First, it was a symbolic gesture. Ryan’s sending the message to his team that the 45-3 loss is done. It’s forgotten. History. It no longer exists. With it buried, the team can move on, starting this week with a game against the Dolphins.
Secondly, there was no Jets player who was even close to deserving a game ball, and it would’ve been a little weird for Rex Ryan to go give one to Tom Brady(notes).
Here’s how it went down, via Dennis Waszak of the AP:
Cornerback Darrelle Revis(notes) said the coach led the team out to the practice field before its morning meeting Wednesday, took a game ball from the 45-3 rout Monday night and placed it in a freshly dug hole.
“He said we’re burying the game,” Revis said, adding that the team didn’t know what Ryan was going to do. Revis also said he’s never seen anything like that.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick also did something similar after a loss to the Dolphins in 2001. New England went on to win its first Super Bowl against St. Louis that season.
I love a good symbolic gesture, and in all seriousness, I think the pigskin burial was an excellent idea. It might seem a little silly, but sometimes, something like that actually can help someone get past a traumatic event.
It’s also an interesting little twist that Bill Belichick had the idea first. I don’t know if Ryan’s borrowing the idea from Belichick, or if this occurred to him as an independent thought, but it’s probably not a bad idea for any coach to follow Belichick’s example. Not that Ryan isn’t a fine coach in his own right, but, you know … 45-3.