A combined total of 12 NFL head coaches and general mangers received their walking papers Monday, amongst them former Eagles head coach Andy Reid and his Chicago counterpart Louvie Smith. Norv Turner’s reign of error finally came to a close in San Diego, meaning the crown of head coach no sane person has any confidence in is now solely claimed by the J-E-R-K-S’ Rex Ryan. While GM Mike Tannenbaum paid the ultimate price for the combined underachievement of Ryan, owner Woody Johnson and deeply delusional QB Mark Sanchez, it would appear independent film maven Rex possesses photographs of his paymaster that cannot ever be viewed by the general public. There’s almost no other explanation, and ESPN NY’s Ian O’Connor asks us to “name the last head coach in a major team spot that won a championship, or multiple championships, with a persona as outsized and an approach as loud and wildly inconsistent as Rex’s” (presumably Edwina Franklin getting the Knicks into the playoffs doesn’t count).
Whether it’s being ultra-late to discover a player’s injury, or being oblivious to the fact an insubordinate star was benched by an assistant (see the Santonio and Schotty show, Miami, Week 17, 2011 season), Ryan is forever the last to know what’s happening with his team. On arrival in Florham Park, N.J., four years ago, Rex said he burned to become a better head coach than his father, Buddy, architect of the defense that defined the ’85 Chicago Bears.
But like his old man, Ryan was born to be a coordinator, and a great one. Just not the ultimate game-day leader of a franchise. Go ahead and name the last head coach in a major team spot that won a championship, or multiple championships, with a persona as outsized and an approach as loud and wildly inconsistent as Rex’s.
The big winners — the Bill Belichicks and Tom Coughlins and Joe Torres — almost always have a steadiness running through the core of their programs, with tweaks applied here and there. Ryan has been all over the place the last two years, and it’s no coincidence his team has followed suit. If it used to be a compliment when people said the Jets had taken on their coach’s personality, it’s a compliment no more.