cheap authentic mlb jerseys Bills coach Rex Ryan back to loving Leafs
MINNEAPOLIS Three years ago this month, when the Buffalo Bills introduced Rex Ryan as head coach, the life long fan of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs announced a change of hockey heart.
“I’m a (Buffalo) Sabre all the way right now,” Ryan said at the time.
Well of course he said that. His new bosses then, Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, also owned the NHL’s Sabres one of the Leafs’ arch rivals in the NHL.
Turned out, the change of heart was as temporary as Ryan’s tenure with the Bills. The Pegulas fired him just 23 months and 31 games into a five year contract, in December 2016.
Does Ryan still have those Sabres jerseys he used to sport during his time in Buffalo?
“Oh no, I got rid of every one of them every damn one of them,” Ryan, 55, said Monday in a telephone interview, before flying here from his Nashville home to work the Super Bowl as an ESPN analyst.
“As soon as I got fired by the Pegulas, I was like, no chance. I got rid of all my Sabres stuff. I had the (Roger) Crozier jersey, the French Connection jerseys I got rid of every damn one of them.”
Instead, Ryan has resumed his outward, unabashed support of the Leafs, a team he and twin brother Rob and older brother Jim cheered on heartily while growing up in Toronto, in living with their mother after she’d split from the boys’ eventually famous football coach father, the late Buddy Ryan.
The Ryan boys idolized star Leafs centre Darryl Sittler and those 1970s Leafs teams. Today, a second NHL team has captured Rex’s affinity in addition to the Leafs.
“That’s what’s so funny,” Ryan said. “Obviously I’m still a huge Leafs fan, but I live here in Nashville, where the Predators play. So I have to root for the Preds. And I love the Preds. Watching them last year was great. They have a heck of a team.
“My dream scenario is I want to see those two teams meet in the final.”
In that scenario, what would he do?
Rex Ryan (from left), Sam Ponder, Randy Moss, Matt Hasselbeck and Charles Woodson on the set of Sunday NFL Countdown (Melissa Rawlins / ESPN Images)
“I can’t say I can’t say who I would root for,” Ryan said. “I guess I’d wear my Predators sweater in Nashville, and my Maple Leafs sweater in Toronto.”
Ryan said the Leafs’ second year phenom centre, Auston Matthews, probably is the franchise’s greatest player since Sittler.
“I think so, yeah. Clark was really good Wendel Clark. But this guy The NHL has got a bunch of young guys that are great.
“Last year I went to a Leafs playoff game, when they were playing the Washington Capitals. That was a helluva series. But the biggest party of all time is gonna be when the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. That would be the biggest dang party.”