By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Rex Ryan never made the Super Bowl as a head coach, meaning the NFL media never got to have his endlessly boisterous bloviating grace their podiums at the Super Bowl's annual media circus. But with Rex's opportunities to make the Big Game as a head coach likely over, the media will get the next-best thing: at Super Bowl LI in Houston, Rex Ryan is the media.
The former Bills head coach, who was relieved of his duties after a Week 16 loss, will reportedly be a part of ESPN's panel for the final NFL Sunday Countdown of the season, which will air from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST on Super Bowl Sunday. According to SportsBusiness Daily, three other networks approached Rex in addition to ESPN: CBS, Fox, and the NFL Network. Clearly, the Beasts of Bristol made the best offer.
The apparent bidding war for Rex's studio services means that his presence on Super Bowl Sunday was inevitable. ESPN senior coordinating producer Seth Markman expressed the network's excitement over the hire.
"Rex is a great personality and has a unique perspective," said Markman. "He knows the Patriots really well. He's raring to go."
It's unclear whether Rex will make any appearances with ESPN during the week before Sunday, but Game Day is sure to bring plenty of quotable takes on the Patriots from Sexy Rexy. There's literally no other reason to hire him just in time for this particular game other than to get him to say wacky things about Tom Brady and Bill Belichick that may draw some last-minute vitriol from the Patriots faithful. Or perhaps just pity.
And, as annoying as it is for Patriots fans to accept ... Rex is one of the very few coaches who can say he "knows how to beat the Patriots" in the playoffs. The Patriots' Divisional Round loss to the Jets was just one game from six years ago, sure, but it was also one of the most infamously shocking, disappointing defeats in the history of the Patriots franchise. The ESPN crew will be sure to tap into that well at some point in their Super Bowl coverage.
This Sunday in Houston will be Rex's first big test as a media pundit, which seems like the logical next step for him if he's not going to keep coaching with a new team in a reduced role. Take this as a warning to be ready for some absolute scorchers on Twitter before the game.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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