When the 2011 NFL regular season just days away, there are plenty of storylines to look out for around the league.
For the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys, the battle of the Ryan brothers will be among the most talked about stories of their Week 1 matchup this Sunday.
Rex Ryan, the boisterous head coach of the Jets, is entering his third season as a head coach in the NFL, compiling a 24-14 (including playoffs) in his first two seasons.
His twin brother Rob is entering his first season as the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys, and any time the two brothers meet head-to-head, it’s a proud time for the Ryan family.
80-year-old Buddy Ryan, father of the twin brothers, was recently diagnosed with cancer, something he’s battled multiple times before in his life.
The architect of the “46” defense, Buddy Ryan was as innovative as any defensive coach in the past 30 years in pro football. He was scheduled to have a surgery to remove cancer from his glands, but he’s chosen to postpone the surgery in order to attend Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium.
“I won’t miss Sunday’s game,” Ryan told the Daily News. “It’s about family.”
Rather than have the operation on Sunday, he will have his surgery on September 16 as well. The elder Ryan simply cannot pass up another opportunity to see his sons coach against each other.
Perhaps someday, Rob will get a head coaching job, and a true Ryan vs. Ryan battle can emerge on the field. Until then, the Ryan family will settle for matchups like this. They won’t complain.