Bill Belichick owns a 7-4 record against the Jets since Rex Ryan assumed head coaching duties in 2009. Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine, a former assistant to Ryan, thinks he knows the secret of Belichick’s success.
“We know in places like New England,” Pettine tells MMQB, “it’s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.”
Pettine claims that Jets outside linebackers coach Mike Smith ran into Tom Brady, who boasted of possibly owning Jets defensive playbooks, at Wes Welker’s wedding. Smith and Welker roomed together at Texas Tech. Pettine says Ryan would hand out playbooks “like candy.”
Pettine says of Ryan, “He gave one out to [University of Alabama head coach Nick] Saban and I was like, ‘Don’t you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.'”
The new allegations rub raw old wounds over the Patriots taping Jets sideline signals in 2007, and then-Jets coach Eric Mangini ratting out his former mentor Belichick to the NFL, which stripped the team of a first-round pick and fined the Patriots coach $500,000. This season New England faces their AFC East rivals with the longtime face of the Jets franchise, Darrelle Revis, lining up in the Patriots defensive backfield. Revis once called Belichick a “jerk.” Yesterday, he called him a “players’ coach.”
Belichick’s signature wins over Ryan include a 45-3 2010 drubbing in which Tom Brady looked as though he were running plays against air and the 49-19 2012 Mark Sanchez “butt fumble” game. But New England’s quarterback has generally struggled against Rex Ryan defenses in Baltimore and New York. Last season, Brady posted a 61.5 quarterback rating–his second lowest against any opponent–against the Jets versus an 87.3 rating overall.
Nick Saban flatly denies the allegations. Rex Ryan calls them “ridiculous” and “without merit.” A characteristically curt Bill Belichick told reporters, “Talk to Mike Pettine. I don’t know.”