The Ryan brothers: next trend or a passing fad?

Sep 13, 2011, 9:06 PM | Updated: Sep 14, 2011, 10:24 am

By Tom Wassell

Rex and Rob Ryan represent a unique style of coaching.

Is it annoying or inspiring?

I’m not asking from a fan’s perspective, but what if you were a player? Forgive the cliche, but we know that the NFL has always been a “copycat league.” So I ask: are these two YAHOOS the next trend in NFL leadership?

Is the coaching style of Rex Ryan, left, and his twin brother Rob, right, the next trend in the NFL? (AP)

Media influences us. But, what we don’t often think about is the way that media influences PLAYERS themselves. All game long on Sunday, NBC went way out of their way to showcase the Ryan twins and all the fun and charisma that they bring to both their teams and the league in general. Don’t think for a second that this escapes the athletes who are watching the broadcast — and they do watch the broadcast.

I saw Plaxico Burress score a touchdown for the Jets and couldn’t help thinking back to a few weeks ago when he essentially spurned disciplinarian and overall hardass Tom Coughlin and the Giants for the more upbeat and cheerleader-ish Rex Ryan.

“He’s not a real positive coach,” Burress said. “You look around the league, the Raheem Morrises and Rex Ryans – when their player makes a mistake, they take ’em to the side and say, ‘We’ll get ’em next time.’ But Coughlin’s on the sideline going crazy, man.”

In the same way that the NFL has become a pass-happy quarterback-league, my guess is that the job of the head coach will soon follow the lead of the Ryan brothers to create an “I-assure-you-I’m-bloodthirsty-but-still-love-my-players-and-will-always-let-them-have-fun” environment.

The question becomes: What’s the shelf life of this approach to the game?

I think back to Jerry Glanville of the late-80s Houston Oilers. He would pull random stunts — most famously leaving tickets at will-call for Elvis Presley. Jerry was a fun guy (or nutjob — you decide). He had some success and was a decent coach, but it was short-lived.

Even the father of the Ryan twins, Buddy Ryan, had (and still does have) the support of the players with whom he transformed into some of the most entertaining teams of all time (1980s Bears and Eagles). Yet neither Glanville nor Buddy Ryan could even get to a conference championship game.

So the new generation of players (as free agents) may love this coaching style, but what if it doesn’t necessarily translate into legitimate success? One Super Bowl win from either Rex or Rob Ryan may end up influencing owners to hire guys exactly like them. But if they don’t, it’ll simply be another passing fad in the NFL.

Much like the “Air Coryell” offense of Don Coryell, the “throw the ol ballarooski” of Bum Phillips, or the no-huddle offenses of Sam Wyche and Marv Levy, we could just all be having a little bit of fun for the MOMENT — without any substantial results. Hell, Pete Carroll is as much of a “rah-rah” guy as anyone in the league. Can it last?

So what’s it gonna be? Winning or fun?

The Ryans think it can be both. I’m not so sure. Sometimes having a guy just unjustifiably screaming at you can be a good thing, even if you don’t like it.

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