Only classy coaches left to play in Super Bowl XLV 

The best thing about the NFL championship games Sunday: Rex Ryan was silenced. Even Mr. Motor Mouth admitted he was speechless after the New York Jets’ loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ryan embodies two traits that I hate about the NFL: trash talking and a coach taking the spotlight.

There should be no room for trash talking in sports, period. The NFL should put in a rule that any player caught trash talking gets a 15-yard penalty. That would shut them up in a hurry.

But at least those talking trash have been players. Ryan is the first coach in my memory to do it so consistently.

Give the man credit: He did a great job coaching in the playoffs, as the Jets upset the New England Patriots largely because Ryan’s defensive plan stymied Tom Brady.

That was the time for Ryan to be magnanimous, but he probably couldn’t find that word in the dictionary. His constant boasting took the attention away from his players, who had to do the job on the field.

That kind of thing goes over well in New York, especially with the media, but I doubt that it plays well in the rest of the country.

We won’t have any of that in the Super Bowl. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy and Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin are both soft-spoken men who defer credit to their players. Call that old-fashioned, but it’s a style I prefer.

It’s also a style that has served their teams well because both the Steelers and the Packers had to overcome adversity to get to this point.

For the Steelers, the adversity came early, when Ben Roethlisberger had to sit out the first four games because of his involvement in a sexual assault case.

For the Packers, it came early and often. Injuries hurt them early and then quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion that sidelined him for a game. The Packers’ offense went with him.

That meant the Packers had to beat the Bears in their final game to make the playoffs. But it was as a No. 6 seed, so they had to play all their games on the road. That included a game against the Falcons, the NFC’s No. 1 seed, in Atlanta — but Rodgers had a career day as the Packers destroyed the Falcons.

And by the way, the Packers made it easier for those who voted Atlanta’s Matt Ryan into the Pro Bowl. The overlooked Rodgers couldn’t play in it anyway because he’s now in the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is shaping up as an epic game, mainly because of the contrasting styles of their quarterbacks.

Roethlisberger is a swashbuckling type who reportedly still rides his motorcycle without a helmet, though he’s already suffered a serious injury that way. He’s the size of a linebacker and tough with a strong arm, known for his ability to complete deep throws under late-game pressure — and he’s already won two Super Bowls.

Rodgers is definitely the smarter of the two and he’s having his best season, throwing under control and on the mark.

It should be a great matchup.

And, if Rex Ryan is talking trash again, only his TV set will know.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on E-mail him at

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Glenn Dickey

Glenn Dickey

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