If this is the end for Rex Ryan, if the best thing to happen to the Jets in a decade gets the pink slip in six days, he should take solace in knowing that this was his finest hour.
History will view 2013 as just another lost season for the star-crossed franchise. The numbers will reveal subpar statistical rankings.

Ryan, of course, will know the truth: He’s never done a better coaching job in his life.

Somehow, the embattled coach — “our leader,” as GM John Idzik said last month — has managed seven wins with a team packed with inexperience and middling talent. Somehow, a team that entered the season with 11 new starters, three new coordinators and nine new assistants remained in the playoff conversation for three months before reality intervened to end what would have been a football fairy tale.

“I’m proud of this Jets team,” Ryan said Monday. “It’s a total commitment thing from top to bottom. We don’t have the record that we wanted... but we have the effort, we have the desire and the determination.”