New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has coached in some big games in his coaching career.
As an assistant head coach with the Baltimore Ravens, and now as head coach of the Jets, Ryan has had his share of pressure-packed football games with a lot on the line.
Yet, as the Jets get ready to kick off their 2011 season this Sunday, September 11 against the Dallas Cowboys, Rex Ryan says he feels more pressure coaching this game than any game in his coaching career.
“It’s different,” Ryan said. “Like a responsibility. Every week it’s my responsibility to make sure our team’s prepared, but I don’t know. It just feels different to me. The significance of it. I think it’s stronger than any game I’ve ever felt. I feel more pressure on this game for whatever reason than any game I’ve ever coached”
There certainly will be drama in the air.
The Jets will playing their first football game in nearly seven months, which creates a buzz in and of itself. Add to that the drama of two twin brothers coaching against each other with their ailing father looking on, and the game at hand has plenty of storylines.
But, as we all know, this game goes far beyond the game of football. Far beyond sports themselves. September 11, 2001 is a day that will forever live in infamy.
As the Jets and Cowboys clash at MetLife Stadium ten years later, in the backyard of where the World Trade Center once stood, millions of Americans will have more on their minds than just football.
“This whole region, this whole area… and I know it’s football, we’re not talking about life or death or anything like that.” Ryan said, “I don’t know, that’s kinda how I’m taking it. It’s my job. My job’s to get this team ready to go, and we will but… I can’t explain it, why I feel this way or whatever, but I just do.”
The Jets plan to honor the families of the first responders, with children of the first responders serving as honorary captains. There are pregame and halftime events scheduled to honor those affected by the events that day.
Rex Ryan was not in New York on that fateful day, but as the head coach of the New York Jets, he can’t help but feel he has an obligation to win one for this city on Sunday.
We’re just days away.