Looking back at rivalry after Jeter retires, Ryan comes up short

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan talks to his defense on the bench during the first half of their game with the Ravens in Baltimore on Nov. 24, 2013.

By Peter Bailey-Wells

This weekend, sports’ greatest rivalry was put on hold for a great player.

Derek Jeter’s retirement provided a moment to reflect on the never-ending struggle for dominance between Boston and New York sports teams.

Boston is on an unprecedented run of championships in all four major sports, and New York is, and always will be, the busiest sports city in the country. The rivalries between the two cities are colorful and historic. Yankees-Red Sox is unmatched in sports, while the Knicks-Celtics and Rangers-Bruins matchups are fiercely competitive.

But then there’s the Jets and the Patriots rivalry. It pales in comparison to the other rivalries and, recently, that is the fault of one person: Rex Ryan.

Ryan is the boisterous coach of the Jets and is in his sixth year with them. His first two seasons with the team, the Jets made the AFC championship.

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    Led by Darrelle Revis and a dominating defense, the Jets made waves in the AFC East, a division won by the Patriots in 10 of the last 11 seasons.

    After their first two seasons under Ryan, the Jets established a hard-nosed reputation. Ryan led his team by example, often appearing in local and national media with provocative comments and cocky behavior. Ryan had earned the right to be confident, right?

    Since the 2010 season, the team has gone 23-29. The Jets have had no winning seasons, just two All-Pros and one great butt-fumble.

    Quarterback Mark Sanchez, responsible for said butt-fumble, had shoulder surgery before the 2013 season and has not played for the Jets since. In his time with the team, Sanchez threw more interceptions than touchdowns and his butt-fumble had to be retired by ESPN because it could not be beat in voting for the Worst-of-the-Worst in their Not Top 10.

    Ryan blustered through his third season with the Jets, predicting a championship at the beginning of the 2011 season. That season ended with Santonio Holmes embarrassing himself, and the Jets and Ryan fighting with teammates in the season’s final game. The Jets lost that game to the Dolphins and missed the playoffs.

    The 2012 season was a mess. The Jets’ offseason acquisition of Tim Tebow created a media storm, but the quarterback was hardly used and created more of a distraction than he was worth. Constant calls for Tebow to replace Sanchez overshadowed Ryan’s mediocre squad. Ryan’s dominant defense fell to bits that year, and the team finished at 6-10.

    Prior to 2013, Sanchez hurt his shoulder when Ryan put him in late in a preseason game. With the starter out for the season, rookie Geno Smith got the chance to start.

    On Sunday, Smith used an f-word with a fan while walking off the field and the Jets slipped to 1-3. Ryan stood up for his quarterback, but this season already looks like it could be a lost cause. Ryan has another QB controversy on his hands and can’t seem to develop young signal-callers.

    When a head coach is a defensive specialist (like Ryan), his defense better be really good (think Parcells, Belichick, Coughlin, etc.) if he wants to win a Super Bowl. He also has to be lucky enough to have a competent QB leading the offense (Phil Simms, Tom Brady, Eli Manning). Since his first two seasons with the Jets, Ryan can’t seem to do either. His time in New York should be almost up.

    When Ryan arrived in New York, he claimed he wouldn’t kiss Bill Belichick’s rings. The Patriots are aiming for their fourth straight AFC championship appearance. When you keep taking shots at the big boys, you eventually start to look like a fool. Combine that with the Jets on-field product and, sooner or later, Ryan needs to be shown the door.

    Peter is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @pbaileywells22.