Today in Local Sports Coverage: Portly Coach’s Mother Doesn’t Like ‘Fat Man’ Headlines

Wow. I’ve been saying for awhile that your sportswriters and columnists must like the voluble (and lachrymose) Rex Ryan, who’s always gift-wrapping back covers for your tabloids. But I had no idea it went as far as Mike Lupica takes it this morning.

He is a dream character, not just for his team, and for this kind of stage, but for this time. At a time in American life, and the life of our city, when leaders are as dull as they have ever been, here is Rex Ryan for a little while to save us all.

If this was your thesis, who would you call? Well, who else? Get Rex’s mother on line one!

“With Rex,” his mother said yesterday, “you just sit back and enjoy the show.”

Ms. Ryan sounds like a fascinating character in her own right: She lives in Ardmore, Oklahoma, but she has a master’s from the University of Buffalo and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. Of course, the most fascinating thing is that she was once married to Buddy Ryan, though apparently they divorced 40 ago–before the elder Ryan started swinging at fellow coaches and putting a bounty on quarterbacks’ heads. Is this quote a swipe at the old codger?

“I’ve seen enough of [Rex’s] press conferences by now,” Doris Ryan said. “I think he does a great job with it because he has fun with it. Rex has got something that not many in his profession have, as far as I can tell: a sense of humor.”

She’s not as enamored with the tabloids’ sense of humor.

“I know he’s overweight,” his mother said yesterday. “But do you have to call him the ‘Fat Man’ in those headlines?”

Well, Ms. Ryan probably won’t love Steve Serby’s column this morning.


They are the talk of the town and the toast of the town, a pair of precocious rookies chasing this most improbable Super Bowl dream together.

Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez.

Fatman and Robin.

The lead story this morning is that the Fatman made up a calendar for his team that includes all the possible playoff games, the Super Bowl, and even a ticker-tape parade. Gary Myers seems to endorse the idea. “The Jets better seize the moment right now because you never know when it will come again,” he writes.


But watching Rex’s old team the Ravens dismantle the Patriots has the Times‘ Greg Bishop thinking otherwise. “These Jets are built to win now. And next season. And the season after that.”


Whatever happens in the next game, the Jets should at least have better announcers. NBC treated them like Conan this week, with the guy who usually does horse racing as the play-by-play anchor, flanked by Joe Theismann and Joe Gibbs. Phil Mushnick was not amused: “Had it been a preseason game telecast it still would have been dreadful.”


NBC reserved its best crew–Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth–for the marquee matchup between the Cowboys and Eagles. The Cowboys won their first playoff game in 13 years.


“In the wake of their first playoff victory since 1996, the Cowboys (12-5) weren’t ready to hang a “Mission Accomplished” banner from the rafters,” writes Ralph Vacchiano, which is a good joke, except that Vacchiano completely omits why it’s funny.


At one point, the cameras flashed up to Jerry Jones box–as is their twice-per-quarter wont–and who was there? George W. Bush, of course. The joke is funniest, I think, if you picture Bush descending on the locker room in an ill-fitting Cowboys uniform, and unfurling a “Mission Accomplished” banner while Wade Phillips–a marshmallowy coach in his own right–does his patented fist pump.


Today in Local Sports Coverage: Portly Coach’s Mother Doesn’t Like ‘Fat Man’ Headlines