Despite the sparkling record, the two consecutive AFC championship appearances and the suffocating defense, Ryan seemed to lose control of his franchise as early as last season, and this season isn't going any differently.
This wasn't a guarantee, however; not even as far back as Sunday. He would've likely been able to keep his job with a strong finish—playoffs or no playoffs. The injuries to Santonio Holmes and Darrelle Revis would've likely been enough to excuse the Jets had they been able to finish the season 4-2 and at least salvage 8-8.
They can still do that, but after the performance the entire country saw on Thanksgiving night against the New England Patriots, the chances of that are long. Even longer are the chances that Rex Ryan comes back to The Meadowlands as Jets head coach in 2013.
Ryan's track record of failure started in the offseason.
Former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer received most of the blame for Mark Sanchez's lack of development as well as the overall underachievement by the offense.
Schottenheimer exited stage right to join Jeff Fisher's coaching staff in St. Louis, which gave Ryan the chance to bring in an offensive coordinator that would bring out the best in the Jets offense.
The idea was to take advantage of the talent available while developing Sanchez into the upper-echelon quarterback that New York had hoped he would become since trading up in the 2009 draft for him.
Instead, he chose Tony Sparano to lead his offense after apparently being impressed with the job he did developing Chad Henne in Miami (note: Chad Henne, like Sparano, is no longer in Miami due to ineffectiveness).
But that could be glazed over. After all, Sparano was the main play-caller for the Cowboys in 2007 when Tony Romo had a Pro Bowl season and led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and an NFC East championship. Apparently Sparano left his play-calling magic in Dallas in 2007; he has made some befuddling decisions at times in New York.
Tim Tebow hasn't helped matters much. It's not Tebow's fault that Ryan and Sparano haven't been able to use him effectively, nor is it his fault that general manager Mike Tannenbaum (who should also no longer be a member of the New York Jets come January) thought that Tebow would be a great addition to the Jets.
Worse still is that his very presence caused a media distraction so big that the Jets seem to get more coverage from mentioning the name Tebow than their play on the field.
That's not a bad thing considering how the Jets have played on the field, which is not very well. To their credit, they did play three very good games against the Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams that showed what this team could be capable of.
Only one of those teams is a likely playoff team thus far, but considering how well the Jets played in those three games, one would think the Jets were world-beaters since they won those games so convincingly. If anything, those games are maddening since they show what the team is capable of compared to what the team has actually done.
They also managed to win a game in Miami in September that saw them lose Darrelle Revis and had the replacement officials making some dubious calls against the Jets. For most teams, a win like that builds character and steams a playoff run. For the Jets under Rex Ryan in 2012, it was just one out of four wins.
New York's worst game, however, would come on Thanksgiving night against the Patriots. This was a game where the Jets would commit five turnovers, with New England scoring on each of them. Sadder still is the fact that four of those turnovers came in the second quarter, a quarter where the Patriots would outscore the Jets 35-3.
The Jets have usually shown themselves to be a team that comes back from adversity. However, against the Patriots, it seemed like that quality disappeared. At 4-7, New York's faint playoff hopes have been largely dashed, with its only hope coming from a schedule that is rather pedestrian.
But knowing how Ryan has coached this team and how they have played, they could easily go 2-3. That will be enough to get rid of Rex Ryan.
The Jets' performance on Thanksgiving, however, should be the last straw. Rex, Tannenbaum and the rest of the Jets' brain trust has to go sooner rather than later.
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