While everyone is writing about the Rex Ryan tattoo photo that recently surfaced as the New York Jets head coach is trying to relax down in the Bahamas, let's talk about a different topic. The trendy opinion running through the New York media is that Rex Ryan should have been fired, and that thought has also been picked up by many fans voicing their opinions through social media and other sources. Why does everyone want to fire Rex Ryan?
It's easy to respond to that question by saying that the New York Jets are a circus, there's too much off-the-field stuff going on that takes away from what happens on the field and the Jets have now missed the postseason two years in a row. Being that everyone wants the Jets to make decisions based on what happens on the field, let's keep this discussion to just that – wins and losses, on the field.
Before we get to the numbers, there are plenty in the media that think the Jets should have fired Rex Ryan. Ian O'Connor of ESPN wrote this article to say just that, Adam Schein called not firing Rex Ryan the Jets' "Worst move of 2012," and Tim Smith of the New York Daily News has also called for Ryan to be canned.
Let's take a look at the numbers of three head coaches and their records in their first four seasons as an NFL head coach. The names have been removed, but we will reveal them later on:
|Coach||Record||Winning Seasons||Losing Seasons||Playoff Appearances||Playoff Record|
It's fairly easy to argue that Coach C has accomplished the most in his first four seasons. Coach B has one more regular season win, but Coach C has two more playoff wins over the four year period. Coach A only had one playoff appearance, in the only winning season he posted in his first four seasons as an NFL head coach. None of these three head coaches were fired after their first four seasons, and none deserved to be.
Coach A is Bill Belichick. He went on to post a 5-11 record in his fifth season and was fired. Bill Belichick went back to being an assistant before taking over the New England Patriots and winning three Super Bowls.
Coach C is Rex Ryan, of course.
The point here is that it's easy to get caught up in an 8-8 season followed up by a 6-10, plus all the nonsense that goes on, and want to just scrap the whole thing and start over. With two examples of successful head coaches compared to Rex Ryan in very similar situations, it lets us take a step back and reconsider.
Maybe that's not enough. Fine, fire Rex Ryan. Now, replace him. Andy Reid is already finalizing things with the Kansas City Chiefs, so who would be your choice? Is it Chip Kelly? Seems like a tough fit being that Chip Kelly's offense benefits from such a drastic advantage in speed and talent, something that won't happen on a weekly basis in the NFL, especially with the current Jets roster. Plus, when faced with a tough, physical defense (Stanford, Auburn in 2011), Kelly's teams have struggled.
You can forget about Jon Gruden. While he will likely get back into coaching at some point, he has a cushy job at ESPN that pays him really well and doesn't require the hours or strain that coaching in the NFL does.
If you're going to fire Rex Ryan, you better have a really good replacement on deck because Rex Ryan had accomplished a lot in his first four seasons as a head coach in the NFL. It's important to remember that the 6-10 record the Jets posted included injuries to Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes early in the season and a total implosion by Mark Sanchez. If you truly want the Jets to make a decision based on performance on the field, Rex Ryan deserves another year as head coach.
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