In 2009, Rex Ryan was hired as the head coach of the NY Jets, and he wasted no time making bold predictions about finally making the 'Same ol' Jets' a contender after 40 years of anemic football.
Things started off well, going 3-0 to start, but quickly turned ugly as the team dropped six of the next seven games. By week 10, Rex got his first taste what an endearing sports town the Big Apple can be, a city where they love building someone up just to later chop them down. With all his early bravado, including a Super Bowl prediction a la Broadway Joe, being what he himself mistakenly deemed "mathematically out of it" before December was a perfect time to start swinging the ax, and with four decades worth of scars left by the horribly coached teams of Jets football past, it wasn't hard to get the local venom spewing.
But Rex didn't back down, continuing to insist that while he knows we're "tired of hearing it, this is a good football team." He said that with a smirk, sitting at 4-6 in his first year ever as a head coach, leading a team that had become so synonymous with failure, they were well known by their appropriate acronym, Just End The Season. He said it in front of the cruelest media on the planet, with the lynch-mob of millions that they rally each week with their tabloid sports coverage watching at home, knowing that, at that moment, all they saw in him was the third straight failed attempt by their miserable franchise to give some up and coming "genius" his first shot in the NFL at the expense of the team's relevance.
Fast forward through some 42 disparaging headlines and the Jets were in the playoffs, enroute to make the most noise in the history of the franchise, post-Joe, winning big games on the road to advance within one game of the Super Bowl for only their second time since 1982. He also managed to put a top defense on the field all year and split the season series long dominated by their division bully Patriots, among other notable strides made in year one. So, about 12 weeks worth of "Rex is a bust" rhetoric, bestowed on him in every newspaper by the very folks to whom he gave football life, got tossed in the trash. Rex was the man, for a minute.