The New York papers were crazy yesterday over a little incident with Rex Ryan, coach of the almost-AFC-champion Jets. While in Florida for Super Bowl week, Ryan attended an MMA fight where during a half-time interview he told the raucous crowd, "Hey, I just want to tell everybody in Miami here: Hey we're coming to beat you twice next year." Later, while being heckled by some rowdy Dolphins fans, he flipped them off. And then the situation got weird

The Post ran double-covers and absolutely killed Ryan. So Ryan apologized. Here's his bizarre, corporatist, EEOC-style statement: "It was stupid and inappropriate. I wouldn't accept that type of behavior from one of the coaches or players, and it's unacceptable from me. I apologize to the Jets organization, the National Football League and NFL fans everywhere.”

Like all children of Philadelphia, I view New York City with a mixture of bemusement and disdain, but this is just pathetic. If Ryan had acted this way while coach of the Eagles, Philadelphians would be angling to replace William Penn with a statue of Rex on top of city hall.

The most beloved coach in Philadelphia history is Rex's father, Buddy Ryan. And Buddy never apologized for anything. In a 1987 game against the Cowboys, with the Eagles up big, Buddy called a last-second time out just to hang another touchdown on Dallas. Two years later, Buddy put a $200 bounty on Dallas kicker Luis Zendajas when they played on Thanksgiving. When word got out, after the fact, the game was dubbed "Bounty Bowl." Did Buddy say he had been "stupid and inappropriate"? No way. When Dallas came to Philadelphia a few weeks later, it was Bounty Bowl II. Things got so awesome out of hand that Mayor Ed Rendell goaded fans into throwing snowballs at the Cowboys during the game. No one issued forced statements "regretting" their actions. Buddy kept coaching. Rendell went on to get elected governor.

By the time Rex finishes up with the Jets, there will probably be a head-coaching vacancy in Philadelphia. We'll be glad to have him. No apologies necessary.

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