Sports Beat “Idzik avoids risk with Rex”
By Lloyd Carroll
All of the attention during the 2013 Jets season was on whether head coach Rex Ryan would retain his job in 2014. The general thinking was that Ryan was on thin ice because the man who hired him to coach Gang Green, Mike Tannebaum, got fired at the end of the 2012 campaign. As is the case with corporate America, an NFL general manager likes to bring in new personnel at the expense of the old.
John Idzik, the man who replaced Mike Tannenbaum, rarely spoke with the media outside of his introductory press conference last winter. His poker-faced exterior further fueled speculation that Rex would be a goner once the Jets were eliminated from the NFL playoffs. There were widespread media reports that Rex even told his players that he thought he would be fired at the end of the season before the penultimate game of the season against the Oakland Raiders. The Jets went onto beat both the Raiders and the Dolphins in Miami the following week to finish with an 8-8 record. That may be the definition of mediocrity but given the low expectations for the Jets coming into the season because of their paucity of talent it was downright miraculous.
Idzik wisely ditched conventional wisdom by allowing Ryan to return to the Jets sidelines in 2014 and will probably give him a one-year extension on top of that.
He knew very well that Jets owner Woody Johnson is enamored of Rex, and the players, fans, and media like his fun-loving, larger than life personality. If Idzik were to have fired Rex he would have found slim pickings for his replacement. If the Jets do well next year Idzik looks like a genius and if they don’t do well he can then fire Ryan and not be held accountable.
The Esquire Network’s “Friday Night Tykes,” which looks at an organized peewee football in Texas, is generating a lot of controversy. Even though the players are 8 and 9 years old the coaches are caught on tape screaming and cursing at them as if they were competing for jobs in an NFL training camp. The NFL is reportedly aghast at the show because of how the sport is portrayed with the worst offense being the number of jarring helmet-to-helmet hits.
American Express and the NBA have teamed up to produce a series of videos that let fans learn a little about their favorite players that they wouldn’t have known otherwise such as the Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo’s love of fashion particularly Starter satin jackets, and the Brooklyn Nets’ Paul Pierce (Rondo’s former teammate) who explains why he is a bowling devotee. You can see the videos at www.nba.com/offthecourt/