FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Who slammed J.I.?
It's the latest mystery surrounding the New York Jets.
A fan with money to burn spent almost $1,000 to fly a "Fire John Idzik" banner Wednesday over the team's complex, orchestrating the aerial protest so it occurred during the portion of practice open to the media. Round and round the plane went, flying around the practice field the way opposing wide receivers have been running circles around the Jets' cornerbacks. It went on for 20 minutes, with Idzik on the field, pretending not to notice the shameless ploy.
The owner of the advertising company that supplied the banner wouldn't give up the name of his customer, except to say it was "a disgruntled fan." There are a lot of disgruntled fans when you're 1-8, but who would go to the extent of hiring a plane? If you have a problem with Idzik, call a radio show to vent or, better yet, don't go to the games. It's hard to defend his record, but the banner and the soon-to-be-unveiled billboards near MetLife Stadium serve only to cast the entire fan base in an unflattering light.
In other words, get a life. We're talking about the general manager of a football team, not an elected government official.
Like the Jets' season, the anti-Idzik sentiment has reached thin air. It's quite a phenomenon, really. Yes, he has made a number of questionable personnel decisions, but Rex Ryan is culpable, too. No one should escape blame when you're 1-8, but Ryan is the teflon coach. Or maybe the fans assume he'll be fired, so they're focusing their hate on the general manager. In the end, the won-lost record will determine Idzik's fate, not banners and billboards.
But, again, back to the original question: Who slammed J.I.? A potential list of suspects (wink, wink):
Dimitri Patterson. Of all the players cut by Idzik, he's the only one who went kicking and screaming, insisiting he wasn't AWOL for a preseason game. Revenge is best served cold at 1,000 feet.
Mark Sanchez. The new Philadelphia Eagles' starter has regained his swagger, so maybe ... Remember, he reportedly yelled at Idzik after wrecking his shoulder in that preseason game two summers ago, back when the GM's competition mantra was clouding Ryan's decision making -- the reason he put his presumptive starter behind a backup offensive line in the fourth quarter of a meaningless game.
Mike Tannenbaum. Maybe he thinks he can get his old job back.
A-Rod: Why not? He gets blamed for everything.
Muhammad Wilkerson. The team has $12.9 million in cap space, but Wilkerson still doesn't have his contract extension. He wasn't at practice Wednesday. The team called it an illness. Air sickness?
Mike Francesa of WFAN. Did you hear his rant after Idzik's infamous midseason news conference?
A-Rod's cousin Yuri. He could afford the banner, as he apparently came into a large sum of hush money.
A Herve Villechaize wannabe. Look, boss, da plane, da plane!