Rex on head coaching: "Crazy" to think it's about only one guy

Talk of Fame Network

There is plenty about football that Rex Ryan, head coach of the New York Jets, learned from his father, Buddy, but the most important lesson had less to do with the game and more to do with an appreciation for one of its most important jobs.

Head coaching.

Buddy Ryan worked for 25 years as an assistant before he was named head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Rex worked for 22 years as an assistant before the Jets came calling in 2009. What Buddy learned while waiting for his opportunity wasn’t lost on his son … and Rex passed on that message on last weekend’s Talk of Fame Network radio program.

“The big thing (he taught me) is always worry about the job you do have; don’t worry about the job you don’t have,” said Ryan. “And if you do a good enough job, hopefully, it will be recognized. Nothing is given in this world. If you’re fortunate to be given the opportunity just be ready when it comes.”

Ryan was fortunate to be given the opportunity, and he responded by leading the Jets to consecutive conference championship games his first two seasons as a head coach. Now, of course, he and his team are struggling, but that hasn’t kept Ryan from appreciating what he has … even if it doesn’t last beyond this season.

“There are some definite pressures, no doubt about that,” he said. “(But) recognize where you’re at and do the very best job you can. And be the same person you are. Some guys … when they have success … all of a sudden, now they think it’s about them. It’s never been about them. It’s always about the people that surround you; the people you’re with. And if you think you’re doing it by yourself, you’re crazy. You’re really not that important.”

Ryan coached many Top Five defenses, including the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, but he said he thinks the 2006 Ravens – a team that led the league in total defense – might have been the best

“(That) team might have been the best defense I’ve ever been on,” he said. “I think we led the league in more categories than any defense in the history of the National Football League. But because we didn’t go on and win the Super Bowl with that team (they were beaten in the divisional round by Indianapolis) … maybe we would have looked at that defense historically with that 2000 Ravens defense and with that ’85 Bear defense.”