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Bisciotti explains decision to hire John Harbaugh over Rex Ryan

John+Harbaugh+Rex+Ryan+New+York+Jets+v+Baltimore+bDM_VEAxFnpl Getty Images

Three years ago, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti hired John Harbaugh to coach the team.  It was an outside-the-box move at the time, given that Harbaugh had worked for years as a special-teams coordinator in Philly before spending only one year as defensive backs coach there.

Bisciotti’s faith in Harbaugh paid off with three straight playoff berths in a top-heavy AFC.

During a fan forum conference call on Tuesday night, Bisciotti explained why he picked Harbaugh over former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, who stayed on the job for one more year before becoming the head coach of the Jets.

“From a chemistry standpoint . . . we really liked John and we thought it was going to be tougher for Rex to bring the whole team together after him spending 10 years on one side of the ball that was the dominant side of the ball,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun.

Ryan has done well in New York, taking the Jets to the AFC title game in each of his first two seasons with the team.

“I will always be second-guessed,” Bisciotti said. “Some people will agree with me and some people won’t.  I just had to make a gut decision and so far it’s worked out pretty well.  I hope it gets us to the Super Bowl and brings back a couple of trophies to Baltimore.”

It’s possible that Bisciotti also didn’t want an brash, outspoken, shot-calling head coach, even though Bisciotti would never say that.  Though Rex Ryan’s approach has worked well for the Jets, Rex’s style could rub some owners the wrong way.  Indeed, the talk in league circles for years was that Rex and Rob Ryan had been held back from head-coaching jobs due to concerns that they’d be as brash and outspoken as their father, Buddy.

That’s exactly what has happened, and the Jets surely wouldn’t have it any other way.

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45 Responses to “Bisciotti explains decision to hire John Harbaugh over Rex Ryan”
  1. doe22us says: Aug 16, 2011 9:54 PM

    not to mention a foot fetish lover ohh Rex

  2. doctorfootball says: Aug 16, 2011 9:57 PM

    Both coaches have had success. They’re both coaching where they’re meant to be.

  3. buckeye044 says: Aug 16, 2011 9:57 PM

    Being a Steeler fan, I don’t care for either of them. But they did choose the better coach. Carny barkers get old after awhile.

  4. mrnickles says: Aug 16, 2011 9:58 PM

    “That’s exactly what has happened, and the Jets surely wouldn’t have it any other way.”

    Amen to that.

    REEEEXXXXXXY BABY!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. suckleague says: Aug 16, 2011 10:00 PM

    JB – Sure, my explanation – Whooops.

  6. skinsdiehard says: Aug 16, 2011 10:03 PM

    Bisciotti is a wise man. I like that!

  7. drgfri says: Aug 16, 2011 10:05 PM

    I think the real reason was that they couldn’t afford the potential pizza bill……

  8. tfbuckfutter says: Aug 16, 2011 10:06 PM

    I’m just going to assume the explanation is “Ryan’s a douche” and skip the article.

  9. realnflmaster says: Aug 16, 2011 10:11 PM

    Thanks Steve. New York really appreciates you!

    And really, these foot fetish jokes are getting ridiculous. How narrow-minded are some of you clowns? Pounding on your keyboard, day after day after day on every Jets story waiting to type “haha FEET!”

    Like really. We know your team sucks. We know you wish Rex was your coach. We know you wish your team stomped the 14-2 Patriots in the playoffs last year in their house. We know you wish your team made the AFC Title game back to back without hosting a playoff game. And we know you’re jealous of us. But pleaseeee, get some new material. You’re embarrassing yourself.

  10. capesquad says: Aug 16, 2011 10:14 PM

    Bisciotti had plenty of time to evaluate Rex… that was the problem. Year one, he’s refreshing and delightful…

  11. ravensfreak00 says: Aug 16, 2011 10:21 PM

    It worked out good for both coaches.

