The Fifth Down blog on the Times site brought up something great yesterday that we'd totally forgotten about: Rex Ryan, the white-hot-because-he-won-one-game coach whose Jets challenge Bill Belichick's Patriots this weekend, totally got Ravens coach Brian Billick fired. Not on purpose, mind you, but because he did something dumb.
The situation: Two years ago, when the Patriots were in the midst of their "perfect" season, they trailed the Ravens 24-20 with 1:48 left and a fourth-and-one at midfield. Tom Brady went for a quarterback sneak and was stuffed ... game over, perfect season over, right? Nope: Ryan, then the defensive coordinator for the Ravens, didn't like his defensive alignment and called time-out right before the snap, nullifying the play. The Patriots ended up sneaking out the first down on the next play, and they went on to win, setting them up to lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl and make everyone all misty-eyed. The Ravens never recovered, and Billick was fired. Now Ryan is here. And his Jets are a sleeper pick to knock off the Patriots this week. Considering the contrast between Ryan and Belichick, the rivalry seems likely to be restored by virtue of the chasm between the two coaches' personalities.
In case you were in doubt as to whether you should love Rex Ryan — and you totally should — we remind you of this photo of Ryan from June at Yankee Stadium. Isn't that what you want your football coaches to look like? Bill Belichick would be in some private box with Jon Bon Jovi, slowly sucking the veins of infants to sustain his dark lifeblood. Rex Ryan pops open a beer and makes it clear that he won't be leaving this seat for a while, thank you very much. Heck, Ryan even has his own Kissing Suzy Kolber character. Fantastic. J-E-T-S!