Jets general manager John Idzik will be in the stands for Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, and he will be rooting heavily for the Seahawks in their matchup with the Broncos.
He only hopes he can one day cheer on his own team in the NFL's championship game.
Idzik has deep ties with the Seahawks, having spent the previous six years as their director of football administration before becoming the Jets' general manager last January.
"I'm supposed to remain impartial, but I have a lot of feelings for those folks in Seattle, and I hope they do extremely well," Idzik said in a telephone interview. "It was just a real positive experience for me, and I was fortunate to be there."
Idzik saw firsthand how the Seahawks built a Super Bowl-contending team, as general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll came up with a terrific blueprint. With a defense built upon speed, both in the pass rush and the pass defense, the missing piece was provided in the 2012 draft when the Seahawks selected quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round. Idzik now hopes the Jets are at the beginning of a similar roster reconstruction that can lead them to a Super Bowl one day soon.
The lessons he learned from Schneider already have paid off, as the Jets enjoyed a productive draft with players such as defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, cornerback Dee Milliner and quarterback Geno Smith.
"I've been fortunate to be around some fine football people, and that applies to John Schneider," Idzik said. "I knew him back when we were pro scouts in the same division [NFC Central when Idzik was with Tampa and Schneider with Green Bay]. We were rivals back then. Fortunately, we were able to work together. One thing about John is he really is the same person now as a Super Bowl GM as he was when I knew him back when we were both pro scouts 20 some years ago, and that's refreshing.
"He's really in concert with Pete. [Carroll] is another energetic, optimistic guy and we were able to find what we wanted in Seattle, and John was able to articulate that to his staff."
Carroll and Schneider have been particularly effective in drafting players in the middle rounds, not just on the first day of the draft. Idzik hopes the Jets can enjoy similar success.
"We emphasize everything as far as the values in everything we do," Idzik said. "It's not only applicable to the first day of the draft, but to the second and third day, to college free agents, trades. Any player acquisition runs through the same algorithm. It's the same emphasis that you're using with anyone. When you do that, your staff feels that."
It took the Seahawks four years of the Schneider-Carroll partnership to get this far, but Idzik isn't putting any timetable on the Jets. If anything, he'd like things to happen more quickly.
"I don't know if it's a four-year cycle," he said. "You're getting guys that mature as a roster, you start to hit your stride. It's what division you play in, the state of your division, who gets hot at the right time, can you stay healthy at key positions and, of course, you get a few key players that you really hit on. I think that's more of a factor.
"We don't want to wait four years."