The Intangibles: Rex Ryan Has Boatloads Of “IT”

Who would have guessed six months ago that the Buffalo Bills would be introducing Rex Ryan as their new head coach? This hiring proves that life really is stranger than fiction. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ll be waking up for a long time before the reality actually sinks in. Rex. Ryan. Is. The. Bills. Head. Coach.

For those of us of a certain age, this hire comes as confirmation that the days of the “same old Bills” just blew out of the building at One Bills Drive like a Category 5 hurricane. Wow. I mean, just… wow!

Never in a million years would a Ralph Wilson owned team have hired a guy like Rex Ryan. Rex embodies characteristics that men like Mr. Wilson abhorred; boorish, grandiose, and downright intimidating at times. Although Rex Ryan has mellowed some in recent years, as long as he breathes, he will have a unique brand of fire in his belly.

Rex is like an old soul friend. The more I read about his past, the more striking the similarities seem between us. As head coach for the rival Jets, I felt I had to label him a blowhard and move on.

Then somehow he would drag me back right back in with his bluntness. He is the closest thing this generation of coaches has to Bill Parcells. He IS what we hoped Marrone would be for the Buffalo Bills. Rex is a study in uniqueness.

If you strip off the bravado (which he has already done to some extent), what you get with Rex Ryan is a far more complicated man than what meets the eye. If ever there were a better example of a person floating in buckets of “IT”, I can’t think of one. Rex is literally the personification of “IT”.

Certainly whenever strong personalities exist in any setting, there is always a risk of catastrophic implosions. Rex Ryan as head coach of the Buffalo Bills certainly has “Warning: High Risk Ahead” written all over it. This is a marriage of two highly passionate personalities, the Bills fan base and Rex Ryan.

However, there are some factors that tickle the fancy of this venerable behaviorist that are arguably worth noting. Let’s get back to the “IT” factor first, because “IT” is a doozy with respect to Rex Ryan.

When your living depends upon your ability to understand what makes a person tick and you have only a couple of hours to evaluate them, it forces one to rely a great deal upon instinct and good observational skills. As you grow into the role of a behavioral analyst, that skill must be continually improved over time. You have to develop some of that “IT” factor yourself to get the job done.

It really isn’t difficult to study people from a distance. Try as we might to be private about our behavioral tendencies, our innate personality will shine through over time. It’s not rocket science but sometimes people do get distracted by “larger than life” personalities and miss the forest for the trees. Easy to do.

Rex Ryan is a good example of a person possessing some of these “larger than life” innate personality traits. But there is another side of Rex Ryan that is often overshadowed by his high voltage extroverted persona. Rex is a sensitive, intellectual and thoughtful man who cares deeply about those around him.

In thinking about the relationship Western New Yorkers will have with Rex Ryan, one thing is quite clear. Rex Ryan will love BillsMafia, and BillsMafia will love Rex Ryan. There have been several theories proposed as to why Rex Ryan accepted the Bills head coaching job, but I have my own and I’m sticking with it.

Rex is a classic extrovert who is energized by the buzz of the people around him. He is good to the bone as far as wanting to do the right thing and make people happy. It’s easy to imagine that after hearing the Pegulas describe what winning a championship would do for the WNY region that he would believe it is his destiny to bring a Lombardi to One Bills Drive. It’s the perfect marriage of what he wants, and what the fans of Buffalo deserve for decades of undying loyalty for a team that has broken their hearts for 55 years.

The chance to become a hero doesn’t come around very often. Many media heads were puzzled by Rex’s decision not to move forward with the job in Atlanta. It didn’t surprise me in the least. The situation with the Bills, and the chance to bring a championship to a deserving fan base is a drama he would be drawn to like a fly to honey.

What better way to bring an entire region back to prosperity and vitality than Rex Ryan leading a Buffalo Bills team to a long awaited championship? I can’t think of a guy I’d rather have leading the way and raising an entire region up by bringing the swag we’ve so desperately yearned, for more than a half-century!

I’ve lived long enough to have a little street ‘cred’ when it comes to identifying transformational events. Hiring Rex Ryan signals with clarity that a new era has dawned in Western New York. If there wasn’t enough buzz around all the happenings in downtown Buffalo already, that buzz is now loud enough to be heard all the way to Wyoming. Loud and clear.

Win or lose in this situation? I say Buffalo wins with Rex Ryan coming to town. We have finally secured the type of coach who is a perfect fit for Buffalo Bills fans. He is one of us, literally a native Western New Yorker with as much passion for his team as we have for ours. Now we get to ride together and see what happens.

One thing is assured, the days of Dick Jauron and Doug Marrone are over. There will never be a dull press conference as long as ‘The Rex’ is in town. If you were looking for evidence to support the spectacular turnaround happening in Buffalo these days, this could be cited at the top of the evidence list.

Stay tuned, BillsMafia. The “IT” man has arrived. Whether we rise out of the ashes or explode Yellowstone style remains to be seen. Either way, get ready for the ride of a lifetime. Giddyup.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.