At 7:30 a.m., billionaire Woody Johnson summoned Jets coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik for a meeting, where he fired their losing butts. Johnson said, "We will consider all options to improve the Jets. Getting the Jets back on track is my top priority, and today’s decisions are important steps towards achieving our goals."
Ryan joined the team in 2009, after the Jets fired Eric Mangini. During his introductory press conference, Ryan said he was shocked he didn't see President Obama backstage, but said that was okay, because they'd see him in a few years, suggesting the Jets would win the Super Bowl. He did manage to go to the AFC Championship game two years in a row—2009 and 2010—with quarterback Mark Sanchez—but then it was a slow decline into mediocrity and, in this season, awfulness. (The team has been 12-20 in the Idzik-era.)
There were also off-field distractions for Ryan—his 7,000-calorie diet and subsequent lap-band surgery, flipping the bird at taunters, telling a fan to STFU and, most infamously, a video of Ryan and his wife and her pretty feet (Post headline: Agony of De-Feet!).
During games, Ryan wasted timeouts; couldn't manage the clock; couldn't develop a quarterback; and relied too much on defense because the defense had to pick up the slack from the faltering offense and was tired by the time they needed to be good. And some fans were upset that the Jets won yesterday's game against the Dolphins—if they had lost, they would have had the 4th pick in the draft (by winning, they now have the 6th). From the NY Times:
A master motivator and a brilliant defensive tactician who engendered tremendous loyalty among his players and coaches, Ryan learned from some of the mistakes he made — his folly of creating unreachable expectations, his hubris in temporarily losing the pulse of his locker room — but not all of them.
Ryan’s gravest error was his shortcomings on offense. He went through two quarterbacks and three coordinators, and the Jets still never had a reliable, or productive, identity when moving the ball. In his six drafts, not once did they select or develop an offensive player who became anything better than a complementary piece.
And from ESPN:
Idzik was a curious hire by Johnson because he had only a limited background in scouting and personnel; his expertise was in cap management and contract negotiations.
His tenure was marked by controversial decisions, none bigger than trading star cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 2013 season. The Jets received a first-round pick in the swap, which they used to select star defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
Fans soon started their grassroots movement to "Fire Idzik," buying billboards around NJ with the message.
Here's Johnson's full statement:
After extensive thought and reflection about the current state of our football team, this morning I informed Rex Ryan and John Idzik that they will not be returning for the 2015 season. Both Rex and John made significant contributions to the team, and they have my appreciation and gratitude for their efforts and commitment. Over the years, Rex brought the Jets a bold confidence and a couple of great post-season runs, which all of us will remember.
I am beginning our search for new football leadership, effective immediately, with guidance and support from respected football experts, including Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf, two Super Bowl winners with decades of valuable experience.
We will consider all options to improve the Jets.
Getting the Jets back on track is my top priority, and today’s decisions are important steps towards achieving our goals.
This morning, when Ryan returned to his home and picked up his wife, he told reporters and photographers, "Thank you."