Extra Points

Rex Ryan Rips Tom Brady for That Terrible First Pitch at Fenway

You didn’t think Rex would let Tom’s terrible throw go unnoticed, did you?

By now, you’ve seen Tom Brady sporting the No. 5 t-shirt with sweatshirt wrapped around his waist throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to David Ortiz at the Fenway home opener.

Let’s just say Brady’s had better days throwing a ball.

The HC of the BB wasted no time in chiming in on Brady’s bounced ball during his press conference in Orchard Park, New York. on Wednesday.

“I think there’s an obvious thing that we should talk about first: My pitch actually made it to the plate,” Ryan said jokingly. “It was a little wide, but I understand somebody bounced it — I’m not sure who it was — but Tom needs to keep his elbow up a little bit more, I think.”

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Ryan did indeed have a better day than Brady on the mound when he tossed out the first pitch at the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons season opener on April 9. Ryan’s pitch was just a bit outside, but it didn’t find any dirt before making it home.

“I would have said, ‘Hey, Tom. Let’s take one practice toss out there on that mound, maybe,'” Ryan said. “But Tom likes taking advice from me, I know. I’m sure he’ll be working with that.”

And Ryan wasn’t alone in taking a few shots at Tom’s short toss.

“I don’t know how he didn’t get it over the plate,” Brady’s favorite tight end Rob Gronkowski told Fox Sports. “He might have done that on purpose. I’m gonna ask him. You gotta at least get it to the catcher without a bounce.”

The self-deprecating Brady was actually out ahead of the jokes about his Fenway pitch Wednesday when he posted a photo on Facebook playing the role of catcher while his son Ben was swinging a bat.

Going to stick to catcher and leave the throwing to the football field…

Posted by Tom Brady on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The caption on Brady’s photo read: “Going to stick to catcher and leave the throwing to the football field.”

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Ryan was asked later in his presser, if poking fun at players — specifically the Patriots — is part of his personality.

“Brady is funny because here is a guy who is first-ballot Hall of Famer,” Ryan said. “If he ever does something wrong, yes, I’ll be all over him. But that doesn’t happen very often. So that was a given, you know I was going to say something there, but I don’t take myself too seriously…

“It’s just, I guess, who I am.”

And tweaking the Patriots has been Ryan’s M.O. for a long time.

At the NFL annual meeting in Phoenix in March, Ryan raised the issue of the Patriots dominance in the AFC East and stated that he’s shooting for the top dog again.

“They’re clearly the team to beat and we’re coming after them,” Ryan said.

The Bills went 9-7 last season, with one of the wins coming against the Patriots’ B-squad in the last game of the regular season. But Buffalo has bolstered itself beyond the addition of Ryan this offseason as running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Percy Harvin are on Team Rex’s offense.

“I hope [the Bills have closed the gap on the Patriots],” Ryan said via NFL Network. “When you’re the world champs, you’re not going to get better. They lost some good players so hopefully we have closed the gap. Guess we have to find out.”

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Ryan clearly hasn’t lost any of his fire in moving upstate to take over the Bills job after serving as the head coach of the New York Jets for the last six years.

“I think our division is the best in football,” Ryan said of the AFC East, where his last game as coach of the Jets was a 37-24 win over the Miami Dolphins that gave New York a 4-12 record, good for last place in the division. Ryan went 50-52 — including postseason — over his Jets’ head coaching career.

“Just understand that I’m not afraid of anything,” Ryan said after his final game coaching the Jets. “I’m not afraid of what lies ahead, I can tell you that.”

For Patriots fans, it’s been a wild ride with the fiery and fun-loving Ryan coaching New England’s division rival for the past six seasons.

In his last game coached against the Patriots at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 21, a downtrodden Ryan spoke about failing to top rival Bill Belichick in their final showdown after a frustrating 17-16 loss to the Patriots.

“I really thought this was going to be our day,” Ryan said after the defeat.

The Patriots’ dominance over the Jets in New England resulted in a 27-25 victory over Ryan’s bunch on Oct. 16, and Ryan’s postgame comments indicated he was starting to take this personally.

