Roget himself couldn't find the words for how excited I am about this Jets season. With Rex Ryan likely needing a miracle to save his job, all the built-up animus between the press and the front office over the past few years is bound to come to a boil. We already saw the first simmerings Saturday night, when Rex Ryan literally turned his back on the Daily News' Manish Mehta during a press conference.
At issue was Mark Sanchez entering the fourth quarter of a preseason game behind a second-string offensive line, and promptly injuring his shoulder. Sanchez is day-to-day, but that provided all the blood the circling press corps needed. Besides the feisty presser, Mehta blasted Ryan's professionalism and called for a preseason coaching change.
Enter New Jersey Governor Chris Christie filling in for Boomer Esiason on the radio this morning (because sure, why not).
“The guy’s a complete idiot. Self-consumed, underpaid, reporter. The only reason he’s empowered is because we’re spending all this time talking about Manish Mehta. Who, by the way, I couldn’t pick out of a lineup and no Jets fan gives a damn about Manish Mehta...We shouldn’t be giving this dope, you know, the amount of airtime we’ve given him already.”
Christie's taken some shit from Mehta's fellow reporters. (Mehta has taken the high road, saying only "I have a great deal of respect for Governor Christie.") But odder than a sitting governor playing talk-radio shit-stirrer is the Jets press all of a sudden jumping to Mark Sanchez's defense. You'd have thought this was Tom Brady going down, and not the underwhelming quarterback those same reporters have long been pushing to be benched or run out of town. It's the quintessential Jets story. Reporters choosing antagonism over consistency, Rex Ryan's good buddy the governor prolonging the story, and fans—Jets or otherwise—reveling in the negativity.
A soft-spoken Ryan refused to take the bait at his press conference this afternoon, so this mini-controversy will recede into the mists of memory as soon as the next one flares. It's going to be a magical season.