On Saturday night, Clemson stunned the world by not Clemsoning against Georgia and shutting down Death Valley with a perception-changing 38-35 victory. In attendance was one Rex Ryan, Jets head coach, and father of Clemson walk-on player Seth Ryan.
Father visiting his son playing football? No big deal, right. Wrong! The debate about Ryan visiting Clemson to see his son play is raging on Twitter. Additionally, Ryan's getting killed by some members of the New York media instead of working at the Jets facility on cut-down day.
“I've never heard of that before,” an NFC executive told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “It's crazy."
Mehta wasn't the only one hearing how odd Rex's road trip was.
Just texted a couple guys on a HC missing cutdown day. AFC exec: "That's not normal." NFC exec: "Really weird. I've never heard of that."— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 3, 2013
It got to the point over the weekend that Rex had to defend himself during a press conference.
"Almost all of our moves were made, Friday evening, when I was here," Ryan said. "I talked to several of the players that we were going to release. I don't think it was official until - we actually never made our moves until later that evening and that's why the report came out when it did the next day. It came out Saturday. But certainly I spoke with most of our guys that were released just like I've done every year.
"I was very aware of our situation. This was an opportunity to go see my son play his first college game."
So fair or unfair to criticize Rex for attending the Clemson game?
The reaction on Twitter's been heated, to say the least. But I think there's some kind of middle ground here. For starters, Rex is going to see his son's first college football game. That's a big deal and a good thing for him to do as a father.
On the other hand, Rex's son didn't actually play.
"I think played is probably not very accurate," Rex said jokingly. "I saw him stand there. (Laughing.) But it was a great deal. Obviously, it's not like I'm going to be able to go to another game. It just so happened I could make that one. It was a night game. That's really what I did. I took advantage of it. It was great. I just played dad there for a day. That was a lot of fun."
Whether or not Seth played isn't actually too big of a deal. Rex probably couldn't have known for sure his son wouldn't get in the game.
Maybe a bigger concern are all the pictures taken with Rex by random fans.
Got to talk to ol Rex Ryan at the Clemson game! pic.twitter.com/OyHP2Npo05— Josh Sutton (@tiger3josh) September 1, 2013
Rex shouldn't be turning down the photo opps or anything, but having a picture taken at 12:35 p.m. ET on the day of cuts when Georgia-Clemson wasn't kicking off until 8 p.m. ET that night? That's a long day of tailgating.
Whatever you want to argue it's largely irrelevant. Ryan is on the hot seat in a lame duck year. If he's phoning it in by heading to Clemson to spite his GM, well, it's just further proof the dysfunction within the Jets.
But even if it's odd for someone to skip one of the most important front-office days of the year on the NFL calendar, it's hard to get too worked up about him being a good father.