Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick Oct 30, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan (left) and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick shake hands after the game at New Era Field. The Patriots beat the Bills 41-25. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

When Rex Ryan was hired to be the head coach of the New York Jets, one of his first orders of business was to make it inherently clear that he didn’t come to the AFC East to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings. Despite beating New England in Foxboro in the playoffs, Ryan went 4-9 against New York’s bitter rivals from 2009-14.

Shortly after being fired by the Jets, Ryan was hired by the Buffalo Bills and it didn’t take long for Belichick to tout his team’s success against the twice-tenured AFC East coach in the most Belichickian way possible.

“I think our record against him has been OK,” Belichick said at the time, via NESN. “I’ll take it.”

Ryan would go just 1-3 against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in his second tour of the division. While he always seemed to be a thorn in the side of New England during his eight years as a head coach, he never had the quarterback play to go pound for pound with Brady. His defensive genius and his blitz disguises were masterful, but they were only enough to win five times in 17 or so tries.

Ryan has followed up his coaching career with a successful sports media career at the Worldwide Leader, but that disdain for Belichick hasn’t gone away. In fact, Ryan used his pulpit during Monday’s edition of Get Up to go after the New England Patriots head coach, who owns just a 2-9 through Week 12 of the 2023 NFL season.

“Can I just say this: Bill Belichick, please stop. Just name your dang starter,” said an exasperated Ryan, referencing Belichick’s refusal to choose a starting quarterback between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. “It doesn’t matter, they both stink. Whether it’s Zappe or Peashooter Jones, we don’t care. They stink. Just go ahead and save the drama. Like we care about your team. Your team stinks.”

Ryan would know a thing or two about quarterbacks stinking, for lack of a better term. This is the same guy who had to start Mark Sanchez, Kellen Clemens, Greg McElroy, Geno Smith (pre-Seattle), Michael Vick, Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel across eight NFL seasons as a head coach. Now, it may be unfair to group in Sanchez — who has four playoff wins to his name — and Taylor, but when Tom Brady is in your division for that entire period, it kind of pales in comparison.

Still, Ryan has seen enough from Jones and Zappe, who combined to go 21-of-35 (60 percent) for 143 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions in a 10-7 loss to the New York Giants, to know that neither is the answer and that Belichick is fooling no one by being non-commital to the position.

“This team plays like they’re exhausted,” added Ryan, who continued to go in on Belichick and his team. “And the Patriot Way, that’s it, it exhausts these kids. Tom Brady was the only reason you won anyway, alright? I’m just telling you the difference…I said they would never win again when that guy trotted down to Tampa…because I know how draining it is to those kids. And, that is what you’re facing right now. You pick all the players, you do all this. Bill Belichick — greatest in history — I will never dispute that, OK? I had my ass kicked by him a million times. But if you think for a minute that it wasn’t about Tom Brady, you’re absolutely crazy.”

Belichick’s current record without Brady is a measly 82-98 (.456 winning percentage).

Ryan has always been a vocal critic of Belichick and has not hesitated to use his platform to criticize the Patriots coach’s recent struggles. According to Ryan, he believes that the Patriots are “exhausted” and that Belichick’s “Patriot Way,” which hasn’t worked in Las Vegas, Detroit, Denver, or anywhere else, is to blame. Tom Brady isn’t walking through that door, and Belichick will likely never win again without him.

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About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.