Say what you want about Rex Ryan's coaching record, but his tenure with the Jets was, um, shall we say, colorful. He drew countless laughs during his six years, delivering well-timed and classic one-liners. But there also were plenty of cringe-worthy moments. Here's a look back at some of Ryan's most memorable moments.
Back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances
Despite being a rookie head coach with a rookie quarterback, Rex Ryan steered the Jets to the conference championship game after the 2009 and 2010 seasons. They beat the Chargers, 17-14, in San Diego in the divisional round after the 2009 season, marking the first time they had reached the AFC title game in 11 years. But Ryan & Co. fell a victory short of the Super Bowl both years.
Snack time . . .
The Jets’ 2010 appearance on HBO’s “Hard Knocks’’ was the highest-rated season in the show’s history -- and for good reason. Ryan was the ultimate scene-stealer thanks to his wit and unfiltered dialogue, but he endeared himself to fans with an expletive-laced speech during a team meeting the night before the Jets’ preseason game in Philly. “Let’s make sure we play like [expletive] New York Jets and not some [expletive] team,“ he said. “That’s what I wanna see tomorrow. Do we understand what the [expletive] I wanna see tomorrow? Let’s go eat a [expletive] snack!’’ And with that, he walked out.
Upset special I
After Adam Vinatieri gave the Colts a 16-14 lead on a 50-yard field goal with 53 seconds to play in their first-round playoff game in January 2011, Ryan’s Jets stunned the defending AFC champions and their Lucas Oil Stadium fans, advancing 40 yards in five plays before Nick Folk became a folk hero by kicking the winning 32-yard field goal as time expired.
Upset special II
Despite playing on the road with a second-year quarterback and being 10-point underdogs against the 14-2 Patriots, the Jets stunned New England, 28-21, in the divisional round of the playoffs in January 2011. The turning point of the game: Mark Sanchez’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes put the Jets up 21-11 early in the fourth quarter.
Complete with a curly blond wig, a Cleveland Browns cap and a rolled-up pillow underneath his oversize shirt, Ryan pretended to be his twin brother, Rob, during a 2010 news conference. His shtick, done in advance of facing Rob, then the Browns’ defensive coordinator, instantly drew laughs. “I think Rex is a great coach,’’ he said, still wearing the costume. “He’s a great person, and he’s very handsome.’’
QB or not QB?
Ryan’s desire to win the Snoopy Bowl trophy in 2013 wound up costing Sanchez his season and ushered in the Geno Smith Era. Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury after he was unexpectedly inserted in the fourth quarter of the Jets’ preseason game against the Giants. Ryan was so determined to win the game that he called on Sanchez to close it out (behind a makeshift offensive line of backups) after Smith threw three interceptions in his first start.
Flawed guarantees . . .
Ryan’s braggadocio was refreshing in his first two years, but his boastfulness wore thin as the Jets’ losses began to mount. During his introductory news conference in January 2009, he issued the following message to the league: “Hey, the Jets are coming, and we’re going to give everything we got. And I think that’s going to be more than you can handle.’’ Ryan later put his guarantee in writing, scribbling “Soon to be Champs’’ on the Jets’ logo on the back of ESPN’s training camp tour bus. “My crystal ball, I’m seeing a Super Bowl trophy in there,’’ he said. “Now I could be wrong, but that’s what I see.’’ The Jets haven’t won a Super Bowl or even an AFC championship. Including playoff games, they’re 49-52 under Ryan.
The bird's the word
Ryan has always had a way of getting his message across, but his loss of control has cost him a lot of money. In 2010, he was docked $50,000 for making an obscene gesture at an MMA event in Miami. The following year, Ryan was fined $75,000 for shouting a profanity at a fan at Gillette Stadium. Last month, he was fined $100,000 for shouting an expletive as he walked off the field after the Jets’ win over the Steelers.
Perhaps math wasn’t Ryan’s best subject in school. In 2009, after dropping to 7-7 after a Week 15 loss to the Falcons, he lamented: “We’re obviously out of the playoffs, and that’s unfortunate.’’ There was just one problem: The Jets still were alive, albeit barely. Despite the long odds, they won their last two games against the Colts and Bengals and reached the playoffs. Three weeks later, Ryan declared the Jets should be the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Stumbling toward the finish
There was plenty of excitement heading into the 2014 season, thanks to a few free-agent signings and the 12 draft picks selected in May. Ryan thought he had a playoff team this year, but after barely winning their season opener against the Raiders, the Jets lost eight games in a row. They bring a 3-12 record into Sunday’s season finale in Miami. “It’s been a little humbling, to say the least,’’ Ryan said this week.