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NFL New York Jets

Rex Ryan and the Five Worst New York Jets Head Coaches of All-Time

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NFL: The Five Worst Head Coaches in New York Jets' History

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Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets were expected to be among the NFL’s worst teams this season, and head coach Rex Ryan entered the season on the hot seat with a new general manager (John Idzik) in place that would be willing to move on from him if the team performed poorly. But the Jets finished 8-8, and remained on the fringes of playoff contention until late in the season, so the news on Thursday that Ryan has agreed to a contract extension was not a big surprise.

Ryan has a 42-38 regular season record in five seasons as the Jets’ head coach, with back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship game to start his tenure, but the team has missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons with a 22-26 record in that span.

Ryan is one of just three coaches in Jets' franchise history with a winning record, and he has had a longer tenure than the other two (Bill Parcells; 29-19 over three seasons, Al Groh; 9-7 in one season) combined.

Despite what fans might think of Ryan as a personality or a coach, he clearly does not belong among the worst head coaches in Jets’ history. A couple of other marks in his favor are franchise highs for playoff wins (four) and playoff games coached in (six).

There are plenty of candidates that have a case for being the worst head coach in Jets’ history, but for the purpose of inciting some debate here is my list of the five worst in the franchise’s history.

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5. Pete Carroll

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Carroll has obviously gone on to have much greater success, but his lone season as Jets' head coach in 1994 (6-10 record) will be best remembered for Dan Marino’s famous “Clock Play” touchdown pass that started a five game losing streak to end the season.

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4. Eric Mangini

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Nick Laham-Getty Images

The Jets went 10-6 and earned a playoff spot in Mangini’s first season (2006), but a 13-19 record over his final two seasons led to a quick end to his tenure. He moved on to the Cleveland Browns in 2009, but things did not go any better there (10-22 record in two seasons).

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3. Bruce Coslet

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The Jets made the playoffs once in Coslet’s four seasons (1990-1993), but they never finished above .500 during his tenure on the way to a 26-38 regular season record. He was also head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals for four-plus seasons (1996-2000), but his record was bad there as well (21-39).

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2. Rich Kotite

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Rick Stewart-Getty Images

Kotite had some success as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, with a 36-28 record over four seasons (1991-1994) and two seasons with 10 or more wins. But things did not go nearly as well with the Jets, with a 4-28 record in two seasons and a 1-15 mark in 1996 that sealed his fate.

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1. Lou Holtz

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Matthew Stockman-Getty Images

Holtz took over as the Jets’ head coach for the 1976 season, and things went so badly (3-10 record) that he resigned with one game left in the season. Holtz is not the first or last college coach to wind up failing miserably in the NFL, but those that have and will come after him can take note and be sure to select the right opportunity when it comes time to consider moving to the pros.