Know Thy Enemy: Rex Ryan Talks about Himself

Play Like You Mean It: Passion, Laughs, and Leadership in the World’s Most Beautiful Game by Rex Ryan with Don Yaeger
Doubleday May 3, 2011
ISBN-10:0385534442
Hardcover:288 pages

Rex Ryan is an obnoxious, undisciplined, loud mouth jerk just like his father.  When I saw he “wrote” a book, I could help myself.  I had to read it.

I still believe Rex Ryan is an obnoxious, undisciplined, loud mouth jerk, and fully understand why the Baltimore Ravens did not hire him as a head a coach after he had been their defensive coordinator.  A coach who lets the inmates run the asylum (one of Bill Parcels favorite sayings), and who shows no self-discipline himself, will have an obnoxious undisciplined team that can’t win the big game.  I don’t think Ryan will ever win a Super Bowl.  His teams will always choke on their bravado.  And they can’t seem to keep their mouths shut when they should.

That aside, this autobiography of Rex Ryan was somewhat interesting.  Everybody knows he grew up in a coaching family.  His father Buddy Ryan, probably the progenitor of the bounty game that has caught up with the New Orleans Saints, is famous for his 46 defense and the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears where his defensive team may have been the best ever, and for being an obnoxious cretin.

Well, Rex Ryan is kind of lovable in his own way unlike his father.

Herein he tells his life story of wanting to be a coach and growing up being taught to be so by his father.  His relationship with his mother, an educator, was quite interesting.  Ryan reveals he is dyslectic and that hampered his academic career, but of course not his football one. His poor mother never realized this problem and blamed herself for his struggles as a youngster in the classroom.  This was probably the most revealing part of the book.

Ryan of course relays all his playing and coaching history and actually throws some begrudging respect to Bill Belichick, his coaching better, and Tom Brady.

Now if he’d grow up just a tad, he might actually be a decent coach himself.

This book was interesting enough and Ryan clearly loves football and being a head coach.  His tenure as the Jets head coach is front and center, as one would expect.  As a result you don’t see much new that you didn’t see on HBO’s Hard Knocks featuring the Jets, but it was interesting nonetheless.

But as seen in the 2011 NFL season the Jets are less than that the sum of their parts.  Yes, I know they went to the AFC Championship game twice riding on the emotions of an emotional coach.  But did they win?  Did they go over the top?  No.  The squabbling teammates and lack of discipline in 2011 is a reflection of the coach.  I don’t see much changing.

As a disclaimer I am a New England Patriots fan so take that for what it’s worth.  But I thought his father was a jerk, and Rex is just the happy go lucky dumb son of one.

Despite that, for football fans this is definitely worth the read.

Play Like You Mean It: Passion, Laughs, and Leadership in the World’s Most Beautiful Game

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