Ryan helped lead a Ravens D that was second in the NFL in total defense; the Ravens made it to their second AFC Championship game in franchise history, only to lose to Pittsburgh 23-14, Sunday night.
The move ends what has been a bizarre three weeks for the Jets; they fired Eric Mangini as a scapegoat for Brett Favre's nine interceptions in the final five weeks of the season. The Jets move to terminate Mangini looked that much worse when Jets owner Woody Johnson decided to spend a week on vacation when a more credible coach, like Bill Cowher, was avaiable for an interview. Cowher had a slight interest in coming to the Jets but was turned off by Johnson's seemingly disinterested approach to talking to him by spending time away from the Jets facility.
Other coaches like Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan, Brian Billick and Mike Holmgren were available, but Holmgren told the Jets he wanted to take a year off, while the Jets said they had no interest in interviewing three Super Bowl winning coaches in Billick, Shanahan and Gruden.
The Jets better hope and pray that Ryan turns out to be as successful over the long term as Andy Reid in Philadelphia, or Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh; otherwise, they will lay an egg as big as the Ritz. It is not often when five Super Bowl winning coaches are on the market. Chances are all five will be scooped up next off-season, and none of them will be availble to the Jets if Ryan crashes and burns in year one.
Hiring any coach is a gamble, but hiring an inexpierenced head coach who will be successsful right away, like the few freak success stories this season such as Mike Smith in Atlanta, Tony Sparano in Miami, and John Harbaugh in Baltimore, is usually not the norm. The norm is the type of first year coach the Jets have been hiring throughout the franchise's history - mediocrity in year one, underachievment in year two, and hopefully, by year three some success. Alexander Pope once wrote, and it may be applicable here: "Be not the first the lay the old aside nor last to embrace the new."