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Rex Ryan Explains Why Lions’ Loss Will Haunt Dan Campbell and His Team ‘Forever’


Few former coaches know the pain of just missing out on a trip to the Super Bowl than former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan. That made him the perfect person to contextualize the Detroit Lions’ brutal NFC championship game loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.

Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up on Monday morning, Ryan called Detroit’s defeat “the most devastating loss of all time” and broke down how hard it is to process losing a game of that magnitude in such gut-wrenching fashion.

“I’ve lost three championship games,” Ryan said. “You know what you get when you lose a championship game? Not a dang thing. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This will haunt you for the rest of your life.”

Ryan went on to say that he remembers “everything” about those losses, including his two as the head coach of the Jets in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Detroit and coach Dan Campbell will certainly have plenty of moments that will stick with him, including some controversial decisions to go for it on fourth down in the second half. And while Campbell said postgame it will be “twice as hard” to get back to this moment, Ryan had some thoughtful words on how he expects the Lions to respond.

“You’re going to react two different ways: You’re going to let it just kill you, or you’re going to sit back and say ‘I’ll be damned if that happens again.’”

Fans appreciated Ryan’s perspective after a truly gutting loss for Detroit. Of course, some felt the need to point out that the Falcons’ 28–3 blown Super Bowl lead might’ve been worse.

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