By Tyson Rauch
Barring a stunning turn of events, Sunday will be the last home game that Rex Ryan will coach for the New York Jets. The wild ride with Ryan is finally coming to an end following a fourth consecutive season of missing out on the postseason. While it will be easy to criticize Rex on his way out the door, the coach with a larger than life personality should be remembered for some of the great moments that he added to the history of the New York Jets.
When Rex Ryan took over Gang Green in 2009, the team was searching for an identity and a direction. The Jets swung and missed with Brett Favre and head coach Eric Mangini had everyone walking around like robots spewing the company line. The New York Jets were in desperate need of an emotional leader that would be willing to take over a “win now” team that would be fielding a rookie quarterback.
From day one it was evident that Rex Ryan was the right man for the job as his press conference introduction instantly inspired the fan base. Fiery statements like, “The message to the rest of the league is, Hey, the Jets are coming, and we’re going to give you everything we got. And I think that’s going to be more than you can handle” brought a tremendous amount of confidence not only to the team, but to the fan base as well.
Rex Ryan gave the New York Jets a sense of pride and a feeling that the team would be willing to go toe to toe with any opponent, including the highly touted New England Patriots. “I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings. I came here to win, let’s put it that way. I’m certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else.” Rex Ryan’s swagger was the right fit at the right time for Gang Green.
Rex Ryan kicked off his tenure with the Jets by leading his team to the AFC Championship game in both 2009 and 2010. The 2009 season featured a postseason charge that included road wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Chargers. The 2010 season may be the team’s most memorable run as Gang Green beat future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in their own building. The Jets playoff victory over the Patriots may go down as one of the greatest team victories, right behind Joe Namath’s Super Bowl victory.
The man that is Rex Ryan
Following two remarkable postseason appearances, Rex and his Jets started to come back to reality as decisions on and off the field started to haunt Gang Green. Throughout this time, Rex Ryan and his strong personality continued to believe in his team and his players. Ryan stood front and center and always held himself accountable for the team’s misfortunes. The Jets lead man was the ultimate player’s coach, one that would never quit on his team or his organization.
As Rex Ryan moves on I would like to thank the New York Jets head coach for giving his heart and soul to the organization. I would like to thank Rex for all of those moments where he made us proud to be Jets fans. Things may have not gone exactly the way Ryan planned, but you can never discount the amount of pride and passion that Rex brought to the New York Jets organization.
Thank you for the memories, Rex Ryan.
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Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on aExaminer.com.