Why Rex Ryan is the Donald Trump of the NFL


Photo courtesy of The Spectrum

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan introduced Donald Trump at the First Niagara Center on Monday.

Dan Almasi, Sports Editor

I saw Rex Ryan endorse Donald Trump at his First Niagara Center rally, and came to two realizations: Donald Trump would make a better cheerleader than a President, and Rex Ryan is the Donald Trump of the NFL. I’m here to discuss the latter.

They’re both the outspoken leaders of a steadfastly loyal fan base, are overconfident and a bit out of touch with reality. They’re willing to put their credibility and integrity on the line for the media’s attention without a second thought, and as it turns out, they’re big fans of each other as well.

Both Ryan and Trump know exactly what people want to hear. They aren’t afraid to use buzzwords in order to get people on board. For Ryan, that word throughout his coaching career has been “playoffs,” and the assurance of them. In similarly delusional fashion, a common buzzword Trump has used all campaign is “wall,” and the promise that not only will one spanning the length of the entire Mexican-American border be built if he’s elected, but that Mexico will front the bill.

It was announced on Monday, the day of Trump’s Buffalo rally at the First Niagara Center, that Ryan would introduce Trump later that evening. The Buffalo Bills organization was quick to make a statement which said that Ryan’s decision was a personal one, and that his decision to introduce Trump does not directly reflect the political views of the Buffalo Bills organization.

There is no arguing against the notion that Ryan’s introduction of Trump is a direct endorsement of Trump, his political agenda, and his campaign. It’s obvious that his decision to openly do so will create distrust, uneasiness, and potentially even dislike toward him within the Buffalo Bills locker room.

Whether players decide to openly voice their disagreement with Ryan’s decisions, or they choose to bite their tongue, respect for Rex Ryan by Bills fans and players has already been lost. Sure, there are lots of Bills fans who support trump, and there’s at least one Buffalo Bills player who openly supports him as well – Richie Incognito.

On March 19, much to the disappointment of most of his Twitter follower base, Incognito tweeted “On my way to the @realDonaldTrump rally. Let’s make America great again!!!”

Incognito responded to the Twitter backlash of his anti-Trump followers with “Reading my mentions after the rally. LOL! The salt is real. Thank you for taking the time to stop by my page and share your opinion [winking, tongue-out emoji]”

For every Trump supporter there are two rational people disgusted with the idea of a Trump-led America.

Pro-bowl Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes tweeted, “They carried around the confederate flag in Buffalo [monkey covering its eyes, squinty smiling face emojis] trump supporters boy y’all lost.”

So, in Hughes’ eyes, his head coach is “lost.” Likely, so is the respect for Ryan by what is potentially a predominantly liberal, African American locker room.

The first thing Ryan said as he stood in front of over ten thousand people at the First Niagara Center was, “We all know I’m not a politician. I’m not a public speaker. I’m just a football coach.”

Then he said, “We’re all here because we support Donald Trump.” There it was. No going back now.

Ryan went on to praise Trump for his outspokenness – an evidently shared quality.

“He’ll say what’s on his mind,” Ryan said. “You’ll see people that want to say the same thing, but the big difference is they don’t have the courage to say it. Donald Trump certainly has the courage to say it.”

Courage, ignorance – same thing, right?

Trump went on to return praise, calling Ryan a “great, great football coach,” then inaccurately stating that Ryan “won championships in New York.”

Ryan’s New York Jets reached the AFC title game in 2010 and 2011, but lost in both.

Trump made sure to remind Buffalo that he bid $1 billion for the Buffalo Bills in 2013 before being unwilling to trump Terry Pegula’s $1.4 billion bid – insinuating that he cared deeply about Buffalo’s community and is invested in the area.

But let’s not be too quick to forget that he tweeted a series of ignorant negativity in October of 2014 criticizing both Terry Pegula and the NFL:

“Even though I refused to pay a ridiculous price for the Buffalo Bills, I would have produced a winner. Now that won’t happen.”

“The @NFL games are so boring now that actually, I’m glad I didn’t get the Bills. Boring games, too many flags, too soft!”

“The people of Buffalo should be happy Terry Pegula got the team but I hope he does better w/the Bills than he has w/the Sabres. Good Luck!”

Trump attempted to empathize with Buffalonians, claiming to understand the troubles of a city with a depressed economy. He criticized the city for its poor employment rates, but made no mention of Buffalo’s recent economic upswing. According to Trump, it’s doomsday for Buffalo, and the only potential savior of our working class, blue collar city is a man to whom $1 million is a “small loan.”

“Let’s get them to move jobs to Buffalo,” Trump said. “I’m working for you folks. We are going to make America great again. Isn’t that a great legacy? Almost as great as owning the Buffalo Bills.”

If I took anything from the Trump rally, it’s that America deserves a whole lot better than “great.” And – at least as far as character and rationality goes – the Buffalo Bills deserve better than a “great, great football coach.”

I don’t know what’s scarier – the nightmarish almost-reality Buffalo dodged that is a Donald Trump-owned Buffalo Bills organization, the disconcerting idea of a Trump-led America, or the prospect of locker room turmoil that very well could negatively impact the Buffalo Bills’ 2016 season after Rex Ryan’s illogical decision to endorse Donald Trump.

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Twitter: @Almasi_