Three years ago when the Baltimore Ravens fired Head Coach Brian Billick, they interviewed yet passed up the chance to give the job to then-Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan. Ryan stayed around for the following year in the same position under the newly-hired John Harbaugh and helped the team make the post season and advance to the AFC Championship Game, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Since then, Ryan has left to become Head Coach of the New York Jets and all he's done in his two seasons there has been to lead them to the brink of the Super Bowl both times, only to lose in the AFC Championship Game. Meanwhile, the Ravens made the playoffs both of those years, but lost in the second round of the post season.
Did the Baltimore Ravens make the right choice for Head Coach in hiring Harbaugh, or did they miss out on an opportunity to reward Ryan with the position?
Both the Ravens and Jets have made the post season as Wild Cards the past two seasons. While John Harbaugh prefers to lead his team through his Coordinators and maintain his composure on the sidelines and when being interviewed, Ryan seems to love the limelight and frequently fills his interviews with "bulletin-board" material when talking about the other teams, players and coaches.
His brash talk has endeared him to his players and the fans seem to love the way he tries to take the attention and pressure off his players and put it on his broad shoulders. At the same time, the Ravens players like the way Harbaugh treats them like men and supports them in public at any cost.
Rex Ryan saw the offensive issues that the Ravens had during his tenure here and seems insistent on making sure they don't happen in New York despite the similarity of having a solid defense and a young QB leading the offense. John Harbaugh surrounded himself with coaches who seem to have a lot of freedom to run their areas of expertise.
Obviously, both coaches have had decent success in the short term of their head coaching careers. But would the outcome have been different for the Ravens had they given the opportunity to Rex Ryan rather than John Harbaugh? That might be an unfair question to put out there, but with the obvious shortcomings that the Ravens have had in big games the past three years under Coach Harbaugh, and the recent success of Rex Ryan in New York, it bears discussion. Let the debate begin...