Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan Mistook Alex Smith for Aaron Rodgers
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: September 26, 2012
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith shouldn't have taken much offense when Jets head coach Rex Ryan called him "Aaron" and wished him luck in the MVP category at January's NFL Awards banquet, clearly mistaking him for Green Bay quarterback and eventual MVP-winner Aaron Rodgers. Sure, Smith had a head-turning 2011 season and reached new heights of media exposure after two thrilling NFC playoff games, but Ryan must not have known Rodgers' face particularly well either. Perhaps he missed the State Farm "discount double-check" phenomenon.
Ryan did realize his error after spotting Rodgers later that evening and apologized to the 2005 overall number one draft pick the following day. Undoubtedly no stranger to mistaken identity, as his identical twin Rob serves as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator, Ryan openly copped to the gaffe and describes it as a "total embarrassment". It sounds like Smith hardly batted an eye during their 30-second conversation, declining to correct the Jets coach, so it's probably best Ryan crossed Smith's path first. Had he mistakenly addressed Rodgers as "Alex", the feisty quarterback, who has famously decried the 49ers organization for not taking him with its 2005 number one pick (he fell to Green Bay at the 24th spot), may not have responded as politely.
Smith and the Niners travel to MetLife Stadium this Sunday to take on Ryan and his New York Jets. He can feel confident that Ryan will know precisely who he is when he takes the field, but Smith may be especially motivated to expose a Darrelle Revis-less secondary and secure a firm place in Ryan's memory.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @arahomik
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