New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is a boisterous character who’s not short on confidence, but he’s also quick to give credit where credit is due. This notion may seem ridiculous to his adversaries who dislike him for his previous Super Bowl guarantees, but Ryan’s track record of praising his opponents is lengthy, as well.
While there’s no one Ryan doesn’t think he can’t beat, he also knows how much of a struggle it is to win in the NFL, especially against some of his biggest rivals. In a guest appearance on the new football site TheMMQB.com, Ryan spoke about that. In a list of “10 things I think I think” modeled after site editor Peter King‘s Monday Morning Quarterback column, Ryan spoke about his ongoing rivalry with Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
“I think my greatest coaching nemesis is Bill Belichick, but [Pittsburgh Steelers coach] Mike Tomlin is a close second because he’s beaten me in two AFC championship games,” Ryan said.
Ryan and Belichick have done battle in the AFC East ever since Ryan became the Jets’ head coach prior to the 2009 season. Over that time, Ryan has had to deal with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, as well. Ryan has found ways to slow down Brady over the years, which is why it makes sense that his on-field nemesis isn’t No. 12 in New England.
“I think my greatest player nemesis is Peyton Manning,” Ryan continued. “I thought the Baltimore team I was defensive coordinator for was going to win a Super Bowl in the 2006 season — we had the best team in football, and it wasn’t close — but it was Peyton’s play-calling, against me, that won the Colts the divisional-round game. I took it really personally, but I finally got him in the 2010 playoffs with the Jets.”
That 2006 playoff game wasn’t exactly Manning’s greatest moment, either. He completed just 50 percent of his passes that day and threw two interceptions with no touchdowns in a 15-6 win over the Ravens.