There won’t be any billboards or planes flying over MetLife Stadium, not this year for New York Jets fans who masterminded the last ouster of management and who have endured another offseason of hype only to see their team again fall flat.
Two years ago in the midst of a 4-12 season, a group of disheartened Jets fans began an online fundraiser movement called #FireJohnIdzik. The grassroots movement of mainly season ticket holders swelled to the point that they purchased multiple billboards demanding the termination of general manager John Idzik after two losing seasons at the helm. Other stunts included a plane flying over a Jets home game with a similar message.
The result was a tremendous amount of fan pressure on owner Woody Johnson that played a part in the axing of Idzik as well as head coach Rex Ryan.
Now following a 10-6 record last year under current general manager MikeMaccagnanas well as head coach Todd Bowles, the same group of fans who have now morphed under the title of Jets Fan Media have no plans to go the protest route again.
This even as their Jets rolled into Sunday’s game at 3-9.
“Everything was wrong about the Idzik hire. From the staffing firm that recommended him (Korn-Ferry) to forcing Rex Ryan to be his coach, Idzik had no chance. It was a total mismatch with competing agendas from the start. Rex wanted to win and Idzik wanted to rebuild. Rex wanted players and Idzik wanted cap space. Rex was coaching for his job and Idzik wanted to bring in his guy. I don't feel that way about this current regime. The roster is currently a mess but I don't feel like the front office is as big of a mess. Not even close,” said Jason Koeppel, who became the face of the movement.
“We felt that our campaign was necessary two years ago because as fans, we wanted to let Woody Johnson know that we were beyond unhappy with the direction of the franchise. We felt that the Jets had to completely start from scratch and to his credit, Woody agreed. He did exactly what we wanted him to do and sought the advice of two highly respected football minds in Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf to help usher in a new era of Jets football.”
Koeppel said that “at this point, it makes no sense to fire Maccagnan.” The Jets general manager has made some bold moves over two years including bringing back cornerback Darrelle Revis, trading for Ryan Fitzpatrick then bringing him back for this season, trading for Brandon Marshall and giving defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson a high-end contract. So far, all but Marshall have been a disappointment this year.
The Jets are now headed towards yet another season without the playoffs, continuing a trend that goes back to their last postseason appearance in 2010.
“You can make a much stronger case to fire Todd Bowles and I am still on the fence about that one. I really want Todd to be here a long time and have a ton of success. But he makes it extremely difficult to defend his job when we see him make bizarre coaching blunders like going for one up 12 late in the Buffalo game and punting late in the Pittsburgh game (just to name a couple) . The way the team has played in spots this season has been unacceptable. Fans feel like the team has mailed it in. Players should give 110 percent on every play. That should be the bare minimum that they do as professionals. But when they aren't, coaches need to hold players accountable for their lack of production. It seems that there has been very little accountability in that locker room,” Koeppel said.
“Bowles also doesn't do himself any favors with the things he says in the media. When he kept marching Fitz out there saying ‘He gives us the best chance to win’ it drove fans nuts. When he finally showed some fire after the Colts game - only to back off of those comments the next day - it was equally maddening. If he keeps his job, I will support him and hope that he learned a lot this year and fixes it in 2017. If he gets fired, I will understand why.
“With that said, there is no reason to start a campaign to get either of these men fired. We did that two years ago and I don't think it does the organization or the fan base any good to be known as the place that puts up billboards to fire people the second things start to go wrong. My only hope is that Woody Johnson fixes the power structure of the team and allows whatever GM we have going forward to make the football decisions.”