Yesterday, on a conference call with San Diego reporters, Rex Ryan basically said he was a better coach than Norv Turner.
Well, I think I would have had a couple rings. I’m telling you, those teams were loaded. There’s no question about it. But things happen for a reason. Obviously, Norv Turner has done a great job there. And A.J. (Smith) and everybody. That’s a great franchise. He was probably the best guy for the job at that time.
That last part seems like a guy who realizes he’s probably said too much, as he says it. Normally, I like Rex Ryan’s brashness, but I think he put his foot in his mouth here. Anyway you interpret it, it leads to nothing good. The first is that he is saying he is a much better coach than Turner. Writers and blogs and fans can say such things; coaches, though they may be competitive and not like each other some times, generally have enough respect not to call out a fellow member as doing a bad job. Do you think anybody from the coaching ranks is going to come out and say that they think Tony Sparano is doing a poor job of coaching? Whenever a college coach is on the ropes and reporters have asked fellow conference coaches about him, you never hear them throw him under the bus. It’s always “he’s a good guy and I hope it works out” or words to that effect.
The other interpretation is that his team and particularly his offense isn’t good enough, and with better talent he would have won more. “Hi guys. Yeah, I could do better with that other team.”
I don’t see how this is an effective motivation tool for Sunday either way.
I would take Rex Ryan over Norv Turner to coach my team, but he shouldn’t say it. What about his claim that he would have won a couple rings, though? Besides those 2006 Chargers, a talented team inherited by Turner who went 14-2 and lost in the playoffs with Schottenheimer, 23 other teams have gone 14-2 or better in the regular season since 1978.
Norv Turner’s Chargers won 64% of the games and made the playoffs 3 of 4 seasons. The other 23 teams, in the four years that followed, won 62.4% of the games and made the playoffs 62% of the time. 9 of the 23 franchises did win a Super Bowl sometime within the 4 years after their 14+ win season, which of course means that more than half did not. You want to know how many coaches won “a couple of rings” within 4 years of having a 14-2 team?
The Steelers are the only franchise to win two titles, with Cowher in 2005 and with Tomlin in 2008. Bill Walsh did win two in five seasons, winning in both 1988 and 1989 after three straight disappointing endings in the playoffs with a roster far more talented than San Diego.
The third interpretation of Rex’s comments are that he thinks he is the best coach of all-time, and would have done something no other coach taking over such a talented 14-2 team could have done. He’s clearly better than Walsh, Shula, or Gibbs, or that failure Belichick who has squandered six straight seasons since going 14-2 in 2004.
Norv Turner did respond that he “was wondering if [Rex] had those rings with the ones he’s guaranteed the last couple of years.” With his two titles from San Diego to go with his two in New York, Rex Ryan is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career, so perhaps he is right.
[photo via Getty]