The Rex Ryan Era is officially over for the New York Jets.
The head coach who single-handedly put the Jets franchise back on the football map with unabashed bravado and blitz-happy defenses, was fired on Monday morning -- the day after the Jets won their season finale in Miami.
Owner Woody Johnson also fired general manager John Idzik, who was in his second year with the team.
"After extensive thought and reflection about the current state of our football team, this morning I informed Rex Ryan and John Idzik that they will not be returning for the 2015 season," Johnson said in a statement. "Both Rex and John made significant contributions to the team, and they have my appreciation and gratitude for their efforts and commitment."
The moves came as no surprise -- including to Ryan -- considering the state of the 4-12 team.
"I mean, I think we all expect what's going to happen is going to happen," Ryan said after Sunday's game, when reminded that a year earlier, Johnson had announced in the visitors' locker room in Miami that Ryan would be returning for 2014. "We'll find out in due time. Whenever that is, I think, we generally know when these thing happen."
And exactly one year to the day of the Jets' 20-7 win over the Dolphins on Dec. 29, 2013, Ryan was shown the door.
Meanwhile, Idzik unwittingly sealed his fate in the offseason when he failed to sign a starting-caliber cornerback for his defensive-minded coach and sat on a surplus of cash while the holes in his roster were being exposed each week.
Two years is a short time for any GM to implement his long-term plan, but Idzik essentially became radioactive after his midseason review, in which he rambled on during a 19-minute monologue without offering any specifics about the direction of the team and his efforts to improve the roster.
Although no formal announcement was made until Monday morning, the writing was on the wall for weeks.
Johnson recently lined up former Redskins general manager Charley Casserly to assist him in the event of front-offices firings and Casserly, in turn, reached out to former Packers GM Ron Wolf to assist him with the potential candidate searches.
Ryan began clearing things from his office before Saturday's team flight to South Florida, sources said. And despite the outcome of the game -- and career days from quarterback Geno Smith and wide receiver Eric Decker -- Johnson went through with his plan after the Jets missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
Ryan's head-coaching career (46-50) ran the gamut in six years. He led the Jets on an improbable AFC Championship Game run with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez in 2009, and followed that up with a second straight appearance in the conference title game.
But as meteoric a rise as Ryan had in his first two seasons, the beginning of the end was anything but quick. Instead, it was a slow deterioration of on-field success and, in time, a transformation of Ryan's public persona. This past season -- one that included an eight-game losing streak, poor quarterback play and glaring holes at cornerback -- was the tipping point for Johnson, the ultimate Ryan loyalist.
From 2011-13, the Jets finished 8-8, 6-10 and 8-8. But few predicted such a dramatic drop-off in 2014, considering the team's salary cap space of more than $21 million and 12 draft picks at Idzik's disposal. But by October, it was clear the playoffs would be out of reach and Ryan's job was on the line again.
When he took the job in 2009, Ryan's tell-it-like-it-is bluster was viewed as a breath of fresh air in the tight-lipped, Type-A world of NFL coaches. He quickly became a fan favorite for taking aim at the Patriots and rival head coach Bill Belichick just minutes into the job when he said, "I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick's rings."
Ryan endeared himself to the public as he toed the line between self-deprecation and unapologetic overconfidence, and he was a favorite among media for unfiltered dialogue and his well-timed one-liners.
But in the final seasons of his tenure, the Jets became the punchline.
Johnson's decision to retain Ryan after firing former general manager Mike Tannenbaum at the end of the 2012 season helped foster an untenable situation between Ryan, a head coach fighting for his head-coaching future, and Idzik, an inexperienced general manager focused on "sustainable success" for the long term.
Some thought Ryan's surprising return after their 8-8 finish in 2013 meant the unlikely union between he and Idzik might last. At the time, the organization was hopeful about the future and confident it had the right pieces in place to build a winning team. But a year later, Ryan has been handed a pink slip and Johnson is on the lookout for his next leader.