He slammed his headset to the ground when the Steelers made their critical final first down and clearly uttered an expletive as he realized his dream of a Jets Super Bowl was over.
Here was the real man, the fierce competitor, the tireless worker who had spent every ounce of energy, fought off every distraction, to get his team to the biggest stage of all.
Gone was the jolly fat man, the minister for fun as Sports Illustrated referred to him.
Ryan is like his father, Buddy, who was also a fierce competitor, known to even assaut players, who lacked his son's easy smile and easy ways.
But Rex had every reason to be shattered. His team did not show up for the first half then played at such an incredible level in the second that they almost overturned an historic deficit.
Why dd the team start so slowly?
Perhaps Ryan's first mistake was to hand the ball to the Steelers on the first series when he elected to kick rather than receive.
Would the game have ended differently if the jets had got in that familiar rhythm like they did on the first series of the second half?
We will never know but it was the wrong call to hand the ball to Big Ben and his merry men.
Sure, there is always next year and this is a young and improving team.
But unlike last year when making the playoff final game aganst Indianapolis was an incredible achievement in itself, this year Ryan knows the Super Bowl was there fot the taking.
That why he slammed his headset into the ground and swore.
Liek his Da he's a sore loser, all the best coaches are.
But there is always next year.