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The quote originated with former Bengals coach Sam Wyche. But imagine it coming out of the mouth of Ryan or even QB Mark Sanchez, especially if the Jets manage to recreate the hilarious “butt-fumble” that became the signature moment of last season’s futility.

_ “We’ve got to find a way to win. I’m willing to start cheating.”

This one was uttered by former Pats tight end Marv Cook long before New England became a perennial contender. It has the whiff of desperation and heads off any questions about a player’s commitment going forward. But it comes with one important caveat. No player with a previous suspension for violating the league’s drug policy _ this means you, Calvin Pace, and you, Santonio Holmes _ should touch it.

_ “Defensively, I think it’s important for us to tackle.”

Credit this one to Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg just before Super Bowl XXIV. As noted above, the Jets won’t need to make excuses on defense often. But we included it for the benefit of cornerback Antonio Cromartie, whose tackling style has been occasionally compared to that of famous matadors. Just in case.

_ “This job is better than I could get if I used my college degree, which, at this point, I can’t remember what it was in.”

This all-purpose quote came from former Raiders tackle Mike Golic and suggests things have hit rock bottom. Plus, even if the questioner doesn’t take pity on the interviewee, it doesn’t easily lend itself to follow-ups.

_ “We need more cohesion, rather than Stalinistic purges where you operate under a level of fear. We all need to join hands and sing, `Kumbaya.’ “

This one was hatched by Brian Williams of pro basketball’s Denver Nuggets, but it’s the go-to quote for teams falling apart at the end of the season. For starters, reporters will have to look up “Stalinistic purges,” and then decide who in the Jets‘ front office is behind this latest sweeping-out. If nothing else, that should severely curtail their time for further questions.

And if those don’t fit, well, there’s always this gem from none other than Buddy Ryan, the former coach, mentor and father of the Jets‘ Rex Ryan, following an embarrassing loss.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever been beaten by a team that looked like it was trying to die.”


Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at) and follow him at