- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- No one does news conferences like the New York Jets.
John Idzik's 38-minute session Monday with reporters was an all-timer, one that will be remembered for his 19-minute opening statement. In case you're wondering, it was 2,466 words, according to the transcript released by the team. It was about 10 times longer than Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Fourscore and seven losses ago ...
Idzik talked and talked and talked and talked, covering everything from the pre-game player-walk to his salary-cap philosophy to the employees at every level of the organization. He was emotional and passionate at the outset, but his message eventually got lost in a seemingly endless stream of football platitudes. Once the Q & A portion began, he didn't provide many concrete answers, saying: He likes his plan. He loves Woody Johnson. He likes Rex Ryan. He likes the players. He likes their work ethic. They try hard. They play hurt.
OK, so why are they 1-7?
Anyway, here's my list of the most memorable news conferences in team history. I'd put the Idzik Address at No. 6.
1. Bill Belichick's resignation (January 2000): Nothing will ever knock this out of the No. 1 spot. On the day he was to be coronated as Bill Parcells' successor, Belichick stunned the world and his co-workers by resigning as the "HC of the NY Jets." That was the message he scribbled on a sheet of loose leaf, his quasi-letter of resignation. Like Idzik, Belichick rambled on for about 20 minutes, prompting team president Steve Gutman to remark later that Belichick appeared emotionally unstable. Who knew the modern-day Lombardi was walking out the door?
2. Rich Kotite steps aside (December 1996): Three years before Belichick quit, Kotite stepped into the same auditorium for a mid-week news conference and he did the exact same thing. Or did he? The beleaguered coach announced he wasn't quitting and he wasn't fired, but he was "stepping aside." He coached his final game (and lost), ending a 4-28 run as the Jets' coach.
3. Leon Hess steals the show (January 1995): The Jets' late owner rarely spoke to the media, so it was big news when he showed up to introduce Kotite as his new coach. He came across as a combination of George Steinbrenner and George Burns, barking, "I'm 80 years old. I want results now." His team became a laughingstock under Kotite, not the results he had in mind.
4. "You play to win the game" (October 2002): This wasn't a big news conference, just a routine, mid-week affair. Herm Edwards, his season fading away, got riled up when a reporter asked if he was worried about his team quitting. That prompted a legendary rant that included the famous line: "You play to win the game." Believe it or not, it didn't receive splashy coverage in the next day's papers. Who knew it would be included in a beer commercial one day?
5. The Voice (January 1990): Technically, this was a teleconference. The day after an embarrassing Monday night loss to the Buffalo Bills, coach Bruce Coslet decided to conduct his news conference over the phone. Instead of walking downstairs to meet the media, he stayed up in his office, fielding questions as he sat at his desk. Because of the short week, he wanted to save as much time as possible -- or so he claimed. The walk from the office to the press room was 30 seconds. The first question came from Peter Finney of the New York Post: "Bruce, why are you doing this?" The response wasn't memorable, but the question was priceless.