Ryan brothers prepare for tenth showdown
The Ryan twins' sibling rivalry is still alive and well, though.
The New York Jets' coach took a playful jab at twin brother Rob, the New Orleans Saints' defensive coordinator, during his news conference Wednesday.
After opening by saying he was pleased with his players' performance during practice, Rex held up a placard, the back of which he pretended the Jets' injury report was printed on. With a straight face the whole way through, he read off the injuries without acknowledging what was on the front.
Well, there was a picture of each brother: One of Rob's agonizing pout after New England beat the Saints three weeks ago on a touchdown with 5 seconds left. Under it were the words: ''Sorry About That Jets.'' The other photo was of a smiling Rex with the words: ''I Wish I Could Look As Good As My Twin.''
Laughs, of course, all around.
But, which of the brothers wishes they could look as good as the other, Rex?
''Oh, please,'' he said with a big grin. ''It's pretty obvious. The Lap-Band worked for me. I'm just going to say that, putting it out there.''
Rex had Lap-Band surgery in March 2010, and is down over 115 pounds since the procedure. He encouraged Rob to have it done, too, and he did - but hasn't lost nearly the weight his twin brother has.
Sunday's game marks the third time since Rex has been the Jets' coach that he'll face a Rob-coached defense, and he has won the previous two meetings. A few days before the first showdown in 2010, when Rob was with Cleveland, Rex showed up for his news conference wearing a blond wig and a pillow stuffed inside a makeshift Browns sweatshirt.
During a conference call with Saints reporters, Rex was told that dressing up as Rob for Halloween is one of the top costumes this year in New Orleans. Rex thought that was pretty funny, but was then asked if he was worried at all about his brother living in New Orleans.
''Why? How big he could get?'' Rex said. ''I think he probably fits right in.''
Including college teams they've coached on, Rex holds a 6-3 advantage. That includes the first meeting back in 1987 when Eastern Kentucky, with Rex as the defensive ends coach, beat Western Kentucky, where Rob was a graduate assistant, 20-10.
Despite the rivalry and the jokes, each of the brothers has a tremendous amount of respect for each other. Rex declared that Rob and Kansas City's Bob Sutton, a former member of his Jets staff, are probably doing the best jobs of any defensive coordinators in the league.
''There are a lot of great coaches that are coaching football and, yet, here are two of us, twin brothers,'' Rex said. ''I don't know how many twin brother combinations there have been in the league, but certainly to make it this far and have the success that we've had throughout our careers and things (is special).''