This week’s “Hot Button” issue at ESPN.com is the question of whether Rex Ryan is overrated as a head coach. The debate they post is focused on whether he can claim to be a “great” head coach or not.
It is hard to say whether Rex Ryan is overrated, since there are such inconsistent feelings about him around the league and “great” is too subjective in this case to say whether he is or not.
I do know this, Rex is 20-12 in his two regular seasons as the New York Jets head coach and has won four playoff games, which statistically makes him the most successful coach in franchise history. The brash talk has been backed up by wins on the field, wins that have come while breaking in a young quarterback, which make them that much more impressive.
Personally, I love Rex’s bravado. It has provided a much needed shot in the arm to this organization. The Jets have become a national team and there isn’t a coach in the league that more players want to play more than Ryan. This was a team that was buried in irrelevancy only a few years ago and had no identity or direction.
It shame that the same bravado from Rex that many of us love, limit some of the credit he receives from others. People get so caught up in his sound bites, they ignore his production on the field. Rex has always been true to his personality and I applaud him for not changing it to fit some pre-conceived notion of how a NFL head coach should act.
How could you ignore the game plans he came up with to beat the Colts and Patriots in the playoffs last year? Do you remember the superlatives being thrown around about the “unstoppable” Patriots offense, before Rex and the Jets defense embarrassed Tom Brady and company in their own building?
Say he is overrated, say he isn’t “great”, say he talks too much, but the bottom line is Rex Ryan provided more positive memories for Jets fans in the past two years than any other coach did in his entire tenure, outside of Weeb Ewbank. Heading into the 2011 season (if it ever comes), the Jets are one of the top organizations in the league and their head coach is one of the primary reasons for it.