  12. Mike Tomlin says: Aug 16, 2011 10:21 PM

    Rex Ryan > John Harbaugh

    I guarantee Rex wouldn’t have drafted Joe Flacco. In Ozzie y’all trust and he just keeps losing and losing and…

  13. cubano76 says: Aug 16, 2011 10:23 PM

    Bisciotti has NOTHING to explain. He’s run a class organization, THAT WINS! Loyal fans that can be put up against any in the NFL.

  14. goforgin01 says: Aug 16, 2011 10:23 PM

    Q> What’s the statute of limitations for this “story”?

    A> Until
    1. Hell freezes over, or
    2. The goal posts are put behind the goal line again.

  15. supashug says: Aug 16, 2011 10:24 PM

    Harbaugh has done better so far so good for the Ravens

  16. rectumnearlykilledem says: Aug 16, 2011 10:31 PM

    Harbaugh is a better coach. He’s gotten more out of that aging talent on the Ravens than Rex ever could.

    And I don’t think Harbaugh is going to be putting any videos of his wife on the internet asking for guys to meet up with her while he watches. Rex is an embarrassment – plain and simple.

  17. polishkingski says: Aug 16, 2011 10:35 PM

    i would trade every single issue of “leg show” i have collected over the years to rex if he would come to buffalo and coach the bills. well, maybe not the issues featuring veronica zemanova….grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

  18. polishkingski says: Aug 16, 2011 10:36 PM

    god shes beautiful….google it ptf nation.

  19. tunescribe says: Aug 16, 2011 11:16 PM

    Wrecks is the carnival barker Woody Johnson sought to sell PSLs. He’s still a glorified defensive coordinator who emphasizes one side of the ball.

  20. oscojoe says: Aug 16, 2011 11:23 PM

    It has only been 3 years, but time has shown he made the right decision.

    Ryan’s act is wearing off and by the end of this season it will become even more evident.

    Ryan is destined to be a commentator on ESPN as all Yet’s Head Coach’s end up being.

  21. drgfri says: Aug 16, 2011 11:50 PM

    Or maybe the real reason is that they couldn’t get a supply of XXXL Ravens polo shirts. Whatever happened to that Lap Band anyhow? Looks like it got digested like yesterday’s pizza….

  22. drgfri says: Aug 16, 2011 11:51 PM

    “From a chemistry standpoint . . . we really liked John and we thought it was going to be tougher for Rex to bring the whole team together after him spending 10 years on one side of the ball..”

    Translation: Rex is a major tool

  23. suchajoke says: Aug 16, 2011 11:57 PM

    Harbough is a good coach but Rex Ryan has had more success with similar talent……Final 4 of the playoffs his 2 years there and has outcoached Belichik more than BB has outcoached him

    Jets and Ravens are both in really good shape going forward for sure

  24. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins says: Aug 17, 2011 12:09 AM

    He doesn’t have to explain anything. The article is clearly implying that this was some sort of move that backfired, but the only reason Rex Ryan is considered a better coach is because he coaches the media capital of the US and can’t shut the hell up to boot.

    In reality, neither coach has won a Super Bowl since being hired, and ultimately Harbaugh has had less to work with talent wise. Both are good coaches, but when viewed through media goggles you’d think they made a terrible decision like choosing Mark Sanchez over Josh Freeman or something.

    …oh wait, Rex Ryan did that?

  25. lildon96 says: Aug 17, 2011 12:25 AM

    Imagine the health care premiums if he hired Rex.

    At least John’s a young, fit guy; not to mention he’s also not an a-hole.

  26. waxthat says: Aug 17, 2011 12:36 AM

    Trust me..ten years from now, us fans, will look back at these Jets as an interesting team to follow, with a brash (not an brash) coach and not much more. They will NEVER win a SB. Not gonna happen. Sorry jets fans

  27. waxthat says: Aug 17, 2011 12:39 AM

    @ mike Tomlin

    LOLOLO…seriously? I’d take flacco any day of the week over mark Sanchez.

