Here's what we know about Rex Ryan thus far.
He likes to talk a big game about the New York Jets—and specifically, about their superiority over the New England Patriots—but has yet to take the Jets past the AFC Championship Game. He has yet to deliver the ring to Jets fans he seems to promise year after year. He appears to be unceasingly supportive of Mark Sanchez, despite the fact that the quarterback has struggled for the better part of the last two seasons.
And now we know that a whole bunch of players in the NFL think he's overrated.
According to a Sporting News midseason player poll, via Business Week, Ryan was voted the most overrated coach in the NFL, garnering 35 votes from 103 players.
The hate doesn't stop with Ryan, either: The Jets were the recipients of all sorts of unwanted accolades in this poll. According to Business Week, Tim Tebow was dubbed the most overrated player in the league, and Mark Sanchez came in second in that category (tying Tony Romo).
And just for the record, that team Ryan always seems so intent on maligning—the Patriots—was dubbed the league's best organization, via Business Week.
During the course of his first two seasons in New York, Ryan seemed like the perfect coach to bring salvation to the Jets. He had the kind of personality to get people fired up, for better or worse, and that was what the Jets needed. He wasn't afraid to be brash or ruffle feathers. He had the confidence to believe he could score a championship ring sooner rather than later. He led the Jets to two consecutive AFC title games, and steamrolled the hated Patriots in the postseason to get to one of them.
However, since then, it's been hard times for the Jets. Last year, they went 8-8—and dropped their final three games down the stretch—to miss the playoffs. This year, they're 3-5, they're in the midst of their second two-game losing streak of the year. Mark Sanchez ranks 30th in the league in passer rating and yet Ryan seems utterly opposed to giving Tim Tebow a shot at quarterback.
The New York Daily News' Manish Mehta promptly came to Ryan's defense when he was voted the league's most overrated coach. He wrote:
Ten adjectives to describe the Jets coach (in no particular order): Self-assured, fearless, bold, presumptuous, loud, optimistic, brash, confident, clever and smart.
Most people wouldn't disagree with any of those. We all know that Ryan is a brilliant defensive-minded strategist, and we know that the Jets have had more than their fair share of injury-related misfortune on the defensive side of the ball this year.
The problem with Mehta's list of adjectives, though, is that none of them are incredibly relevant to football and a lot of them probably hurt Ryan more than they help him. Yes, Ryan is self-assured, fearless, bold, presumptuous, loud, optimistic, brash and confident. So was Rick Perry when he was trying to get the GOP presidential nomination.
Ryan is smart and clever. He found a way to get this team to the AFC Championship a couple of times, but he's done nothing more than that. People still want to compare him to the Bill Belichicks, Tony Dungys and Bill Cowhers of the world.
He's just not there. And until he does what those coaches have done—which may happen somewhere down the line—he is maybe just a little bit overrated.