The most popular radio personality in New York sports history, Mike Francesa, is at war with the most popular New York football team these days, The New York Jets.
Some backstory: Mike Francesa has been absurdly critical of the Jets since the end of last season. It’s hard to tell why. Yes, Mike is a Giants fan, but Mike has (occasionally) been able to play nice with the Jets, particularly when his pal Bill Parcells was running things in the late 90s. But Mike went after the Jets hard all season last year and declared their season dead only weeks before they went on a miracle run that unexpectedly landed them in the AFC Championship Game. By that point, Mike had two ways to go about it: admit fault and credit the Jets; or to continue to go after them. He chose the latter, and ridiculed the Jets during their best post-season run since 1999. He called them lucky. He called them overrated. A war had begun.
Now Mike seems to have taken to hating the Jets to an extreme this year, particularly after HBO’s Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Jets premiered last week.
Jets coach Rex Ryan cursed a lot during in the premiere episode, but that’s to be expected. What’s the point of being on HBO if you can’t say fuck? Mike didn’t like it. He went on his WFAN show last week and called Rex Ryan a “classless buffoon.” He also called him “bumbling.” He’s now attacking management for failing to sign their cornerback Darrelle Revis.
The fighting didn’t stop there. Rich Cimini, formerly of the Daily News and now a Jets beat writer for ESPN New York, referred to Francesa as a “fathead” (twice) a “prude “and “clueless” in a chat today with fans.
It’s a strange strategy for Mike. It’s true that New York is a Giants town, just like the way it’s a Yankees town. But these things can change. The Mets owned New York in 1969 and during the 80s. The Jets have owned this town twice before, once when Joe Namath played and, then, about 30 years later, when Bill Parcells was coach. For better or worse, the Jets once again own the back pages thanks to their unimaginably brash head coach. If the Jets do have a great season, Mike is in a tough situation. He’s painted himself into such a deep corner that his only option for this year appears to have interviews from members of the Giants for a team that potentially no one will care about. As for those Jets? Don’t expect them to go on Mike Francesa’s show if he keeps it up. What happens to his ratings then?