Many are finding it difficult to believe, but from within a previously forced partnership, a genuine Jets partnership has blossomed.
It began as an impossible situation; the shiny new regime forcefully stuck with the old rusty failure. Jets owner and CEO Woody Johnson had just one stipulation for whomever he was going to hire to shape the future of his franchise: Rex Ryan would be part of the package. A stipulation that John Idzik Jr agreed with — after all he’d taken over a circus. He knew this season was going to be a rocky road. He knew that ESPN pre-season power ranking – 32 out of 32 – was justified based on the talent he had inherited from the previous command. He knew that he’d be able to fire Ryan after another miserable season.
But then something happened, something unexpected, the doomed coach managed to coax eight wins out of the talentless Jets led by a rookie quarterback, including upset victories over two playoff teams and an arch rival. It was during this season that Idzik saw Ryan in a different light– as a man who shared a similar background, had a similar upbringing, and most importantly, a man who had the skills to achieve Idzik’s vision: a trip to the White House to lift the silver trophy.
During their 38-minute season wrap-up press conference the same two who had been forced together one year ago, sat side-by-side, patting each other on the back, laughing at each other’s jokes, and extending compliment after compliment about each other. All the while, the duo managed to infuriate everyone by essentially saying nothing about anything; each dodged every question with the skill of a veteran politician. But as the pair spoke of their growing relationship, of being joined at the hip, it became clear that maybe, just maybe, Idzik and Ryan were saying more than we had ever thought possible. Maybe in their refusal to comment on anything but the “nucleus,” was an even greater truth about what makes the Jets so powerful and its players and fans so passionate — teamwork and above all else, faith.
For Idzik, the hope is there, if Ryan can squeeze eight wins out of the current below average talent on the Jets roster, what will he be able to achieve with a roster full of talented players.
Nobody quite believes it yet, and nor will they until it’s proven, but perhaps after sitting clinging onto each other throughout the rollercoaster ride they’ve just been on, these two men aren’t ready to let go of each other just yet.