Almost nothing now separates Rex Ryan from Patriots coach Bill Belichick in terms of professional accomplishments, that's how Ryan feels after getting a letter from his alma mater. Although he only opened letters under duress while actually attending Southwestern Oklahoma State University, he was happy to see what it said.
"Dear coach Ryan, congratulations. You have been selected by the Athletic Hall of Fame Selection Committee to be inducted into the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame."
The Jets coach showed up to his Wednesday press conference with the letter and a Hall of Fame jacket. Other than the fact that he probably had to use gum and spit to get the home-made "HOF" logo to stick on his blue blazer, it looked pretty good.
With the Jets set to face the Pats this Sunday, Ryan poked a little fun at his declaration last season that the matchup was really about the two coaches.
"What I'm talking about is Belichick, I don't know if you're aware of it, he is a Hall of Famer from Wesleyan University," Ryan said. "Now I'm of course a Hall of Famer from Southwestern.
He noted that both of them played football, although Belichick played lacrosse as well.
"I have no idea what I'm doing in lacrosse," Ryan said. "I do like the idea though of hitting people with a stick, so I think I might have been all right."
So introduces Ryan? The natural choice would be his brother, Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and another Southwestern alum. But it turns out there's a hitch in that plan.
"Well, unfortunately I found out my brother got the same letter," Ryan said.