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What do Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan think of each other?

09.15.10 at 7:57 pm ET

Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan aren’€™t BFF’€™s, but the two do have some things in common, including the fact that they were both raised in a culture of football by fathers who were coaches. While don’€™t spend a lot of time together in the offseason, they both said Wednesday there’€™s a mutual respect for what the other has done.

‘€œIt’€™s a great football family ‘€” a very successful one,’€ Belichick said of the Ryan family.

Belichick’€™s first exposure to the Ryans came in the 1980s ‘€” the glory days of the NFC East ‘€” when Belichick was the defensive coordinator for the Giants, and he spent his days scheming to beat Rex’€™s father Buddy, who was head coach of the Eagles from 1986 until 1990. The two went head-to-head in the 1990s when he coached against Buddy when Buddy was with the Cardinals and Belichick was with the Browns.

Now, Belichick is on his second generation: as the Patriots coach, he coached against Rex when he was a defensive coordinator with the Ravens, as well as a pair of games last year in Rex’€™s inaugural season as head coach of the Jets. In addition, he had Rex’€™s brother Rob on his staff as New England’€™s linebackers coach from 2000 until 2003.

Belichick and Ryan clearly have different attitudes on how to run a football team, but that doesn’€™t mean they can’€™t appreciate what the other has accomplished.

‘€œEverybody has got a different style, so I don’€™t think there is anything wrong with that,’€ Belichick said yesterday when asked about Ryan’€™s occasionally blustery approach. ‘€œI have a lot of respect for Rex and what he’€™s done. He’€™s always been successful as a coach wherever he’€™s been. Again I know Rob and his father, Buddy. Of course, Buddy and I go back to when we were head coaches in the league together; I was at Cleveland and he was at Arizona. We practiced down there against the Cardinals and Philadelphia and all that.

‘€œThey kind of all have their own style, which is similar. I respect that,’€ he added. ‘€œI haven’€™t spent that much time with Rex, but they’€™re twin brothers so there are a lot of similarities between those two guys. We get along fine.’€

As for Rex, he received an introductory to Belichick through his brother Rob, who moved on to the Raiders, and is currently defensive coordinator for the Browns.

‘€œHe thought the world of Bill [Belichick],’€ Rex said Wednesday of his brother Rob, who won two Super Bowls as an assistant with the Patriots. ‘€œWhat I understand is, my brother said, ‘€˜You think you’€™re pretty good when you’€™re a move or two ahead of somebody,’€™ but he always said this: Belichick was four or five moves ahead of that.

‘€œI have always said that I think he’€™s the best coach in the league, but again I’€™m here to beat him. It’€™s not about my skills against his skills; we’€™d lose that. It’€™s about his team and my team, and I have confidence in my team.’€

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