The Lofton Files: The Ryan Boys on Sunday Night


Rex and Rob

When the Jets play the Cowboys this Sunday night (8 ET on WW1), the two Ryan brothers will be coaching on opposite sidelines: Rex, head coach for New York, and Rob, defensive coordinator for Dallas.

Football coaches bunker down in their offices late at night and watch plenty of film.  In addition, we eat at our desk, inject caffeine and make phone calls to friends and family.  But not much noise comes out of those offices because you don’t want to disturb your office mates.

Plus, the office walls tend to be a little thin.  When I was with the Oakland Raiders I shared a wall with Rob Ryan, a guy who’s usually as quiet as a church mouse. The silence was deafening, so I would have my radio on to soften the airwaves.  But once a week like clock work the volume would go up.  Way up.  It was the weekly Rex-Rob brag fest. Quite the surprise for these mild-mannered twins, huh? Rex was then the defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens and when he called, it sounded like some kind of WWE smack down.  What new blitzes they had come up with and how much “A” they were going to kick that week, how “my defense is better than your defense”, and how “my Dad could beat up your Dad.” Well, not that. They are twins after all. The best part of listening to all that bull is I could feel the smile on Rob’s face though the wall.

After the phone call he’d usually get up and prance the hallways to inform use he’d just talked to his brother. Really? We hadn’t heard! I’m sure the phone will ring this week and the Battle Royale will ensue.  I just wish I could be there to feel the love.

Panthers and $$

I like numbers.  All football guys like numbers.  Right now I’m worried about the return on some of my investments. My passbook savings account is earning .1% interest!  The Carolina Panthers recently made a few big investments of their own and – even on the back of a 2-14 season – are spending their money in-house: DE Charles Johnson (6 years, $72 million), RB DeAngelo Williams (5 years, $43 million), and LBs Jon Beason (5 years, $51 million), James Anderson (5 years, $22 million) and Thomas Davis (5 years, $12 million).  Add in C Ryan Kalil (6 years, $49 million) and top pick Cam Newton (4 years, $22 million), and while it’s not all guaranteed money, you’ve got $271 million committed to seven guys – and a lot of these players, the core of last year’s 2-14 team, are unknowns outside of the Carolina area.

The new CBA’s salary cap has a ceiling and a floor requiring each team to spend at least X dollars per season.  When I was an engineering student years ago I learned X was the unknown.  However you add it up, here’s hoping the Panthers’ return on their investment is better than my .1%.


Hall of Famer James Lofton is Westwood One’s Sunday Night Football analyst. He coached wide receivers for the Chargers from 2002-2007 and acted in the same role for the Raiders in 2008.


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