*In the wake of today’s news that the Ryan boys have been fired, I’d like to repost an article I wrote this past September. It originally appeared on walterfootball.com.
“We don’t win anymore.”
Some people just don’t have it.
It’s 2016. We should be past the archaic notion that inherent greatness is automatically bestowed through heredity. Buddy Ryan was a defensive genius. His son Rex has his moments. His son Rob is…Rob.
This used to be how the world was run, and in many ways it still is. The Canadian Prime Minister is a childish airhead, but he got in because the eastern half the country has a fetish for his dad, despite the fact that the two are nothing alike. Most of us, me included, have worked for some rich kid who was gifted an ownership or managerial role in a company he or she had no business being in.
Rex and Rob Ryan are twins, despite their differing tastes in haircuts and beards. I can’t possibly understand their personal relationship, as I don’t even have a brother, let alone a twin. But Rex’s recent announcement that he had his lap-band removed out of solidarity and brotherly love is idiotic.
For those who are unaware, an adjustable gastric band is like a belt for the top of your stomach, restricting how much food you can eat at one sitting. It even limits how much water you can have before or after meals. If you don’t respect your lap-band, you’re in for a world of pain, not unlike being the only 0-2 team in the league.
Rex had a great experience with his lap-band, losing over 120 pounds. Rob did not have a great experience, as there were some medical complications and he had to have his removed. So Rex, thinking that he was being a good brother, decided to have his removed. He’s already gained back 30 pounds.
If I had a twin brother who was missing an arm, I wouldn’t cut mine off too. But more than that, I’m sure my fictitious twin wouldn’t allow me to do it anyway, for the simple reason that it would be completely nonsensical. If there was true mutual brotherly love in the Ryan relationship, not to mention an iota of common sense, Rob would insist Rex keep the device that changed his life so greatly for the better. How can anyone be so selfish as to do otherwise?
Rex said, “We’ll figure it out,” which is what millennial girls say when they have no idea what they’re doing. What would the Ryans figuring something out even look like? Firing their OC after a game which included dynamic career performances from such lowly-regarded receivers as Marquise Goodwin and Greg Salas, and perhaps even more impressively, featured EJ Manuel completing a pass? Never mind that the defence looked like the Creamsicles facing the Steel Curtain, because blood is thicker than water, or something.
I used to like Rex. I completely identify with the scrappy underdog taking on the huge challenges, whether they be the Belichick empire or the bulge. But hiring his overrated brother, and following it up with abandoning a winning strategy for weight loss, both reveal a losing mentality. Rex has chosen family over merit, challenge over success, and handicap over victory. He will never win the big one, or even most of the little ones anymore. I predicted before the season that there was a 100% chance the Bills would miss the playoffs and both Ryans would be fired, but even I didn’t think it would be this glaringly obvious before 30 of the teams had even played their Week 2 game.
The Ryans remind of Tim Tebow, a cute story about fifteen minutes of fame and a stopwatch that currently reads 14:59. Rex is a has-been and Rob is a never-was, but I’m sure we can look forward to them dancing with the stars, in football and elsewhere, for a long time to come. Names have value, especially in a world where families are famous for being famous. Unfortunately, the only return to form we’re going to see from the Ryans is when they rocket past 300 pounds once more. But they’ll do it together, and that’s kind of beautiful, if you don’t think about it too hard.