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Analyst, ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown

Rex Ryan: Biography at a Glance

  • ESPN football analyst
  • Former head coach of the Buffalo Bills
  • As former head coach of the New York Jets, brought the team to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances in 2009 and 2010
  • Former coach of the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals
  • Author of “Play Like You Mean It: Passion, Laughs, and Leadership in the World's Most Beautiful Game”
Analyst, ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown

The son of former Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals head coach Buddy Ryan, Rex Ryan has football coaching in his blood. After five seasons with the New York Jets, he moved upstate as Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills for the 2015 season.

Ryan signed on with ESPN to provide analysis for the network’s Super Bowl LI pre-game and post-game shows. In April 2017, it was announced that Ryan would officially join ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown as an analyst.

After graduating from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, he secured a job as a graduate assistant on the Division I-AA Eastern Kentucky Colonels football team. He also had stints as defensive coordinator at Division II New Mexico Highlands and Division I Morehead State.

His professional football-coaching debut was in 1994 as defensive assistant with the Arizona Cardinals. However a year later the whole coaching staff was fired after the team went 4 – 12 for the season. Ryan returned to college coaching until he received a call from the newly appointed Baltimore Ravens head coach, Brian Billick.

While with the Ravens, Ryan’s defense was ranked second overall in the NFL and second in rushing yards allowed. The next year, the Ravens won the Super Bowl and continued to perform under Ryan’s coaching wisdom. In 2005 he was offered the defense coordinator position and the following year he was named assistant head coach.

Ryan’s talent for leading a team was recognized in 2008 when he was hired by the New York Jets for the head coach position. He delivered two trips to the playoffs, including bringing the team to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances in 2009 and 2010.

In 2011, Ryan released his autobiography Play Like You Mean It, which also dives deep into his unique coaching strategies. Ryan resides in Summit, New Jersey with his wife and two boys.

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