Let's Not Anoint Rex Ryan Just Yet

Leslie MonteiroSenior Analyst IJanuary 8, 2010

The Jets hired Eric Mangini in 2006 after Herm Edwards parted ways with the team due to an acrimonious relationship at the end of a frustrating 2005 season.

Everyone loved that hire since Mangini learned a lot from Bill Belichick, and that coach did not disappoint by having a successful first season that resulted in a playoff berth.

The Jets lost to the Patriots in the first round of the 2007 playoffs, but it did not dampen the love affair with Mangini. His success resulted in an appearance on Sesame Street and the Sopranos.

Everyone decided to follow Tony Soprano's lead by calling Mangini the "Mangenius" for that great season, but that was as good as it was going to get for the Belichick disciple.

In Mangini's second season, everything fell apart for him. The Patriots embarrassed the Jets in the season opener at Giants Stadium, and it led Mangini to rat his mentor out for cheating over the years as an attempt to protect himself from criticism.

The Jets never recovered from that game and it led to a 4-12 season. Fickle fans started to doubt his ability to lead the team.

Mangini recovered from a bad season by going 9-7 in his third and final year with the team, but the Jets collapsed down the stretch after starting 8-3.  Someone had to pay for what happened, and it was Mangini that received the pink slip.

Based on what happened to Mangini, let's learn something from that experience by not labeling Rex Ryan for one good year.

Ryan deserves credit for the job he did this year by taking control with Mark Sanchez along with getting his team to not succumb with negativity. He also coordinated a great defense this year by getting a lot out of some unheralded guys in David Harris and Mike DeVito.

He knows how to handle the media here. It may seem trivial, but in this market, it's a must in a coach's job description.

Writers are not afraid to turn on the coaches if they don't get what they want, as the current Browns coach learned.

Players clearly love playing for him for couple of reasons. For one thing, he is a nice man, so guys gravitate to him. Second of all, he is a straight-shooter so players know where they stand even if they don't like what they hear.

This gentleman proudly admits the Jets got it right with this hire after he wanted Josh McDaniels to coach the team based on the positive reviews that the former Patriots offensive coordinator received from experts and Belichick not to mention his familiarity with the teams in the division.

It would have been easy to go savage the Jets for making a wrong choice on the coach after McDaniels led the Broncos to a great start, but looking at the Broncos schedule in the final two months, it was best to withhold judgment until the season is over.

It turned out the Broncos sputtered in the end while McDaniels lost several people in the process by suspending Brandon Marshall and Tony Schefter for the final game of the season.

The first-year Broncos coach could turn out to be a great coach in the next few years, but it's doubtful McDaniels would handle the limelight of being a coach of a New York football team.

It's too early to call McDaniels a failure just like it's too early to call Ryan a success.

We measure how successful a coach is when he leads his team to division titles, AFC Championship Games and Super Bowl appearances on a consistent basis.

It will take several years until we find out how good Ryan is.

In this town, it's all about winning championships, fair or not. Just ask Joe Torre. Everyone loved Torre for winning championships in his first few years until teams figured out how to beat the Yankees.

After the Yankees failed to win one more game that would have taken them to another World Series appearance in 2004, everyone turned on Torre. The Yankees eventually severed their relationship with Torre after several one-and-out playoff exits.

Tom Coughlin will experience the same thing after the way the Giants finished their season. For him, it's either win the division along with couple of playoff games or else he will be looking for work.

Ryan could win one championship, but it's not going to be enough for some people.

He needs to maintain excellence year after year if he wants to keep his job and be remembered fondly here.

It's just the way it is, and the Jets coach will be the first one to say that.

It's only fair too. Jets dealt with mediocrity in this decade, and this year is no different.

While mediocrity is better than losing, it becomes boring after awhile.

This was a good season, but expectations will only get higher in the next few years with fans wanting more. After all, the last time the team won a championship was in 1968 so it's about time for a Super Bowl trophy to come here.

Let's proclaim him when he handles success and expectations well in the next few years.


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