METAIRIE, La. -- The best part about the rivalry between twin brothers Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan? They’ve never been shy about describing how much it means to them -- sometimes in very entertaining fashion.
It’s a shame that Rob doesn’t meet with the media until Fridays every week. Because the two ultra-competitive brothers don't hesitate to take playful jabs at one another.
Rex once donned a long blond wig and wore a pillow under his shirt to imitate his brother before a matchup. And Rob wore a weight-room belt to mimic his brother’s lap band surgery.
The trash talking doesn’t stop after the matchups either. After Rex’s Jets beat Rob’s Dallas Cowboys two years ago, Rob admitted to the media that he heard about it afterward.
"He left some really unflattering messages, but it’s to be expected,” Rob said, describing the messages as rated “R or worse,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “There is no compassion there at all.”
But Rob promised at the time, “It’s coming back to him one of these days.”
With the Saints on a roll this year -- and the defense especially playing so well all season long -- Sunday’s matchup might offer Rob his best chance yet to finally beat Rex in a NFL game.
Rex is 4-0 in these head-to-head matchups over the past decade -- twice when Rex was the Jets’ head coach and Rob was defensive coordinator of the Cowboys and Cleveland Browns; and twice when Rex was defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens and Rob was defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders.
Rob was 2-0 when they faced each other as college assistant coaches in the 1990s, though.
Saints players said Monday that Rob hasn’t mentioned his brother yet this week. But safety Kenny Vaccaro said it’s no secret how much Rob’s family means to him (Rex and their father Buddy, a former NFL coaching great).
And of course, players said they know how passionate Rob is.
“You know Rob wants to beat his brother. That’s just the competitor in Rob. And I don’t think he just wants to beat him, he wants to destroy his brother,” Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton said. “So I think he’ll be geeked up for this week. And I think Rex feels the same way. Both those guys have huge personalities, and it will be interesting to see his twin brother on the other sideline.
“I think Rob’s gonna go about business as he normally does and get us well prepared for the game. But I think he’ll be a little juiced to get this win against his brother, get some bragging rights.”
Added Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette: “He won’t want it to be a distraction ... but I know he’s gonna bring his A game every day.”