  28. burntorangehorn says: Aug 17, 2011 1:01 AM

    I don’t like the Ravens, and I don’t think negatively of the Ryans for the footy business (swinger or otherwise). What actually bothers me is how Ryan–and the contributors who focus so strongly on the Jets at PFT–won’t shut up.

  29. rsersen says: Aug 17, 2011 1:09 AM

    “Harbaugh has done better so far so good for the Ravens”

    How do you figure?

    Harbaugh:
    Year 1 – Wildcard, AFCC loss to PIT
    Year 2 – Wildcard, DIV loss to IND
    Year 3 – Wildcard, DIV loss to PIT

    Rex:
    Year 1 – Wildcard, AFCC loss to IND
    Year 2 – Wildcard, AFCC loss to PIT

    Have to wait and see what Rex does this year. If it’s another trip deep into the playoffs, I think you have to give him the nod.

    It’s close. They’re both pretty good coaches that run teams dedicated to defense and running the ball, with average QBs. They both play in divisions that they’ve been close, but unable, to win thus far. The difference right now is that Rex has been able to get over the Patriots hump, while Harbaugh is still getting slapped around by Pittsburgh in big games.

  30. ihatestupidpeople says: Aug 17, 2011 1:22 AM

    realnflmaster says:
    Thanks Steve. New York really appreciates you!

    And really, these foot fetish jokes are getting ridiculous. How narrow-minded are some of you clowns? Pounding on your keyboard, day after day after day on every Jets story waiting to type “haha FEET!”
    ______________________________
    foot fetish jokes getting ridiculous? The jets coach that complained about the Pat’s cheating (then admitted he and every team did it too) has complete losers like “Bozo” mentioning cheating in every Pat’s article. And for what, 5 years? Get used to it, maybe it will die out since the Jet’s don’t get as much exposure (no rings).

  31. walkedintoabar says: Aug 17, 2011 2:31 AM

    “From a chemistry standpoint . . . we really liked John and we thought it was going to be tougher for Rex to bring the whole team together after him spending 10 years on one side of the ball that was the dominant side of the ball,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun.

    that quote is from steve ‘sciotti, not john harbs’. im sure it has been corrected by now but better safe than sorry

  32. walkedintoabar says: Aug 17, 2011 2:36 AM

    also, to that failure of an individual who posts as “Mike Tomlin” you’re right. Ryan wouldn’t have gotten flacco who is, by the way, one of the top qbs in the league, according to every state known to man (note that i didnt say THE top, just in the top tier. Statistically, and playoff-wise, he did better than M. Ryan, so haters to the left)

  33. patpatriotagain says: Aug 17, 2011 2:38 AM

    he didn’t wan’t his feet to get rubbed the wrong way

  34. 90sniners says: Aug 17, 2011 2:55 AM

    Wait….people actually think Harbaugh is a better coach than Rex? Please. Put your hate aside for a minute.

  35. wiscnsnpatfan says: Aug 17, 2011 4:38 AM

    When Ryan became the jets HC I think a lot of NFL fans liked his honesty and bravado and thought he was entertaining and “good for the league “, but it seems like a lot of people are getting tired of his bulls#%t. He’d better make good on that Superbowl prediction, soon, or jets fans AND players are gonna get tired of him too. I don’t like Harbaugh either, but at least he doesn’t make ridiculous predictions every year. There’s a fine line between sounding confident or sounding like a fool.

  36. mnavia2 says: Aug 17, 2011 6:02 AM

    @Mike Tomlin….

    You have zero clue what you are talking about. In Rex’s last season and Joe’s first he was publicly petitioning for Joe to be the starting qb before he even was thrown into the roll. So yet again you bandwagon steeler fans show just how much you know about football. See ya in 3 weeks chump!!!

