In his first threes seasons with the Jets, Ryan led them to the playoffs twice. New York may have backed in when the Indianapolis Colts benched their starters in the 2009 season finale, but once in the Jets made the most of their opportunity. They defeated the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers on the road before losing to Indianapolis in the AFC Championship Game.
The next season, New York finished 11-5 to earn another wildcard birth. The Jets advanced to the championship game again with road victories over the Colts and New England Patriots. That’s only victories over the two men considered to be the best quarterbacks of this generation in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. New York lost a tough AFC title game to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This gave Ryan a 4-2 post season record with all of the games played away from home.
To put this into perspective Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has taken his team to the playoffs the last four years. Baltimore went 2-1 in the 2008 post season and lost in the AFC championship game. In 2009 and 2010 Baltimore lost in the second round to Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. The Ravens went 1-1 in the playoffs last year also to make Harbaugh’s overall post season record 5-4. This is not much better than Ryan’s and both have two championship game losses.
The Jets did not make the playoffs in 2011 as they finished 8-8. This season their record stands at 3-5. New York has eight games remaining on their schedule and can still make the playoffs. They only trail the first place Patriots by two games and have one more against them at home.
Ryan is still the same coach who took the Jets to those AFC Championship games. The Jets were far from the most talented team in the league then and are not now. For the first two years of his tenure, Ryan got New York to play to its maximum potential. This has not been the case the last two seasons.
Much of the reasons for the Jets problems in 2012 have been injuries. New York has lost its best receiver in Santonio Holmes and best defensive player in cornerback Darrelle Revis for most, if not all of the season. Revis may be the best player on the team. Losing these two made Ryan’s job harder and he is still trying to put the pieces together.
It is easy to pick on Ryan now when his team is 3-5. Most people would agree with the players who voted him most overrated.
The truth is Ryan should not be judged solely on this season. Every coach has a bad year or two. Overall Ryan has done almost as well as Harbaugh and Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants the last three years.
To call him the most overrated coach is being shortsighted and forgetting what he has done compared to his colleagues.