There’s a riveting tragic irony playing in New York this winter. Its protagonist is an over-sized ego who is clinging to his short-lived success of recent past. The performance begins with a prediction that coincidentally sets off a chain of flops, frustration and failure.
Did I mention, this story is not playing at any of the historic theatrical venues on Broadway? You can see this dramatic performance on your television every Sunday. Sometimes the show originates just miles away from Broadway, across the river, at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey.
The story is the 2012 New York Jets – and, without playing spoiler, let me just say, it won’t end well. Surprising? Yes, because it began with such promise. When Rex Ryan took over as head coach in 2009 the Jets were one win away from going to the Super Bowl. Again, the team advanced to the AFC Conference Championship games in 2010, but lost. According to Business Insider Sports, during one stretch covering the end of 2009 and beginning of the 2010 season, the Jets went 16-4 (including the playoffs), outscoring their opponents by an average score of 23-15. Despite the disappointing finishes the Jets were once again relevant – and contending.
Everyone interested in the National Football League knew it, so why did Ryan have to make that prediction in February 2011? You know, the statement, the guarantee?
“I believe this is the year we’re going to win the Super Bowl. The fact is I thought we’d win it the first two years, I guarantee we’ll win it this year.” – Rex Ryan (February, 2011)
Call it fate, coincidence, kismet, superstition … call it whatever you’d like, the fact is, from that moment on the Jets fortunes reversed. The Super Bowl guarantee year ended with a thud. The Jets finished 8-8.
Since the prediction, the New York Jets are 12-15. The Insider points to the Jets defense as the “biggest culprit.” This is a Jets defense that, not long ago, was considered one of the best in the league. Why? Rex Ryan. Defense was Ryan’s strength. He was a loud-mouthed genius who brought attitude — and wins — to New York.
Genius no more. Despite poor reviews, fans continue to come out in droves to see the train wreck for themselves. The 49-19 beat down they took at the hands of the New England Patriots Thanksgiving night, well, that’s just confirmation the Jets are lost. Ryan has lost the team, no matter how much praise and support he heaps on them from behind a microphone and a scad of fire-breathing New York reporters.
“Sometimes the head coach can get let go because maybe he doesn’t have the people around him,” Ryan told reporters in 2011, moments after making the ill-fated Super Bowl guarantee. “If they let me go, it’s not because of that reason. It’s because I must have failed. I have a tough time believing that I’m going to fail with the men on this football team.”
Believe it, because it is happening right in front of you. Ryan has failed – and the men on his football team have failed too. But in the best interest in of the Jets future, Ryan must go.