Can Rex Ryan's Jets overcome Bill Belichick's Patriots at Gillette Stadium?
Superman versus Lex Luthor.
Red Sox versus Yankees.
Patriots versus Jets.
This matchup certainly has a dramatic flair ever since Bill Parcells left the New England Patriots after the 35-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI to join the New York Jets as head coach. Parcells brought several of his assistants from New England with him including current Patriots head man Bill Belichick.
This rivalry has intensified with not only coaches changing allegiances, but players as well. Linebacker Brian Cox played for the Jets when Parcells and Belichick were patrolling the sidelines at the old Giants Stadium. He came to New England and helped the Patriots win their first Super Bowl.
Everyone knows about Eric Mangini and Spygate in 2007.
Rex Ryan was hired as the head coach of the J-E-T-S in January of 2009. One of his first proclamations was he did not come to New York to kiss Bill Belichick's rings.
For New England fans, Ryan is the perfect villain for Belichick. While Belichick has been toying with Mike Martz, Norv Turner and Bill Cowher over the years, Ryan was moving up the chain in the Baltimore Ravens organization (remember, Ryan came seconds away from becoming the first team to defeat the Patriots in 2007 when Ryan was the defensive coordinator of Baltimore).
Ryan spends countless hours breaking down film, he is aggressive, arrogant and he gets his players to play for him. He is a master motivator and people compare him to Belichick's mentor, Parcells.
Belichick is quietly confident, intelligent, bland and humorous in a dry way.
While they have their personality differences, Ryan and Belichick both have similar traits. They are both sons of coaches (Ryan's father, Buddy is infamous for creating the "46" defense when he was the defensive coordinator of the 1986 Chicago Bears and Belichick's dad, Steve, was an assistant at Navy in the 1960s). These two both want to win and they have won throughout their careers.
The only characteristic that separates them as coaches is Belichick has the rings that Ryan desires.
Perhaps Ryan will join that fellowship, but he needs to get by Belichick first. That process begins tonight.