New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is never shy about voicing his opinion so perhaps it should come as no surprise that the Ravens former defensive coordinator weighed in on a matter that has nothing to do with him or his current team.
In a conference call with reporters following the release of NFL’s regular-season schedule, Ryan took issue with the fact that the Ravens, the reigning Super Bowl champions, are opening the season on the road after they couldn’t work out a scheduling conflict with the Orioles for the night of Sept. 5.
"I understand the Orioles are playing a game at home. Well, who really cares?" Ryan said according to multiple reports including USA Today. "You've got 81 of them things at home and maybe you could've done the right thing and given one up and played 82 on the road and 80 at home. I really don't think people are going to care about that game. You have a chance to have the defending world champs open the season at home where they rightfully should. I think that's unfortunate."
When they start their defense of Super Bowl XLVII on Sept. 5 against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Ravens will become the first Super Bowl champs since 2003 to open the following season on the road.
Ryan, who once caught John Harbaugh’s first pitch at an Orioles’ game after Harbaugh was hired as Ravens head coach in 2008, acknowledged that he still has a fondness for Baltimore, but that wasn’t the reason that he was speaking out.
"It's my love of this game, of the National Football League," Ryan said, according to USA Today. "The defending champion, in my opinion, should always open at home. They've earned that right. To think that something couldn't have been worked out, that's disappointing.
“If baseball had a 16-game schedule, you might understand it. But when they have 162 games, I think you might just, out of common courtesy, say, 'You know what, maybe I'll play this one on the road or whatever.'”
To review, the NFL had earmarked the night of Thursday, Sept. 5 to play their annual kickoff game. However, the Ravens are scheduled to start a home stand that night against the Chicago White Sox after playing the previous evening in Cleveland. Because of the proximity of Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, the downtown area wouldn’t be able to host a baseball and football games at the same time.
Both teams discussed a baseball/football doubleheader but the idea was eventually scrapped due to logistical issues. The NFL also declined to move the game up to Sept. 4, citing the first night of Rosh Hashanah, leaving the Ravens with no other options but to consent to a road opener.
To significantly move the game-time or date for the series opener against Chicago, the Orioles would have needed the approval of the White Sox, Major League Baseball and the players association.
However, that didn’t stop Ryan from pointing his finger at the Orioles, and he wasn’t the only one to do so tonight.
Appearing as a guest on the NFL Network’s scheduling release special, former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol called the Orioles’ effort to accommodate the Ravens “a weak local performance,” according to Pro Football Talk.