Ryan needs to start acting like a coach

BY Jason Whitlock • December 23, 2010

Bozo the Clown can’t survive for long as an NFL head coach.

So all the sympathy in the world won’t save Sex Ryan, the F-bomb-dropping, fun-loving, foot-worshipping New York Jets coach.

It’s going to take an extreme makeover and some playoff victories for Rex Ryan to recover from the dirty little secrets Deadspin.com exposed about Rex and his wife.

Leaders don’t get to double as punchlines, and Rex has turned himself and the Jets into jokes the old-fashion way — one controversy at a time.

He was busted on camera giving an MMA fan the finger. He turned HBO’s "Hard Knocks" into an Andrew Dice Clay standup routine. Ryan created the meat-market environment that tried to carve up Ines Sainz. He turned his weekly press conferences into "SNL" skits spoofing his brother and teasing Tom Brady.


Rex Ryan is the popular class clown. He’s not the class president or team captain.

He’s Ochocinco trying to play quarterback. It’s not going to work.

Woody Johnson, owner of the Jets, needs to have a long, serious discussion with Rex at the conclusion of the season and find out if Rex is willing to make the necessary personality sacrifices to be an NFL head coach. Johnson also must learn what other easy-to-expose skeletons are lurking in Rex’s closet.

If Rex is unwilling to adjust, it’s just a matter of time before there are additional controversies and embarrassments. Will there be a conga line of Larry the Cable Guys speaking to Deadspin, the National Enquirer and TMZ about their wild night of foot-rubbing and toe-sucking with Michelle Ryan?

Seriously, Sex Ryan could make Tiger Woods wholesome again.

Sorry, Rex’s alleged foot-fetish, amateur YouTube videos and swingers’ message-board posting are not “personal matters” that require privacy.

They’re reckless lapses in judgment that call into question his maturity, common sense, professionalism and ability to lead for a sustained period.

Look, I pass no judgment on how Rex and Michelle Ryan get their freak on. That’s their business, their happiness. I’m not the morality police. As far as we know, they’ve done nothing illegal or without each other’s consent.

My point is you have to know your role. It appears Rex Ryan spent very little time preparing for the role of NFL head coach. Larry Flynt can’t be the face of a football franchise. And neither can Bozo the Clown.

A football locker room is a vicious place. The players currently rallying around their embarrassed football coach are laughing at him, too. How could they not? The jokes are too easy.

But it’s not the laughter that will undermine Rex Ryan. It’s the pervasive lack of trust and military-style leadership found in professional football. There is no equality between the players and coaches. Football coaches are bully dictators. There is always an uncomfortable tension between player and coach.

In a league with an arbitrary “personal conduct code” and a trigger-happy commissioner ready to punish any player (not named Brett Favre) for embarrassing The Shield, Rex Ryan is going to be a line in the sand for some players.

You add all the Ryan-involved controversies together and you can make a pretty compelling argument that Rex is the league’s most embarrassing, non-criminal employee.

The exposure of his lifestyle undermines his ability to lead. NFL players will have no problem privately ripping Rex Ryan even as they sympathize with him and recognize their own hypocrisy.

Antonio “Baby Daddy” Cromartie has lost some respect for Uncle Rex.

Just as a quarterback has to work harder, study more film and carry himself in a way a receiver/defensive back doesn’t, so does a head coach. The standards are higher. This wouldn’t be a big deal if Rex was the Jets defensive coordinator.

He’s not. He’s the head coach. Under his leadership, the Jets have become football’s "Animal House." They’re constant back-page fodder for the New York tabloids. Rex’s lack of discretion and judgment are a license for the players to lack discretion and judgment.

And we haven’t even pondered how Rex’s exposed lifestyle will play with the Jets’ corporate sponsors. Image is everything.

I’m not calling for the Jets to fire Rex Ryan. I’m demanding they make him take off the clown suit.