The Evolution of New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan: 2009

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Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets coach Rex Ryan speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There was no filter on Ryan in 2009. He broke down and cried after the Jacksonville game and declared the Jets out of the playoffs prematurely after a Week 15 loss to the Falcons. He openly said he was hoping the Colts would rest their starters in Week 16 giving the Jets a chance to sneak in the playoffs. All of those things are not what head coaches normally say or do. Other coaches learn to talk a lot without saying anything, to speak in tired clichés and never rile up the opposition. Ryan was just himself.

As the Jets entered the playoffs as prohibitive underdogs Rex Ryan was unfazed when he was asked about the long odds in Vegas he delivered this response:

“I wasn’t aware of that,” Ryan said when asked about being underdogs. “But to me we should be favorites. I mean in the whole tournament. I think we have the best defense; I know we do. I think we have the best rushing attack. I want this football team. If I had a choice to coach any team in this tournament, I would choose this one.”

His confidence in his team drove them to victories over the Bengals and Chargers and to within a half of going to the Super Bowl.

2009 Rex Ryan was on a mission to prove to himself, his players, the fans, and the rest of the league that his brash, honest, open style could work. The Jets embodied Ryan’s message as they were physical both offensively as they led the league in rushing and on defense as they were number 1 in the league. Ryan had his philosophies and coaching style validated by 2009′s surprise run as an underdog and he was ready to be even more bold as a favorite in 2010.

Next time we will examine the 2010 Rex Ryan from Hard Knocks to another AFC Title game appearance and all of the fun in between. How would Rex evolve from 2009 to 2010? Hint: He would turn the volume up to 11.


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  • matr dontelli iii

    2009 was a great run. The media loved Rex, he was a headline a day. Nearly every game we lost was due to mark making too many mistakes to overcome. Rex pushed the team to achieve far more than anyone expected, yet when we got to the end of the season did anyone doubt we would beat Cincinnati in those two games? For anyone who thinks we should move on from Rex, 2009 is something they should think about before we let Rex go someplace else.

    • Craig Hoffman

      I think he returns to his 2009 roots this year and earns a contract extension. He game plans well and motivates better than most.

    • Frank Antonelli

      Just imagine if Brett Favre was our QB in 2009 and 2010. We might have won back to back Super Bowls. Rex was asked what he would have done if they weren’t able to get Sanchez. He said he would have flown to Brett’s ranch and convinced him to play for the Jets. Oh how I wish we could go back in time!

      • matr dontelli iii

        i don’t think favre would have been the solution, but we know mark wasn’t, therefore the possibility at least exists that favre could have brought us over the hump. as far as 2010 the biggest problem was the defense spotting the steelers 17 points on their home turf, never a good way to start a championship game.

      • Craig Hoffman

        What if’s are tough to play out. Favre’s situation with Jen Sterger might have blown up much earlier and killed 2009. The team would not have been able to sneak up on anyone like they did the first half of the season either but Favre could have put those teams over the top.

  • Joe Willie

    A lot of fans are like “rags in the wind” whatever the media blows at them they follow–the media circus has been on Rex’s case the last 2 years–8-8—6-10–with the worst QB is the league and mediocre talent (mr T) and its like he’s gone 2-30 while the NFL network is honking clown horns every time they mention the Jets name–the media are the clowns –the non story driven media is the circus. I look and listen to NFL AM (not anymore)at the talking heads and I say to myself “you people should be as good at your job as Rex is doing his” instead of just crossing your legs good- eye candy -or relating from ur NFL career where nobody knew your name–same goes for the so called columnists –BUT like I said, very few fans think with their own critical mind..their just driven to wherever the highly commercial, non professional journalistic media drives them like sheep–over the cliff. Not me! Rex is one hell of a football mind –ask the players—he just needs to be more diplomatic with his off the cuff remarks till we start winning again -THIS YEAR.

    • Craig Hoffman

      I think Rex is one of the best coaches in the history of the franchise I look forward to this year when he removes the muzzle he wore the last two years and stays true to himself in his public persona as well.

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