"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Large and in Charge

Nicholas Dawidoff has a long profile on Rex Ryan in this week’s New York Times Magazine. For those of you who, you know, dig the pigskin:

Late spring in Florham Park, N.J., under a cloudless sky on a bright green lawn lined for football. It’s too hot, there’s only one lonely shade tree, and Rex Ryan’s latest diet isn’t working out. The New York Jets’ head coach is up over 345 again. Across the way from Ryan is his most valued employee, the magnificent cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is so “frustrated” about his salary that he sometimes seems undone. Living in Ryan’s attic back at the house is Ryan’s best friend since his Oklahoma youth, Jeff Weeks, the Jets’ outside linebackers coach, who is going through a divorce. Down on the farm in Kentucky, Ryan’s father, the pioneering defensive coach Buddy Ryan, has been ill with diverticulitis, while out in Cleveland, Ryan’s twin brother, Rob, is coordinating the defense for Browns Coach Eric Mangini, who had Ryan’s job until he was fired for what holdover Jets delicately call “negativity.” That, at least, will never be Ryan’s problem. “How great is this!” he cries, looking around. “My life is perfect.”

Jets practices are all planned to the minute long before they take place, with the formal responsibilities delegated to the various positional coaches, as well as to the team’s offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, and its defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine. As these worthies exhort their charges, it’s easy to imagine them all astride wheeling horses on some military parade ground, hardening their regiments for the long campaigns of autumn. Ryan is left to do exactly what he pleases, which almost always amounts to meandering from group to group, being enthusiastic. Wherever he wanders, Ryan is hard to miss. An immense man whose thick foothills of neck and haunch swell into a spectacular butte at the midsection, he possesses a personal geography that, from first-and-10 distance, assumes a form that follows his function — Ryan looks like nothing more than an extra-large football.


1 Chyll Will   ~  Sep 11, 2010 2:25 pm

I have a friend I've known since middle school; flashy, fussy, quick-talking, flamboyant and sensitive (you know where that's going...); we hated each other for no reason the first year of school together, but I had a crush on his cousin. When I found out where she lived, I came by and knocked on her door; this guy literally pops out the door, settles on the stoop and starts talking to me like we're best friends. By the end of the conversation, we do indeed become friends and have been so ever since.

Rex reminds me of him (except the, um, flamboyant part) and I can't help but like him regardless of his mouth; he's a heart-on-sleeve guy who stands by what he says. He may be wrong half the time, but you know what? He may be right.

Remember Gary Busey in D.C. Cab? That's Rex.

2 rbj   ~  Sep 11, 2010 4:14 pm

Crud, Tampa won and won big.

Need a W tonight, AJ.

3 williamnyy23   ~  Sep 11, 2010 4:36 pm

I finally broke down and watched some of Hard Knocks and came away with conflicted feelings. On the one hand, I think I like Rex more, but on the other, the game of football seemed less appealing.

I am not sure if it is the same way in baseball, but it seems like the players in an NFL training camp are treated like 6th graders. I found it hard to watch grown men with families to support handled like children (although considering NFL players legal troubles, might be necessary).

Seeing that treatment, juxtaposed against how unfairly one-sided NFL contracts are, make me shake my head at how weak the player's union has been. I know actually find myself rooting for an NFL players strike, and applauding the players gesture of solidarity before the Thursday opener.

[2] Comparing the two schedules, the Yankees look more destined for the wild card, especially after a game as poorly played and managed as last night's.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver