Amid the New York Jets' disastrous 1-8 start to the season, some enterprising fans are calling for the dismissal of Jets general manager John Idzik.
On Tuesday, the website FireJohnIdzik.com revealed that “through the donations of Jets fans nationwide," which totaled over $10,000, they will be placing three billboards in the area surrounding MetLife Stadium conveying their straightforward message.
Then, on Wednesday, a plane with a "Fire John Idzik!" banner flew around the Jets' practice facility:
Hey @DarrylSlater Here's the Fire John Idzik banner that is flying over #NYJ practice pic.twitter.com/6RpO9mEkky
— Andrew Mills (@Andy_Mills_SL) November 5, 2014
Amazingly, the plane was not affiliated with FireJohnIdzik.com, although the website gave the plane their stamp of approval:
That is not our plane but we endorse it. — FireJohnIdzik.com (@FireJohnIdzik) November 5, 2014
Jets fans aren’t the only ones getting in on the billboard action this year. Over the summer, after LeBron James spurned the Miami Heat and rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency, Dan Le Batard of ESPN Radio in Miami paid for a snarky billboard in James' hometown of Akron, Ohio:
Spotted in Akron RT @JeremyinAkron: @KingJames Stay classy Dan Lebatard pic.twitter.com/S85XCoe39a
— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) August 6, 2014
Unsurprisingly, ESPN didn’t find the humor in Le Batard’s stunt and suspended him for two days.
Two summers ago, Kansas City Royals fans took out an ad in the Kansas City Star that urged owner David Glass to sell the team. Once again, fan donations paid for the $5,100 ad, which was written in the form of an open letter to Glass. Despite the devastating ending to the Royals' 2014 season, the team's first World Series appearance in 29 years likely will cool any fan talk of Glass needing to go.
[sidebar title="Tough Start For New York Jets" width="630" align="right"] Four losses ago, Jason Keidel of WFAN already believed that Jets head coach Rex Ryan was a goner. [/sidebar]
Public sports ads aren't always placed with negative intent. In recent years, many athletes, upon leaving a team or city, have taken it upon themselves to place an ad in a local newspaper thanking fans for their support. A few examples: Barry Zito in The San Francisco Chronicle at the end of his stint with the San Francisco Giants; Teddy Bridgewater in The Louisville Cardinal student newspaper after leaving Louisville for the NFL; and David Price in the Tampa Bay Times after being traded away from the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this year.
Athlete ads in newspapers aren't a uniquely American phenomenon, either. Former Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana placed a full-page ad thanking fans in the Daily Echo after his transfer to Liverpool.
The widespread, positive reaction to these player ads shows that even in the age of social media, with unprecedented levels of dialogue between fans and athletes, doing things the old-fashioned way can help deliver a message.