Dyer: #KeepRex — The Fans Have Spoken, And They Want Ryan Back
By Kristian Dyer
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It is the Twitter hashtag that is sweeping the nation, or at least the Tri-State Area, all in support of New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan and a fan movement that is embraced by hundreds and thousands of fans who want to see Ryan return. Through five years with Ryan, the Jets made consecutive AFC Championship Games for the first time in franchise history. But he’s been unable to build on that success the past three years, seasons where the team hasn’t even made the playoffs.
What can be said about these 7-8 Jets is that they don’t quit and they don’t listen to their critics.
In the preseason they were picked to hold up the rest of the league, picked to be bottom-feeders expected to get three wins. Instead, they rolled off to a 5-4 start. Then when adversity hit after their bye week and they lost three straight, the Jets didn’t tap out. They responded with a win over an underrated Oakland Raiders team and they were in it against the playoff-bound Carolina Panthers on the road two weeks ago.
And this past Sunday, they could have caved in after falling behind 10-0 to the Cleveland Browns. Instead, they came back for a win that ensures them a better season than the year before last. That Browns team wasn’t bad and the Jets started off with a cold offense that couldn’t move the ball. Despite that, they showed heart and pulled off the win.
The Jets didn’t quit, something that is a testament to their head coach — and only their head coach.
Now the fans won’t quit on him either. This was the Ryan they saw who led their team twice in as many years to within a game of the Super Bowl. And it was the same Ryan who had a dramatic fall from grace those three years after, where a combination of hubris and some bad contracts led him from hero to zero and now potentially the chopping block.
But a pink slip would ignore what these #KeepRex fans know about their head coach, that he is the best thing to happen to this organization since Joe Namath. In Ryan, they have not only a head coach who is a defensive mastermind, but one who cares. This team, this organization, is not a stepping stone for him.
The Jets are everything to him. This team, this franchise is his very pulse.
Cut open one of his veins and green and white pours out, along with some Krispy Kreme residue. But he bleeds the Jets, this franchise and the fans, and not every coach out there cares so passionately. This is the man who, in his first year as head coach, cried when he thought his team was eliminated from playoff contention. It is also the head coach who defends every player in his locker room in the face of criticism.
That Ryan cares isn’t enough to give him an extension, a lifeline for one more year here. That his team hasn’t given up with nothing to play for shows that he still has the juice to communicate with this team, to get them back into the postseason again. His team was given up for dead before the season started; this rebuilding year was supposed to be his last season in New York.
Instead, he had the Jets playing meaningful football in December. The fans are now behind him. It remains to be seen if management sees the potential for a Ryan renaissance too.
The message is simple and doesn’t need 140 characters to sum it up.
Kristian R. Dyer covers the New York Jets as a beat reporter for Metro New York and is a contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @KristianRDyer.
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