The writing has been on the wall for a long time, and now it's reality: the Jets have fired Rex Ryan. Second-year general manager John Idzik was also let go.
The pair was informed of their fate early Monday morning, the team announced.
The popular head coach brought the Jets out of relative obscurity in the world's biggest market back in 2009. He led New York to the AFC title game twice in his first two seasons and even scored a book deal and contract extension. But he never reached the playoffs again.
The defensive-minded coach's time was marred by inconsistent quarterback play, a knock on his resume that he was never able to overcome despite going through several different coordinators. The team drafted two quarterbacks in the first or second round -- Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith -- neither of whom could buoy an offense strong enough to complement Ryan's dominant defenses. Ryan leaves the Jets with a 46-50 record.
Jets owner Woody Johnson issued a statement following the news.
"Both Rex and John made significant contributions to the team, and they have my appreciation and gratitude for their efforts and commitment. Over the years, Rex brought the Jets a bold confidence and a couple of great post-season runs, which all of us will remember. I am beginning our search for new football leadership, effective immediately, with guidance and support from respected football experts, including Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf, two Super Bowl winners with decades of valuable experience."
As NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport noted on Sunday, Johnson is searching for a candidate with more of a personnel background. As Rapoport also noted, Ryan will search for another head coaching opportunity. Potential openings in Chicago, Oakland and Atlanta would certainly be appealing. If not, Ryan will go into television -- he retained a media agent in the event that he would move in front of the camera.