak his mind. I just disagree with the substance of his comments.