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Jets Fans’ Uproar Should Not be Limited to John Idzik

Mario Mergola

Mario Mergola is a writer, avid sports fan, former ESPN Radio producer, husband, and father who specializes in finding the hidden gems of the less-explored option. Follow @MarioMergola

Why only John Idzik?

One of new stories circling – literally – what has become the circus of the New York Jets is the creation of a website urging owner Woody Johnson to fire general manager John Idzik. This website has now raised enough money not only to place a billboard near MetLife Stadium, but is now reportedly sending sky banners towards the Jets’ practice facility with the same message: “Fire Idzik.”

I get it. I understand the frustration. I am one of you. No longer considered a ‘fan’, as that indicates that we are somehow similar to the rest of the sports-watching world. To stick with this team as long as some of us have, we are better classified as ‘lunatics.’

There is, however, a clear disconnect among us. One that has split our thinking and, apparently, our allegiances. Perhaps this is because of our expectations – many people thought the Jets would actually be good this year. Perhaps this is because of emotions – it is much easier to hear Rex Ryan and John Idzik and naturally gravitate towards Rex. Perhaps, there is no valid explanation.

I still ask the question, “Why is the pressure only to fire John Idzik?”

Or better yet, “Does anyone deserve to stay?”

If I’m writing the sign that flies over the Jets facility, it is not something that can be contained in 140 characters on Twitter. It is a laundry list of names that should no longer be with the Jets organization by the start of the 2015 season. If it absolutely needs to be summarized, then it can actually be condensed to three words.

“Keep no one.”

Rex? Gone. Idzik? Obviously gone. Terry Bradway? How has he even survived in the organization this long?

The question still remains unanswered: Why is the public outcry solely focused on John Idzik?

I have my suppositions, but they remain unconfirmed. I believe that the reasons Jets’ fans are only throwing darts at John Idzik are the following:

Idzik appears to be completely unlikable. Listen to Rex Ryan talk. Now listen to John Idzik. People imagine themselves having a beer with Rex Ryan and laughing about how one player nearly decapitated another. People imagine falling asleep to a lecture by John Idzik about the intricacies of the salary cap.

Rex Ryan helped turn around a struggling franchise while John Idzik turned it back into the ground. This is largely perception in terms of which individual shoulders the bulk of the blame or responsibility, but the results are indisputable. In the two seasons prior to Ryan taking over the Jets, the team was 13-19. In the first two seasons with Ryan, the team was 20-12. The first two with Idzik? 9-16 and looking worse every week.

Rex Ryan has ‘no talent’ with which to work. This is largely an overblown excuse. Indeed, the Jets have no quarterback, but they have added talent in areas that were once a glaring weakness. While the receiving corps is still abysmal, Eric Decker and Percy Harvin are a major improvement compared to Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens – the two leading receivers (among only wide receivers) on the Jets’ 2012 roster. Moreover, to absolve Rex Ryan from every single player personnel decision since Idzik was hired is absurd. Ryan may not have the final say in any draftee or signing, but he certainly wasn’t locked in a room and handed a list of players he would now be coaching. He helped build this pathetic roster.

Loyalty. In the end, it must come down to this. As any Jets’ fan will attest, there is an indisputable ‘Little Brother Syndrome’ in New York. We feel it. Rex Ryan came to town and told us that we wouldn’t take a back seat to anyone. He called out Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. He won playoff games. He earned our loyalty.

He did not earn eternal immunity.

He has failed to do his job – coach players, regardless of talent level, to the best of their abilities. He had been a great ambassador for the Jets. But his time is up.

Maybe that’s why the recent focus has been solely on John Idzik. Maybe everyone knows that Rex Ryan is gone and understands the dead horse is not worth beating. Maybe his resume has earned him the right that, while he exits the door, we aren’t clambering against the glass still shouting.

Maybe we have accepted Rex Ryan’s fate, but still need more before we are satisfied.

If that’s the case, why are we stopping at John Idzik?

Send banners each day demanding that this organization that has clearly been set back years by terrible decision-making completely tear itself down and rebuild from scratch. When Idzik finally goes, we should not be content until an organizational change occurs.

Fire everyone.