March 27, 2012
Rex Ryan is a genius. And he is not just a defensive football genius, he is full-blown possible rocket scientist, “I have all the answers” type genius. His in-city rival, the New York Giants just won a Super Bowl as his New York Jets went a mediocre 8-8 and missed the playoffs altogether while the locker room fell apart. His sensitive and wildly inconsistent quarterback, Mark Sanchez, just signed a $40,000,000 contract for five five more years with the team. So, what does Rex Ryan do? He signs Tim Tebow as Sanchez’s backup. Tebow completed 46% of his passes last season, a full seven percentage points behind the closest erratic quarterback. At first glance, this signing looks idiotic even to the most casual fan, but it was actually the best move Ryan could have made.
The signing of Tebow showed that the brilliant strategy of Rex Ryan is not reserved solely for defensive game plans against division rivals like the New England Patriots. It was a well developed strategy rather than the rushed, contrived move that it was thought to be. Most of the sports media world lauds it as a “back page” deal made to combat the success of the NY Giants. Sports commentators are saying that this a move that the Jets made to pull attention away from the Giants who are the current NFL champs and towards New York’s stepchild, the Jets. However, Ryan’s tactics are much more than a ill-conceived publicity stunt. Rex Ryan secured his job in New York with this bold move if he makes it through next season. Every person in America that watched any level of football knows that signing Mark Sanchez to a lucrative contract was a risky move. He has thrown nearly as many interceptions as he has completed touchdowns in his National Football League career, 55 TD’s – 51 Int’s. He has also only completed 56% of his passes as a professional, so when Sanchez received his hefty contract most of America was confused. Now that move has been followed with the equally perplexing signing of Tim Tebow. Kyle Orton was run out of Denver by chants for Tebow by the fans of the Broncos. And, Tebow lovers believe that he has earned a starting role despite a myriad of quarterbacking statistics that say otherwise (like a career 46.7% completion percentage). But, that is exactly why the signing of Tebow was the best move that Ryan could have made. The best case scenario is that Sanchez is pressed by the presence of Tebow and excels with the competition for his position and Tebow betters his throwing motion in a lesser role. When Mark Sanchez struggles, and history has shown that he will, Jets fans will call for Tebow relentlessly. This is the most likely scenario and what Ryan probably expected. Tebow becoming the starter allows Ryan to cut Sanchez and rid himself of his underwhelming starting quarterback with the big contract. Tebow will bring publicity to the position and if he excels in New York, Rex looks like a genius. And, if Tebow fails as the starting quarterback, then Ryan gets to cut both QB’s and start over with a clean slate. Ryan put himself in a situation where he can not lose if he is not fired midseason, and the likelihood of him losing his position then is very small. There are few coach with enough credentials to replace him, and even less coaches with the psychological make-up to deal with the New York media.
Rex Ryan had a terrible year as the coach of the New York Jets last season. They played .500 ball, and missed the playoffs in a division were only their rivals, the Patriots had a real chance to challenge them. But, he made good this year. Ryan made the move the that will allow him to reconstruct his team the way that he wants it. Rex Ryan is ahead of us all.