He spent six seasons coaching the other New York football team, but during his time in the Big Apple Rex Ryan developed a pretty bitter rivalry with the Giants. The last time Ryan did battle with Big Blue, his Jets hosted their co-tenants on Christmas Eve in 2011.
During that season Gang Green was fighting for a chance to stay alive in the AFC Wildcard race and the Giants were hoping to close in on an NFC East crown.
The Week 16 battle was a memorable contest that would represent a crossroads for both franchises. The Jets led the contest 7-3 with just over 2:00 minutes remaining in the first half.
Then-upstart receiver Victor Cruz hauled in a pass from Eli Manning at the 1-yard line and danced out of cornerback Antonio Cromartie’s grasp and high-tailed 99 yards for the score.
The Giants grabbed the lead and didn’t look back; delivering a devastating blow to Gang Green’s playoff chances with a 29-14 decision.
Before the contest, the Jets covered up signage in the Giants tunnels which displayed images of their Lombardi Trophies and championship seasons. Offensive lineman David Diehl and teammates paraded through the bowels of MetLife Stadium after the victory tearing down the wall coverage and revealing the proudest moments in Giants history.
Big Blue would go to win the division and eventually the Super Bowl over the New England Patriots, while Ryan’s bunch lost in Week 17 against the Miami Dolphins and saw their playoff hopes go by the wayside.
The Jets failed to make the postseason for the remainder of Ryan’s tenure in New York and now the bombastic head coach has started a new chapter with the Buffalo Bills.
Ryan is relishing his chance for revenge on the team that derailed his hopes for a third straight playoff berth and now the football-lifer will have his chance on Sunday.
The Bills are coming off an emotional 41-14 win over the Dolphins, while the Giants earned their first win of the season over the Washington Redskins by a score of 32-21.
Even though Ryan technically hasn’t left New York, his fresh start has reinvigorated a Buffalo fan base that is trying to reclaim their glory days from the early 1990s when they made four straight Super Bowl appearances.
When with the Jets, Ryan would always target the Giants as a team on his radar and use them as a measuring stick for how his club could recapture the New York Metropolitan area.
Now the Ryan’s Bills meet in a cross-conference contest against Big Blue at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Week 4.
Expect the trash talking to start heating up as Ryan isn’t quick to forget the loss he suffered four years ago at the Meadowlands.