It’s football weather in Shelbyville, Ky., which might bring Buddy Ryan’s mind back around to the game he coached for decades.
He doesn’t need to reminisce, though. His son is keeping the Ryan name on the back page with Rex’s brash talk and with the Jets trying to get to a second straight AFC Championship game on Sunday.
“Oh, I think so,” Buddy Ryan said by phone this morning when asked if he thought Rex’s Jets would be playing football at least another week. “They’re playing great.”
Buddy Ryan was happy to talk up his son’s surprising success last January, when Rex was a rookie coach and people were still getting accustomed to his bold statements.
Now, the elder Ryan, who turns 77 next month, is a little less interested in speaking up. Of Rex’s latest pronouncements calling out Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in advance of Sunday’s game, Buddy doesn’t take issue.
“I don’t see anything bad about that,” Buddy said. “Rex knows Belichick’s a good coach. I do too. And Brady’s a great quarterback.”
There have been plenty of other headline-making moments for Rex this season, from a Super Bowl prediction in training camp to “Hard Knocks” to the videos of Rex’ wife, Michelle, that surfaced last month.
Buddy Ryan isn’t interested in any of it. “All the things he says, that’s his business,” he said.
Buddy wasn’t around the Jets as much as last season, when he came to Rex’s first training camp and attended the AFC Championship game in Indianapolis, a few hours from his horse farm.
“When I was in training camp I thought they had a (heck) of a team,” Buddy Ryan said last January, prior to the AFC title game. “They have a good offensive line. The best defense in the league. Everything he said he’d get, he did get.”
He reportedly was hospitalized several months ago after a bout of diverticulitis, but he is still active. He politely excused himself after a brief chat this morning.
“I got some horses to feed,” he said before signing off.