The man who said he would never kiss Bill Belichick’s rings sounds ready to kiss the Patriots and their coach goodbye.
After New England lost its fourth straight game Sunday and fell to 2-5 with a 24-21 loss to the Bills, Rex Ryan put a knife in the Patriots’ playoff hopes, claiming the changing of guard in the AFC East has arrived and called an early winner in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady debate.
“It’s over,” the former Jets coach said Monday on ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin” show. “It’s flat-out over. They’re [3.5] games behind Buffalo … and they’re not going to win the wild card. So yeah, look, the playoff run is over. Pass the torch to the Buffalo Bills. I think [the Patriots are] going to end up being behind Miami when it’s all said and done as well.
“This is what I thought was coming. I told everybody that they had no weapons for the last three years, but they had the greatest player in the history of our game in Tom Brady. You see how great he is? He took this team to the playoffs [last year] and actually won a Super Bowl two years ago.
“To me, it just shows also that the greatest player in the game has a hell of a lot bigger impact than the greatest coach in the game.”
The Patriots haven’t missed the playoffs since 2008 — the year Brady was knocked out with a torn ACL — which was also the last time they did not win the AFC East. Their replacement for Brady this year, Cam Newton, has struggled recently while throwing to a host of undrafted receivers and fumbling away their chances of beating the Bills on Sunday. Brady, meanwhile, is off to a 6-2 start with the Buccaneers, though he has plenty of help around him. The 43-year-old is throwing to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and soon Antonio Brown, while the Buccaneers boast one of the top defenses in the league. Though Ryan is ready to call it, the Belichick-Brady debate may rage on for years to come as neither side appears ready to retire just yet, less than a year removed from their breakup.
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