The popular head coach brought the Jets out of relative obscurity in the world's biggest market back in 2009. He led New York to the AFC title game twice in his first two seasons and even scored a book deal and contract extension. But he never reached the playoffs again.
The defensive-minded coach's time was marred by inconsistent quarterback play, a knock on his resume that he was never able to overcome despite going through several different coordinators. The team drafted two quarterbacks in the first or second round -- Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith -- neither of whom could buoy an offense strong enough to complement Ryan's dominant defenses. Ryan leaves the Jets with a 46-50 record.
"We're in the win business and we're not winning, so I thought this was something I had to do. I didn't get into football to do this, it's a necessary step for me to do this. I had to do it and I thought it was in the best interest of the team to do it," Jets owner Woody Johnson told reporters Monday.
"It became pretty apparent during the season as we progressed that the team was not getting better. And, as Parcells said, you are what your record says you are. It was obvious that we had to make a change -- it was obvious to me, anyway."
"It was a long run. I think (Ryan) had a tremendous impact. Because I think he made the team relevant in some respects," Johnson added. "He did some very good coaching and I knew that every Friday when I talked to him I felt very confident."
Ryan's rapid rise in New York was able to mask some talent deficiencies that were always boiling underneath the surface, deficiencies that were made worse under Idzik's brief tenure. Despite a wealth of cap space and surplus of draft picks, the general manager could not supply a sturdy option under center, or a reliable cornerback to operate within Ryan's defense.
This is why Johnson's approach to hiring the next general manager will change. After using an executive search firm in 2012, a move that turned off multiple candidates, Johnson opted for the combination of Ron Wolf and Charley Casserly. The pair will act as consultants to hire the next general manager and, eventually, head coach.
As NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport noted on Sunday, Johnson is searching for a candidate with more of a personnel background.
It will be about time. Ryan did not have the backing of that type of general manager during his six-year tenure in New York. Instead, he had a general manager whose rapid fall from grace seemed to be cemented during a rambling press conference earlier this season. On Monday's NFL AM, Rapoport mentioned the bevy of agents and executives sharing in a similar opinion during the bizarre moment: It was "embarrassing," and the general manager was in over his head.
As Rapoport noted, Ryan will search for another head coaching opportunity. Potential openings in Chicago, Oakland and Atlanta would certainly be appealing. If not, Ryan will go into television -- he retained a media agent in the event that he would move in front of the camera.