Rex Ryan will always be remembered for his larger-than-life personality and the way he could convince you that his team was the toughest in the NFL. That is, until Sunday came around and they probably weren’t. In his eight seasons as an NFL head coach, Ryan has created a legacy of big talk and mediocre results (60-64 overall record). Yes, he took the New York Jets to two AFC Championships, but those feel like decades go. Since that last playoff run, Ryan’s teams have compiled a 38-53 record.
That’s pretty much why we’re less than two years into Rex’s Buffalo Bills reign and he’s most likely already on his way out.
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) December 11, 2016
The writing has been on the wall for a while now that Ryan’s days with the Bills are numbered, so we thought it might be a good time to look back at the day when Rex was hired in order to understand how we got here.
Here’s our ten favorite highlights from the transcript, all of which provide an illuminating insight into the way Ryan talks and whether or not he backed most of it up (Spoiler: he did not):
“Is this thing on? Because it’s getting ready to be on.”
Still getting ready, it seems.
“I’m not going to let our fans down. I am not going to do that. I know it’s been 15 years since the Bills made the playoffs. Well get ready, man, we’re going. We are going. And the guarantee, hey, am I guaranteeing a Super Bowl and all that? I’ll tell you what I will do; I will guarantee the pursuit of it.”
Rex makes a bold claim about making the playoffs (nope) and then makes a less-bold claim that his Bills will pursue the Super Bowl, which is actually true. Technically, it’s true of the Browns as well.
Are we going to do ground and pound? Yeah. You’re darn right we are. Are we going to throw it? Yeah, we got Sammy Watkins outside, why wouldn’t we throw it? This team, we know how loaded we are with talent.
Rex was 100 percent correct about the ground and pound mentality. The Bills led the league in rushing in 2015 and are on pace to do it again in 2016. As for the throwing part? Not so much. The Bills were 28th in passing yardage in 2016 and dead last in so far in 2016. All things considered, Watkins had a solid 2015 (60 receptions, 1,047 yards, 9 TDs) but his 2016 season has been mostly derailed by a foot injury.
“You mentioned how well we played on defense last year. Fourth in the league is probably a little disappointing, to be honest with you, because that’s not where my expectations are. I know we’ll lead the league in defense.”
If Rex was disappointed by the Bills finishing fourth in defense in 2014, he must have really been disappointed with his 2015 defense finishing 19th overall (16th vs. run, 19th vs. pass). In 2016, things are better overall (12th) but they’ve been fully incapable of stopping the run all season long (26th). Rex was off by juuuuuuust a little bit in his prediction of leading the league in defense.
“My message to our team is to get ready. Start preparing now. Start preparing that we’re going to be playing games in January and so forth.”
That did not happen in 2015 and it does not seem likely in 2016.
“We’re not afraid of anybody and certainly not afraid of [the New England Patriots]. We respect them. Understand that I recognize the fact that they have won our division the last six years. I think maybe the last, maybe 10 of the last 11 years they have won our division. But, that doesn’t guarantee they’re going to win it next year. And it doesn’t mean that we can’t be the team on top.”
The Patriots did, in fact, win the division again in 2015 and are well on their way to winning it yet again in 2016.
“I think that they realize that I’m not a mediocre coach. The record may say that, especially this year. You mentioned that we had two 8-8 and then a couple losing seasons or lousy seasons, but they understand the game a lot better than you give them credit for. I’m not a mediocre coach and anybody that thinks so, I would challenge them with that.”
With the Bills, Rex Ryan is 14-15 as head coach. If that’s not the definition of mediocre, we don’t know what is.
“It’s still the Patriots that I want the most.”
The Bills are 1-3 against the Patriots during Ryan’s reign, though that one win came during Tom Brady’s four-game suspension when New England was forced to start rookie Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. Kinda counts as half a win when you think about it.
“We’re going to be aggressive. There’s no doubt. There’s no doubt that we’re going to be aggressive. I think that statement is going to be answered early with how aggressive we’re going to be. We will not build our offensive game plans around our punter. I can tell you that.”
Buffalo punted 75 times in 2015 (16th overall) and 52 times so far in 2016 (22nd). While Ryan’s Bills didn’t exactly rely on their punter, they didn’t make his job obsolete either.
“When Thurman and Jim Kelly were here, they weren’t getting pushed around and we’re not going to get pushed around. We’re not going to get pushed around. I can promise you that. We will not be pushed around. In fact, we’re going to be the bullies.”
The problem with bullies is that they can usually talk a big game, but when it comes to actually making good on those promises…well, you get the Rex Ryan Era in Buffalo.