NEW YORK — John Idzik will see quite a few familiar faces on Super Bowl Sunday.
The New York Jets’ general manager spent six years in the Seattle Seahawks’ front office, helping build owner Paul Allen’s team into a championship-caliber club.
“No doubt, it makes it special,” said Idzik, who’ll be at MetLife Stadium for the game Sunday. “The entire organization from Mr. Allen on down, the front office, the coaching staff and of course the players, when you’ve spent so much time with them and you’ve kind of grown with them you build very close relationships and you really wish them well.
“So, yeah, it is special that way.”
Idzik, speaking Saturday at a midtown restaurant renamed “Jets House” for the week, was hired by New York in January 2013 to replace Mike Tannenbaum as the team’s GM. The Jets went 8-8 and missed the playoffs in his first season, but he and owner Woody Johnson chose to not only retain Rex Ryan but give him a contract extension.
“I just think it’s stability for the organization,” Idzik said of the extension, “and Rex is our coach.”
Idzik, who like Ryan hasn’t committed to Geno Smith as the team’s starting quarterback for next season, isn’t concerned about some off-field incidents Smith has had this offseason. He has spoken with Smith, whose troubles include recently having a disagreement with a flight attendant at Los Angeles International airport, for which Virgin America airline later apologized.
“We’ve addressed them, he’s addressed them, so no real concerns that way,” Idzik said. “It’s just how to deal with your celebrity and the visibility that goes along with the position.”
While he didn’t specify what he and Smith discussed, Idzik stressed that being the Jets’ quarterback brings an unusual amount of attention.
“We’ve talked a lot about when you’re in the NFL, you’re a quarterback in the NFL, when you’re a quarterback for an NFL franchise in a big market such as New York, all eyes are on you, 24-7,” he said. “I think Geno has experienced this firsthand. So, obviously, I’ve kept in close contact with him and I think this is all part of learning how to deal with those things.”
Idzik added that he made it clear that the Jets won’t tolerate behavior that embarrasses the franchise — whether the player is a rookie or a veteran.
“No, I don’t think we view any free passes,” Idzik said. “We hold our players to a high standard, and that’s on the field and off the field, so that’s part of acting like a Jet. So, it’s not only playing like a Jet, but acting like a Jet and everybody understands that.”