"I was very impressed with Rex when I met with him," Parcells said Tuesday night by phone. "I could just sense that, ‘Hey, this guy’s going to have a chance.’"
If Parcells hadn’t shared a strong working relationship with his former aide in Dallas, Tony Sparano, he likely would have hired Ryan on the spot.
"Yes, that’s correct," Parcells said.
A year later, after Eric Mangini went poof in the night, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum solicited his mentor’s official scouting report on the Baltimore defensive coordinator with a big plan and a bigger mouth.Parcells told his protégé he liked Rex and his pedigree, as in a lot, and Tannenbaum took it to the bank.
"The Jets know they can win in Pittsburgh because they’ve already done that this year. But the Steelers know they have to be at their best because they’ve already lost to the Jets at home. It’s like Ali-Frazier the second time, when Ali knew Frazier was capable of beating him."
[T]here’s no denying his link to Ryan. Parcells wants it known that he takes no credit for Rex’s development, or even for Tannenbaum’s decision to hire him.
But when Ryan was struggling in the middle of last season, he ignored AFC East protocol and called a certain Dolphins executive for help. In effect, Parcells advised the man he nearly hired to expand his voice on the offensive side of the ball and to become more of a head coach.
Rex Ryan has become more of a head coach than anyone could’ve guessed, not to mention the embodiment of Bill Parcells’ last great call for the Jets.
ESPNNewYork’s Ian O’Conner