“Obviously, you give up a third-and-19 for a touchdown, and you blow coverage on a 50-yard pass, and all that, you aren’t going to win many games regardless of how the game was played,” an exasperated Ryan said after the game. “Our guys gave everything they had, obviously, and didn’t play the smartest game in the history of the sport, without question, on defense in particular. You know, to say it is a disappointing loss, I think is a fair assessment. I just, you know, we’ve been snakebit.”

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Ryan has a long history of tweaking the Patriots and Belichick. He opened a media session the week before playing the Chargers in San Diego during the 2014 season by proclaiming one of Belichick’s now-famous lines this season.

“Obviously, [we’re] on to San Diego,” Ryan joked while showing off a wide grin to the chuckling media. “OK, here we go. Trying, can we just move on?”

The “On to San Diego” one-liner was a clear tweak of Belichick’s “We are on to Cincinnati” phrase dropped on the media in Foxborough just a few hours before Ryan took the podium in Florham Park, N.J.

Looking back in time, not all of Ryan’s Rex-isms about Belichick have been lighthearted.

In June 2014, Ryan was posed with a question about a pair of former Patriots on the Jets roster: Jermaine Cunningham and Ras-I Dowling.

“I don’t believe the one guy up in New England’s got all the answers,” Ryan told the New York Daily News. “I worry about ourselves, what we think of a player and how we evaluate a player. Do I respect the hell out of Bill? Absolutely. But if we think a player can help us, we don’t care how we get him.”

Cunningham went on the Jets injured reserve list with a torn Achilles and Dowling was let go by Ryan and landed on the Raiders practice squad.

With the 2011 preseason about to begin, Ryan challenged the league to help the Jets knock down the Patriots.

“I think we have to find somebody out there to beat New England besides us,” Ryan said. “Anybody out there want to sign up for it? Are you good enough as a team to beat the New England Patriots? I’m challenging the league.”

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The Jets under Ryan were 3-2 against the Patriots when he made the statement, he went 1-7 after asking the rest of the NFL for help.

Ryan also took a shot at Tom Brady — who fired first — back in 2010.

Brady said during a weekly WEEI appearance if he had watched any episodes of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” which followed Ryan’s Jets during the 2010 season training camp.

“Honestly, I haven’t turned it on,” Brady said. “I hate the Jets, so I refuse to support that show. I’m sure it’s great TV. I’m glad people are liking it. But that’s just something that I have no interest in watching. I’d love to say a lot of mean things, but I’d rather not do that, either.”

When Ryan was told of Brady’s remarks, he fired back.

“Hell, he knows we hate the Patriots. So what’s the difference?” Ryan said during the Jets presser. “My brother’s got a couple Super Bowl rings [from his time as a Patriots assistant]. He loves Tom Brady. But I don’t have them, so I don’t like Tom Brady. I respect him, but I don’t like him.”

Ryan made his most controversial Belichick quip during a radio interview in the summer of 2009 when the fiery newly-minted Jets coach said he didn’t come to New York “to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings,” and followed up in training camp saying he was “not intimidated” by Belichick. Ryan had not yet coached a game for the Jets when he made the remark.

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Since dropping the “rings” quip, Ryan has gone 4-9 against Belichick’s Patriots, but he’s won some big games along the way, most notably beating the Patriots 28-21 in a divisional playoff game in Foxborough in Jan. 2011 with Butt-Fumble Boy Mark Sanchez throwing three TD passes.

Leading up to the game, Ryan took Belichick head on verbally before the shocking win at Gillette.

“This is about Bill Belichick vs. Rex Ryan,” Ryan declared. “There’s no question. It’s personal. It’s about him versus myself, and that’s what it’s going to come down to.”

Belichick offered a tongue-in-cheek reply on a later conference call by responding: “Well, I might have a little quickness on him. He’s probably got a little more strength and power on me.”

“Maybe everybody else never believed, but we believed,” Ryan said after the improbable win. “We’re moving on. Same old Jets, back to the AFC championship. The only difference is this time we plan on winning.”

We’ll see if Rex can serve up some Patriots-beating magic in Buffalo during Act II of his AFC East coaching career.

Information from a previous story was used in this report.

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