Ryan, the controversial leader of the Jets, has turned the entire franchise around with a 180 degree spin. He single-handedly changed the culture of losing surrounding the franchise into a culture that expects success. It's hard to believe after everything Ryan has done in his short time period as coach that he was not the first choice.
In the New York media, former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was receiving much of the fan support. The Jets fans obviously saw what Spagnuolo was able to accomplish across town with the Giants, and wondered aloud what he could do for a Jets defense which had all the pieces in place to be successful.
If he was hired, Spagnuolo would have inherited a defense which included Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Calvin Pace, Kris Jenkins, and Kerry Rhodes. Jets fans had reasons to imagine what he could do with those toys against Tom Brady, but then the dark-horse candidate emerged.
The dark-horse candidate blew away owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum in his interview and was hired a few days later. During his introductory press conference, the Jets new coach informed the media of his intentions by his now infamous quote.
"By the look of all the cameras in here you would think the president was here, no matter because we're be meeting him soon."
Ryan had introduced himself to the New York media with a Namath-like guarantee. Jets fans immediately fell in love with his outspoken personality and his family roots which included his father as member of the last Jets coaching staff to win a Super Bowl.
Unfortunately for Ryan and the Jets, games are not won by out-talking the other team, but are instead won on the field by outscoring the opponent. Most analysts did not believe in the Jets and had predicted at best a six-win season.
The Jets took the field in Houston with a rookie quarterback, promptly won their first game, and upset the Patriots in their home opener. Defeating their rival served notice to the rest of the league that the Jets were coming and would not be denied.
Ryan endured an up and down season with a rookie quarterback at the helm, which is to be expected, but his defense held the team together. In fact Ryan had put together the best defense in the NFL by having a blitz-heavy scheme.
After their surprising run the Jets received tons of media hype, including a stint on the HBO reality show Hard Knocks. After four games, however, the Jets have proved the hype was justified. Sanchez has a 117 QB rating while throwing eight touchdowns and no interceptions. The defense has once again been among the league's best even with injuries to star players.
Thanks to Rex Ryan, the Jets have a mission statement of winning the Super Bowl. With him leading the way, the Jets should be perennial contenders every year, proving they have hired the right man for the job.