The Ryan brothers remember only highlights from their infamous fight at Southwestern Oklahoma State. It started in a dormitory and spilled outside, where two friends broke their noses while attempting to restore peace.
By brawl’s end, Rex Ryan’s shirt had been torn off. His twin, Rob, had a broken nose and ankle. Yet, almost instantly, all was forgiven. Soon afterward, the Ryans were off to the Super Bowl to be with their father, Buddy, the defensive coordinator for the 1985 Chicago Bears.
There, the Ryans partied in New Orleans, walking almost everywhere to save on cab fare. Rob complained of foot pain — oh, shut up, his brothers told him — and later discovered the bottom of his cast had disappeared.
“They tried to tell our stepmother that Rob fell down a flight of stairs,” said Jim Ryan, their older brother, a lawyer in St. Louis. “My dad was sitting there with a look on his face, like, yeah, right.”
The Ryan rivalry will continue Sunday, when Rex Ryan’s Jets travel to Cleveland, where Rob Ryan is the Browns’ defensive coordinator. This being the Ryan brothers, the level of trash talking has only increased in recent weeks.
Rob Ryan, speaking from the Browns’ facility near Cleveland, pointed to his early victories as a college assistant (Tennessee State over Morehead State) and noted that he owned more Super Bowl rings than Rex (two to one). Rex Ryan said in a telephone interview that he triumphed the last three times they stood on opposing sidelines and that he had never lost to Rob in the N.F.L.
The trash talking even extended to whiffle ball, a Ryan family pastime.