When the Jets invited WFAN to do a show from their practice facility, the station wasn’t sure that Mike Francesa’s program was included. The team said it was.
Still, Francesa was skeptical, given the tense relationship between the Jets and the host last season. “I said, ‘I don’t believe it,’’’ he said Tuesday.
So he figured he would call the Jets’ bluff by demanding interviews with owner Woody Johnson, GM Mike Tannenbaum, coach Rex Ryan, quarterback Mark Sanchez and cornerback Darrelle Revis.
“They emailed back that they would promise all those people,’’ Francesa said. “I was very surprised, exceptionally surprised.’’
[Correction to above paragraph: It turns out the Jets promised the other four guys but not Mr. Johnson, only because his schedule is not yet firm at this time. If he is around that day he probably will come on. If not, then he'll do it another time. My bad. It was a misunderstanding on my part.]
The result: Francesa will visit Aug. 11 after that day's Mets game, perhaps a step toward normalizing relations with the team.
“I’m not sure; I’ll take it at face value right now,’’ Francesa said. “I’ll go out there with an open mind and a clean slate.’’
The Jets have insisted all along they have no feud with Francesa despite his sharp, relentless criticism of the organization and its coach. To which Francesa said in January, “baloney.’’
He also said this then: “Jets fans feel I’m anti-Jet, and I’m sure the Jets feel I’m anti-Jet. But the Jets are clearly anti-me.’’
Francesa based that on the Jets’ decision to limit players to 1050 ESPN – their programming partner – during the playoffs after the 2009 season. They loosened that policy last season, but Francesa still did not request interviews with their personnel, saying he did not want to be told whom to interview and when.
While Thursday’s show could be a step toward at least re-opening a dialogue between the market's most prominent sports talk voice and its most vociferous team, Francesa does not anticipate a “warm and fuzzy’’ embrace in Florham Park.
“I don’t expect them to be out in the parking lot throwing ticker tape,’’ he said. “I don’t expect them to be lined up with pompons . . . I’ve been hard on all of them.’’