Jets hope for one last shot to Bill Belichick, Patriots

By on December 21, 2014

This will likely be Rex Ryan's last chance to take down Patriots as Jets head coach.Ron Antonelli/Getty Images This will likely be Rex Ryan’s last chance to take down Patriots as Jets head coach.

Rex Ryan only has schadenfreude left to play for.

Ryan has gone through a torrential storm of a season, coaching a team that has been nothing but a giant letdown. It’s a longshot that his Jets can beat the Patriots, quite possibly the best team in the NFL, on Sunday. But if they can, Ryan would find reward in watching Bill Belichick seethe.

Although the Jets (3-11) gain nothing by winning, the Patriots (11-3) are fighting for home-field advantage in the playoffs. New England probably must win both of its remaining games to secure home field throughout the postseason.

Ryan admitted this week that this game means more to him than most, because the Jets are playing the Patriots. What he wouldn’t say, but almost certainly feels, is that it’s bigger because it’s almost certainly his last time facing the Patriots as coach of the Jets, as well as his last home game at the Meadowlands. Ryan is expected to be fired after the season finale at Miami on Dec. 28.

“It is a big game regardless of the situation we’re in,” Sheldon Richardson said. “It would be a plus for him.”

Ryan has made his disdain for the Patriots a public affair since arriving in 2009 and declaring he wouldn’t kiss Belichick’s rings. Since then, his feelings were apparent every time he threw barbs in the Patriots’ direction, sometimes even when the Jets weren’t playing them.

“It’s evident how much he dislikes them guys,” Willie Colon said. “He’s our coach. If he hates them, we hate them.”

And that’s why Ryan wouldn’t be the only one who would relish seeing the Patriots somehow flustered by the hapless Jets, who have tripped over their own feet all year.

“Knocking off Tom Brady, wrecking their home-field advantage, hopes (would be great),” Richardson said. “And most of all, (Brady would) have lost to the Jets. . . . We’re the fourth team in the division. So losing to the fourth team in the division . . . I don’t think he’d feel too good about that.”

The thought of a post-loss Brady gave Richardson a wide grin.

“I’ve seen him frustrated before, it’s pretty funny; it’s funny as hell,” the defensive lineman said.

No matter what happens, the end of Ryan’s tenure will be ugly given how poorly this season has gone. But if the Jets somehow pull off the improbable on Sunday, it will lessen the pain a little.

The coach came to the Jets in 2009 overflowing with confidence, but ultimately never was able to achieve his goal of dethroning Belichick. Even though Ryan achieved one of the greatest wins in franchise history by beating New England in the 2010 playoffs, he has just a 4-8 record against the Pats while coaching the Jets.

New England, meanwhile, has won the AFC East all six years Ryan has been a part of it.

The Jets would actually be much better off losing — although their chances of earning the top pick in the draft are virtually zero. That was a big topic a week ago, but with the rival Patriots coming to town, there has been little draft pick chatter this week: there’s no questioning that members of Gang Green want to win.

“We’ve endured so much. We’ve been through so much as a unit and especially as a team and an organization,” Colon said. “(I hope we) finish on the winning side of things instead of taking an ‘L’ and tailing off.”


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