One good thing about Rex Ryan, who was beloved here in Baltimore, leaving the Ravens to become the head coach for the New York Jets is that he instantly created a compelling rivalry between the Ravens and Jets.
As long as John Harbaugh is patrolling the sidelines in Baltimore and Ryan is talking big up in the Big Apple, the Jets will be one of the Ravens’ fiercest rivals. Who doesn’t love a good family feud?
But as much as us newspaper folks are hoping for some juicy one-liners from the Ravens and Jets, this week has been pretty quiet when you consider that every sports reporter in Baltimore and New York is trying to get these guys to slip up and say something that’s going to burn up the presses and blow up on the blogosphere.
Rex Ryan did point out on Wednesday that the Ravens didn’t meet the Jets in the AFC championship game as both had promised last season. Ray Lewis offered a rebuttal, saying that neither has a Lombardi Trophy.
Both are true statements. And neither makes for a sexy headline. Unfortunately.
The biggest story from this rivalry game actually came this summer when Ed Reed told ESPN’s Ed Werder that many Ravens players wanted Ryan to become Baltimore’s head coach in 2008, but Harbaugh got the job.
Predictably, Jets receiver Derrick Mason, formerly of the Ravens, was asked about Ryan being passed over.
(I’m guessing he has been asked about 100 times. This is just how he responded to one publication.)
"Everybody loved him throughout that football team," Mason told The New York Post this week. "I don't think there was one guy who didn't enjoy Rex. You had a bunch of offensive guys that loved him. Those are things you don't get in other places where the defensive coordinator is liked by the offensive guys."
Mason gave a perfectly fine, thoughtful answer. But it’s one that doesn’t raise eyebrows or clutter bulletin boards. I mean, we’re talking about Derrick Mason here! You know these players must have been put on lockdown.
The good news is that even if we don’t get any controversy this week, we should get one heck of a game.