Scott on Ryan: 'I would die for that man'

About 20 minutes after dumbfounding Patriot Nation on Sunday night, New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott told a group of reporters what he thought of coach Rex Ryan.

"I love my coach," Scott said. "Let me tell you something: I would die for that man. I love that man to death.

"That's the reason I left Baltimore, to come here and write my legacy with him."

The Jets exterminated the New England Patriots, the AFC's top seed and presumptive champion.

Scott said when they walked out of the Gillette Stadium tunnel and onto the field, it was Ryan "with all his troopers behind him" versus Bill Belichick. The Jets proved Ryan was the better coach -- at least for Sunday.

"You take this victory away, he's still a good coach," Scott said.

Ryan is the NFL's version of Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius from the movie "Gladiator." Maximus was a leader whose men -- and even animals -- blindly followed into battle with no questions asked.

ESPN.com senior writer Gene Wojciechowski takes a deeper look at what makes Ryan such a charismatic figure for his players.

Wojchiechowski goes back to Ryan's associates at New Mexico Highlands University, an NAIA school, to show us what he's all about.

Ryan did then what he does now. He finds a motivational pressure point. He creates a specific reason to play that game and to despise that opponent. Then, he invents belief.

By the time kickoff arrives, Ryan has his players convinced that the other team not only needs to be crushed, but that it deserves to be crushed. Doesn't matter if it's Mesa State or Bill Belichick's Patriots.

The method has worked so far. Two seasons, two playoff appearances, four road playoff victories and two trips to the AFC Championship Game prove that.