  37. lawyermalloy says: Aug 17, 2011 6:26 AM

    “From a chemistry standpoint … we really liked John and we thought it was going to be tougher for Rex to bring the whole team together after him spending 10 years on one side of the ball that was the dominant side of the ball,” Bisciotti said.
    Give me a break, those are Ozzie words not Bisciotti’s! Chemstry?….. Players, not only on the Ravens, but league wide, would go to war for Rex Ryan; not so with Harbaugh. With the make up of this team, the last few years, Ryan would have had us in the SB a few times. History will show that the Harbaugh hire was a major blunder!

  38. pdmjr says: Aug 17, 2011 6:44 AM

    Both Harbaugh and Fatso will be fired.

  39. jnbnet says: Aug 17, 2011 7:20 AM

    realnflmaster says:
    Aug 16, 2011 10:11 PM
    Thanks Steve. New York really appreciates you!
    ===================================
    “haha FEET!”

  40. thetechnocrat says: Aug 17, 2011 8:05 AM

    Translation:
    I think both were good, demanding coaches. I just hired the catholic guy that isn’t a media huwere with the alternate lifestyle.

  41. aggressivexpansion says: Aug 17, 2011 8:57 AM

    The people who actually think Harbaugh is a better coach than Rex are sorely mistaken.

    Harbaugh inherited a great team, Rex inherited a team that just crashed and burned after the Favre debacle. Harbaugh had the luxury of walking into a situation where he had one of the leagues best defenses if not the best, Rex inherited a swiss cheese defense that was ranked 29th against the pass, and he brought that defense to #1 in the league ahead of every other team by 30 yards allowed per game.

    Rex built from the ground up instituting a whole new defense, a new offense for the rookie sanchez whereas harbaugh didn’t have to do all of that, he had some of the best defensive players in the league and some of the best defensive players ever in Reed and R Lewis.

    Rex has actually beaten the steelers with Roethlisberger on the field, and harbaugh has not managed to do that in several tries.

    The Ravens defense has declined with every year Harbaugh has been there.. and every year Ryan has left… coincidence?

    Rex has brought his team with a worse quarterback than the ravens, and a far less talented defense (yet still a better defense) to the AFC championship two years in a row beating elite QBs along the way.. Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning whereas Harbaughs track record is beating Chad pennington, Kerry Collins, Tom Brady w/o welker, and Matt Cassel.

    You all piss and moan about being tired of Rex’s antics; if you are tired, stop listening, change the channel when he comes on sports center, change the radio station when they talk about him, you act like a bunch whining kids when it comes to this apparently not realizing you can control what you read, watch, and listen in the media. Rex is just being himself and Jet fans love it, the media loves it, his players love it, but you don’t have to, but that doesn’t mean you get to complain like someone is tying you to a chair and making you watch Rex Ryan press conferences non stop.

    If Rex’s antics are wearing thin, then Harbaugh’s prowess as a coach compared to Rex is wearing even thinner because Harbaugh is showing he cannot get past his division rival steelers, whereas Rex has shown he can consistently beat the patriots when no one else can. And let us just take the simple fact that the Jets are simply a better team right now than the Ravens.

    Rex > Harbaugh

  42. damnsureis says: Aug 17, 2011 10:17 AM

    I love how the Jets fans think the rest of the NFL is jealous of them. Congratulations on losing the AFC Championship game twice. I don’t see Eagles fans bragging about their dynasty of coming one game short of the SB. But I guess after 40 years of nothing you have to claim at least one victory.

  43. drunkendegenerate says: Aug 17, 2011 10:18 AM

    Wait a minute, didn’t Bill Belichick cheat?

  44. damnsureis says: Aug 17, 2011 10:18 AM

    @agressiveexpansion

    Rex and Harbaugh met the first week of last season. How did that work out for the Jets? With such a great coach and a much better team I’m sure the Jets beat the hell out of them.

  45. elyasm says: Aug 17, 2011 11:00 AM

    @drunkendegenerate
    No, he filmed from an improper location; since that, as the Commissioner stated at the time, had no material impact on the outcome of games it cannot be considered cheating (except by petty, small minded people, desperate for an excuse to bash the coach of a team they hate).

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