Sportress of Blogitude

Rex Ryan refers to Bill Belichick as ‘the devil’

Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick had an interesting rivalry during the former’s tenures as the head coach of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, and the current ESPN analyst clearly has bad memories of their battles.

Why? Choosing to refer to someone as “the devil” lends to that notion.

Ryan was weighing in on Sunday’s divisional-round showdown between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers at Gillette Stadium when he referred to Belichick as the Prince of Darkness.

It merits noting that there’s something about the matchup that goes beyond Ryan’s evident but presumably respectful contempt for Belichick: The former NFL coach has ties to Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who served on his staff as running backs coach from 2009 to 2014.

One of the interesting storylines in the Pats-Chargers showdown is the disparity of playoff experience between Lynn and Belichick. According to Elias, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Sunday’s game will be a matchup between head coaches who have the largest discrepancy in playoff games (40-2) and playoff wins (28-1) in NFL history.

Ryan, however, does not believe Lynn will wilt under the challenging circumstances, and his thoughts on the topic elicited the use of a Satanic moniker for Belichick.

“I can tell you this about Anthony: He’s not going to be intimidated by Bill Belichick, and a lot of coaches are. But Anthony is not intimidated by the devil,” Ryan said. “In fact, he’ll look forward to this matchup, and I think that’s the difference between Anthony and almost every coach. That’s just him.”

As noted, Belichick and Ryan enjoyed quite the rivalry, one that allegedly inspired the latter to joke about punching the former during a meeting at midfield before a Jets-Patriots game. Going 5-12 record in head-to-head meeting arguably will prompt someone to feel such hostilities.

Calling a person “the devil,” though? That’s really something.