Rex Ryan Says He Would Have Coached Falcons to Super Bowl

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2017

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 18: Head coach Rex Ryan of the Buffalo Bills during NFL game action against the Cleveland Browns at New Era Field on December 18, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan believes the Atlanta Falcons would have reached the Super Bowl under his guidance if he'd landed there rather than with the two AFC East teams.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News passed along comments Saturday from the ever-confident Ryan, who was fired by the Bills in December. He didn't get the Atlanta job despite interviewing in 2008 and 2014 but thinks the result this season would have been the same with him in charge.

"Yeah. Absolutely. I do," Ryan said. "But again, who cares? It's not important. I think regardless of where I went, that team would be playing for (the Lombardi Trophy). That's how screwed up I am. That's how I think. I think when you take a job, you assume you can win regardless of what they have or don't have."

Ryan's talk has rarely been backed up by results during his two stints as a head coach, though. His teams qualified for the postseason just twice in eight years, and his overall record stands at 61-66, including losing marks with both New York (46-50) and Buffalo (15-16).

ESPN announced Monday it hired the 54-year-old longtime defensive guru to serve as a Sunday NFL Countdown analyst for the Super Bowl. Ryan hasn't ruled out a return to coaching, though.

One argument delivered in Ryan's favor over the years has been the lack of top-tier quarterback play he's received with the Jets and Bills. Hypothetically speaking, landing with the Falcons and Matt Ryan would have changed that outlook.

That perspective doesn't hold much water after the last two years, though.

Buffalo starter Tyrod Taylor, one of the league's most dangerous dual-threat QBs, ranked inside the top 10 in ESPN's Total Quarterback Rating metric both seasons Ryan was in charge.

While Taylor isn't on the same level as the quarterback who will lead the Falcons into the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots on Sunday, he was good enough for the Bills to reach the playoffs. They didn't do so because of consistent failures by Ryan's defense.

Buffalo rated fourth in total defense in 2014 before he arrived. In the two years under his system, the unit checked in at No. 19 both times. Better performance on the defensive side and the franchise's extended playoff drought, which now sits at 17 years, probably ends.

Ultimately, Ryan remains an outstanding hype man for himself, and there's no doubt he's enjoyed success as a defensive coordinator in the past. But he's failed to deliver the necessary results as a head coach, which means the Falcons should be happy they hired Dan Quinn instead.