FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan has found the positive side of being voted the most overrated coach in the NFL.
A poll of 103 players in The Sporting News had Ryan with 35 votes, beating New England’s Bill Belichick, who had 16.
“My first thought was I looked and saw who was second,” the New York Jets coach joked Wednesday. “Hey, I finally beat Belichick. I got him. I knew it would take time, but I finally got him.”
The Jets have yet to beat out the Patriots in the AFC East race since Ryan joined them in 2009, although New York has a playoff victory over New England.
Ryan’s Jets are 3-5 this season, but Ryan is optimistic about the rest of the year. And he’s not insulted by the poll.
“Like it hasn’t been a tough enough year. Nah, I wasn’t offended by it,” he said. “At the end of the year, we’ll see who’s overrated.”
Backup quarterback Tim Tebow understands why Ryan would get such attention.
“New York is polarizing,” Tebow said, “and you are either on one side or the other.”
When told that Ryan wasn’t bothered by the survey’s outcome — 103 players is a small sampling with 53 players on every team’s roster — Tebow smiled.
“He stands up for what he believes in. Good for him,” Tebow said. “He stands up and sometimes people like that and sometimes they don’t. He has the courage to do it and I respect him for that and I did before I came here.”
Former Jets running back-kick returner Leon Washington, now with Seattle, where the Jets play on Sunday, also laughed when asked about Ryan being overrated.
“I saw that yesterday and it’s kind of like, man, the Jets are 3-5 this year and he’s overrated,” Washington said. “When a couple years ago, he (went to) AFC championships and things and such, and he’s the best coach in the National Football League. You know how that goes. Every year, it’s something different in the National Football League. But I was kind of surprised to see that because knowing that he’s a players’ coach.”