Could Rex Go? Yes. Should Rex Go? Absolutely Not
By Alan Schechter
January 4, 2011; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson (left), head coach Rex Ryan (center), and general manager Mike Tannenbaum (right) watch during practice at the Jets Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
Is this relationship to the right going to go through a partial divorce soon? Possibly.
But it would be a bad idea.
Mike Tannenbaum, unfortunately, is not likely to be going anywhere. Sources seem to think that Mike is so far up Woody’s rear end that he will most likely be back here next year. Therefore, the discussion returns to the head coach, Rex Ryan. More specifically, how hot is his seat? Could Rex Ryan lose his job at the end of 2012? Due to his loyalty to Mark Sanchez, the answer becomes yes. He is a very loyal coach, and he could lose his job over it.
Against the Arizona Cardinals, Rex Ryan pulled Mark Sanchez in favor of Greg McElroy. McElroy, to his credit, came off the bench and led the Jets to the game-winning TD in a narrow 7-6 victory. That week, Rex Ryan took a couple of days to “decide” who the quarterback was going to be, and in the end, went with Mark Sanchez. We all wondered why. He hadn’t exactly been doing anything worth keeping his job over. And just as importantly, there was a buzz around the football team. But, since the Jets were still in the playoff hunt, Rex went back to the man he is loyal to, and the guy he believed gave him the best chance to win. They won the game against the Jaguars in spite of Mark, and Mark basically lost the Monday night game by himself. His loyalty took the Jets out of the playoff race. The move has now been made to McElroy, but obviously it is too little, too late, for the 2012 season. Woody Johnson does NOT like to lose. And he always makes changes when they don’t make the playoffs.
There is another reason that Woody might like Rex go. Rex went against his boss. According to sources leading up to the Jacksonville game, owner Woody Johnson wanted the quarterback to be McElroy. He let it be the coach’s decision, but made clear what he wanted. Whenever you go against your boss, in any line of work, you had better be right. Think about your own line of work. If your boss told you to do something, and you deliberately went against it, you would draw attention to yourself, would you not? Same thing in football. If you are going to go against the owner, you had better make the right decision, otherwise you are on notice.
This could be the reason we don’t see Rex Ryan back next year. But Woody would be wrong. Let me tell you why on the next page.
Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets coach Rex Ryan reacts during the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets need thought out changes, not knee-jerk reactions. Relieving Rex Ryan of his head coaching duties would be a knee-jerk reaction. Why? The Jets are trying to establish a culture of winning in this organization, and have been very unsuccessful in doing so. A major reason has been the lack of stability. For all of the nonsense Jon Gruden says during the telecasts, he was on point with that remark. Stability is how an organization gets better and stays better. The Jets have been the picture of INSTABILITY, and it starts with the head coaching position. Take a look at the list of Jets head coaches since 1990:
Bruce Coslet Pete Carroll Rich Kotite Bill Parcells Al Groh Herman Edwards Eric Mangini Rex Ryan
Look at that list, ladies and gentlemen. Those are the Jets coaches in the last twenty years. Now, take a look at this list of coaches, from one of the most successful organizations ever, the Pittsburgh Steelers:
Chuck Noll Bill Cowher Mike Tomlin
That isn’t the list of Steelers coaches since 1990, it’s the list since 1970!! This team has had 3 coaches in over 40 years. THAT is the way you create stability, and shocker, Pittsburgh wins games! Every year they win games! Every one of those coaches has won Super Bowls. Go back into the 80s and look at the 49ers. Bill Walsh coached for 10 years. Guess what? THEY WON! Think about the New York Giants. How loud did Giants fans cream for Tom Coughlin’s head? But did the Giants make a rash move? Nope. All you need to know about the result is the two Super Bowl rings that Tom Coughlin is wearing. Stability, folks! Stability, stability, stability. It’s what works.
If the Jets want to WIN of course.
And if you look at Rex Ryan’s body of work as a whole, there is no reason to fire him. He already has won more playoff games than any coach in the history of the New York Jets. In four years, he has made two AFC title appearances. I know it’s a “what have you done for me lately” league, but those have to be counted when looking at his resume. Yes, he has missed the playoffs the last two seasons, but it is not as if he went 2-14 in either of those two seasons. 8-8, and at worst, 6-10, are not terrible records. They certainly aren’t records that are deserving of being fired after 2 title games.
Woody Johnson always makes a splash when the Jets miss the playoffs. That splash might be to fire Rex Ryan.
That splash would be dead wrong.