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.