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Yet Another Sign That Rex Ryan is Doing Something Right

Tony Dungy is latest to blast Rex Ryan

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Aug 18, 2010  |  Updated 12:30 PM EDT
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Yet Another Sign That Rex Ryan is Doing Something Right

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We're not sure who coined the phrase "If they're shooting at you, you're doing something right," but we like the way it fits Rex Ryan.

The Jets coach has been on the receiving end of criticism since the second he took the Jets job. His cockiness rubs people the wrong way, his disregard for propriety rubs people the wrong way and his use of profanity rubs people the wrong way. Well, it rubs Tony Dungy the wrong way anyway. He slammed the Jets coach for cursing during the premiere of "Hard Knocks" and said that the commissioner of the NFL should speak to Ryan to get him to stop being so loose with his lips.

He also said he wouldn't hire someone who spoke like that, which is fairly comical coming from a guy who has been Michael Vick's biggest cheerleader since Vick was sent to prison for his role in killing dogs for laughs. It also might help explain why the Colts were only able to manage one Super Bowl appearance under Dungy despite having the best quarterback in the NFL for Dungy's entire tenure in Indianapolis. It's never a good trade to worry about things like foul language more than you worry about being successful.

The thought that Roger Goodell should say something to Ryan is the height of ridiculousness. The NFL is trying to appeal to a particular audience by participating in a show that airs on HBO at 10 p.m. on Wednesday nights. That audience doesn't share Dungy's pollyannaish reaction to finding out that adults sometimes curse when surrounded by other adults. For those who don't like it, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the NFL just as those who don't much care for coaches like Dungy using their positions to proselytize about their religious beliefs have chosen to focus on other things.

If anything, you'd think Goodell would welcome the chance to promote the fact that his league isn't made up of robotic personalities who are unable to do anything but speak in the platitudes preferred by coaches who loathe sharing one bit of themselves with the public. Judging from the ratings for "Hard Knocks" and the amount of people who are talking about Ryan, that's something with enormous value for a league with a product to sell. 

Don't get too angry at Dungy, though, because he's doing the same thing. He's spent most of his career trying to promote himself as a pillar of all things good and moral in the world. It's worked well enough for him to sell a lot of books and he's sure to be writing and selling more in the years to come. Pulling that off means you have to be a scold from time to time.

It doesn't mean you're right, though.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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