Commentary

Ryan's bravado getting out of hand

After Monday's lopsided loss, the comparison to the '85 Bears was flat out ridiculous

Updated: December 8, 2010, 3:31 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

Maybe it was the fatigue talking, a long night with virtually no sleep. On second thought, it probably was just Rex being Rex, letting his defiance get in the way of his humility.

On the day after the New York Jets' most lopsided defeat in nearly a quarter century, Rex Ryan compared his team's plight to that of the 1985 Chicago Bears, the legendary team that went 15-1 and won a Super Bowl with arguably the greatest defense in history.

Attempting to add personal perspective to the 45-3 loss to the New England Patriots, Ryan said Tuesday it reminded him of the Bears' 38-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 2, 1985 -- the celebrated Monday night game that ruined their undefeated season. Ryan, only 22 at the time, was close to that team because his father, Buddy Ryan, was the defensive coordinator.

Most times, Ryan's bravado is refreshing, but this wasn't one of those times. The '85 Bears? Is he serious?

The Jets shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as the '85 Bears, who were ridiculously dominant. In the three games prior to their only loss, they outscored their opponents by a combined 104-3. It also should be noted that, in the loss to Miami, they had to start their backup quarterback, Steve Fuller, because of an injury to Jim McMahon.

The Jets? They're a soft 9-3. Sure, they've produced some thrilling wins, and you have to admire their ability to escape, but take a closer look at them: They're 1-3 against teams with winning records, having failed to score a single touchdown in any of those losses.

Clearly, the Jets went into New England with an inflated opinion of themselves -- in part, because of Ryan's bluster -- and it was quickly deflated by a team that was vastly superior in every aspect. Most coaches in that situation would say it was a wake-up call, a back-to-reality moment.

Not Ryan. He went the other way, propping his team up on another pedestal.

[+] EnlargeBuddy Ryan
Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty ImagesRex's father, Buddy, was the architect of the '85 Bears defense. Are the Jets a fair comparison? Not even close.
"There's another defeat that I think was probably just as humiliating, bad, all that kind of stuff on a national stage, maybe even as big or even bigger than this, and that was the '85 Bears against Miami," Ryan said. "But the funny thing is, and I hope history repeats itself, the goal of the Chicago Bears was to win a Super Bowl. And that's our goal."

Instead of stroking his team's ego, Ryan should be trying to fix the problems that could threaten the season. His pride-and-joy defense has allowed at least 20 points in seven games, already twice more than in 2009.

His offense is a mystery, unable to find the end zone unless it's in a hurry-up mode. Not counting the final two minutes of a half, the Jets have produced only three touchdown drives of more than two plays in the past six games.

His quarterback has regressed after a fantastic start. Mark Sanchez has thrown at least one interception in seven straight games -- a total of 11 in that span, almost as bad as his worst stretch from his rookie season.

There's no reason to panic, not after one horrendous loss, but there's reason to be concerned. On Sunday, it's a virtual must-win against the Miami Dolphins (6-6). It'll be a full-blown crisis if the Jets lose because of what's looming in the distance -- back-to-back road games at the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bears, both 9-3.

This is a time for action, not crazy comparisons to historic teams. Interestingly, two members of the '85 Bears had no problem with Ryan's comments. Former offensive lineman Tom Thayer, a Bears radio analyst, noted parallels between his old team and the current Jets.

"I don't think what Rex said is out of line," Thayer said in a phone interview. "We lost to [Don] Shula and [Dan] Marino, and they lost to [Bill] Belichick and [Tom] Brady -- the modern-day version of Shula and Marino. In some respects, I see similarities between the situations."

Former safety Gary Fencik said, "Rex is just trying to recalibrate his team's confidence and get them back to focusing on what they're trying to achieve. That's what every coach should do. Some people feel [the loss to Miami] got us back to a more focused place."

The Bears completed their mission, and their place in history is secure, which makes it easier for them to cast a kind eye toward wannabes like the Jets. Fencik remembered filming the famous "Super Bowl Shuffle" video the day after the loss in Miami. Now that takes onions.

The Jets didn't film any videos Tuesday, but Ryan, in essence, produced his own version of the "Shuffle" -- in this case, a Super Bowl audio.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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