TODAY'S PAPER
55° Good Morning
55° Good Morning
SportsFootballJets

'Fire John Idzik' banner doesn't fly with Jets players, Rex Ryan

Jets general manager John Idzik surveys the field

Jets general manager John Idzik surveys the field during the team's first day of rookie minicamp in Florham Park, N.J. (May 10, 2013) Credit: James Escher

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Just minutes into the media portion of practice Wednesday, a small plane began circling above the Jets facility with a message for owner Woody Johnson.

Billowing behind the aircraft was a banner that read "Fire John Idzik" in red, capital letters.

The plane flew above practice for 20 minutes as Idzik, Johnson and Rex Ryan watched their players take part in drills.

The service was requested by a "frustrated" female Jets fan for "less than $1,000," said Ashley Chalmers, owner of Jersey Shore Aerial Advertising. Chalmers, who piloted the Super Cub, told Newsday the fan did not want to be identified and that the service was subcontracted with another company.

"It wasn't too bad of a message," said Chalmers, who hinted that the banner could appear above MetLife Stadium during Sunday's Steelers-Jets game. "It's just another form of media they can use."

The players didn't take kindly to the message in the sky. Michael Vick called it an "annoying" distraction that was "a bit extreme. You're trying to put everything into practice . . . and now, everybody's attention is up in the sky."

Whoever hired Chalmers' company knew the Jets' practice schedule, because the flying time coincided with the 20-minute period allotted for media to watch practice. The aerial show was just the latest stunt in a growing grassroots movement to oust Idzik, the second-year general manager who assembled this 1-8 team.

Brothers Jason and Jared Koeppel, who created the website FireJohnIdzik.com, announced this week that they have raised more than $10,000 to put up three billboards near MetLife Stadium that will be viewable from Nov. 17-Dec. 7. The Koeppels, however, denied the banner was their doing, tweeting: "That is not our plane, but we endorse it."

Ryan said fans "have a right" to voice their frustration but also said the banner was "a little over the top. When you look at the big picture, this isn't about one man falling short. We're 1-8 collectively.

"Even though I recognize the fans are in pain and everything else, we all want to win. But to place it on one person, I don't think that's fair."

Vick agreed, noting there are "a lot of people" who can be blamed "for this entire situation."

"Kick a man while he's down," Vick said. "All right, we understand that. People do that. Some people want to see other people suffer . . . That money that was spent on that jet fuel could have been given to some type of charity. Believe me, there are people out here in the world who need it."

Idzik and Johnson were not made available for comment. But Ryan said: "John's tough. So, it wasn't something that he was overly upset with. I'm sure he wasn't pleased with it."

Neither were the players.

Rookie safety Calvin Pryor said no one is more frustrated by the 1-8 record than players and the front office. "Just for people to go out of their way and do that, me, personally, I just don't think it's right."

But Pryor wasn't surprised, given the tough New York market. "This place, when things go bad, some people can be kind of ruthless and not care about anyone else's feelings but their own," he said.

Vick said he couldn't help but "feel bad when you see something like that happen." But he said there's a simple solution to end the negativity.

"Do something about it," he said. "We can sit here and talk all we want. We've got to change the outcome of each and every game on Sunday."

Notes & quotes: Geno Smith (shoulder) practiced fully and threw 60 passes . . . Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Breno Giacomini did not practice because of illnesses, and Darrin Walls (calf) sat out. Percy Harvin (heel) was limited after being stepped on at practice.

New York Sports