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Thursday, January 21, 2010
Jets already selling championship gear

By Tim Graham

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- One of the popular New York Jets storylines in recent weeks has been how the organization reflects the personality of its brash head coach.

Jets Merchandise
A team Web site is already offering wares declaring the Jets AFC champions.
I wonder if Rex Ryan recently overtook merchandising responsibilities.

The Jets are unashamedly selling gear that celebrates their AFC championship. You can take a look at the shirts, hats, pennants, car flags and key chains -- complete with Super Bowl logos -- on the official Jets site.

NFL.com is selling merchandise for all four teams still alive in the playoffs, but the Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints haven't trumpeted any offers in their Web sites. The Jets, however, are promoting their goods.

Of course, the Jets still have to beat the Colts on Sunday in Lucas Oil Stadium to make that happen. The Colts are eight-point favorites.

But that hasn't mattered so far. The Jets were installed as the longest shot to win the Super Bowl when the final playoff field was set.

Ryan not only proclaimed they should be the favorites to win it all, but he also produced a team postseason itinerary that went all the way through a Feb. 9 championship parade.

The Jets have since recorded a pair of road upsets against the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers.

ESPN.com senior writer Elizabeth Merrill crafted an in-depth feature about Ryan's audacious personality.

"I think if people really knew who Rex was," Jets defensive end Marques Douglas says, "that pretty much everyone in the league would want to come and play for him. He doesn't try to make you out to be someone else. If you can play ball, you're going to be on the team.

"You've got guys in here right now willing to play for him, wanting to run through that brick wall for him. If we could line up tomorrow and play Indy, we would."