NFL Wire News

Jets’ Ryan prepares for likely final game


FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — President Barack Obama was not even in office for one full day when Rex Ryan took over as the New York Jets’ head coach on Jan. 21, 2009 and immediately made his intentions known to make at least one visit to the White House as a Super Bowl champion.

Alas, Ryan’s sixth season as head coach will officially come to a close Sunday, when the free-falling Jets visit the Miami Dolphins, and the closest he has come to seeing Obama was when the Jets visited the Washington Redskins during the 2011 season.

And Obama has a better chance of winning a third term than Ryan does of getting another chance to head to the White House with the Jets. While Ryan has gotten the overmatched Jets to play hard and remain competitive in almost every game, the facts are indisputable.

At 3-12, the Jets must win Sunday to avoid their worst finish since 1996, when they went 1-15 in Rich Kotite’s final season. More alarmingly, after coaching the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons, the Jets have missed the playoffs four straight times, the franchise’s longest drought since a six-year stretch from 1992-1997.

“These last couple seasons have been pretty tough,” Ryan said Tuesday. “There’s no doubt. I’d say this one’s probably (a) dog-year season.”

Add it all up and Ryan is all but certain to be fired by owner Woody Johnson no later than Monday. But while his chances of heading to the White House with the Jets appear extinguished, Ryan still harbors confidence he’ll meet the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at some point in the future.

“I just see myself winning (the Super Bowl) as a head coach,” Ryan said. “I definitely see it.”

Pretty bold words from a coach whose team is 25-38 the last four seasons. But if there’s one thing Ryan has never lacked, it’s self-confidence.

“People are going to be like ‘That’s crazy, you’ve won three games,'” Ryan said. “Yeah that’s right. Yup, I’ve won three games. And that’s one year. And sure it hasn’t gone well.”

Ryan’s bravado was largely muted lately by the Jets’ struggles as well as his attempts to conform to the robotic standards of general manager — and fellow lame duck — John Idizk.

But Ryan, surely aware that his words are probably being read and heard by the owners of other franchises pondering a coaching change following the season, made it clear that he’s as secure in his convictions as he was that glorious, optimism-filled day in January 2009.

“I’m sure of myself,” Ryan said. “I’m always a confident person. Not just because of my abilities. I was given some gifts and obviously a lot less in other areas, but I can coach football and I know that. But it’s more based on the people that I’m around and the people that I know.

“I think that gives the belief that one day I’m going to win that thing. That’s how I feel. That’s it, I guess. That’s just the way I’m wired.”

SERIES HISTORY: This is the 98th regular-season meeting between the Jets and Dolphins. The Jets lead series, 50-46-1. The Dolphins won the first game between the two teams this season on Dec. 1 when kicker Caleb Sturgis booted a 26-yard field goal with 1:57 left to give Miami a 16-13 win. Jets QB Geno Smith threw just 13 times in the loss, during which the Jets racked up a whopping 277 rushing yards. A win by the Jets on Sunday will ensure the teams split the season series for the fifth straight year. This marks the third time in four years the Jets and Dolphins have played in Miami in the season finale. The Dolphins won the only postseason game between the teams by beating the Jets 14-0 in the 1982 AFC Championship Game, better known as the “Mud Bowl.”

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