Report: Tony Sparano Firing "Imminent," Mike Tannenbaum Likely to Be Reassigned

Rocco ConstantinoContributor IDecember 24, 2012

Although it's never easy to report on somebody losing their job on Christmas, most New York Jets fans will have no sympathy for Tony Sparano this holiday season.'s Jason LaCanfora reported in his "Monday Observations" column that Sparano's firing is "imminent."  He said of Sparano in the column:

Sanchez has sunk to new lows and another season of that Jets defense being stout enough has been wasted. The Jets are stuck with Sanchez given his contract, but a second straight coordinator change on offense is imminent, and Sunday's offensive display was just another indictment of that side of the ball.

In a separate article, LaCanfora also reported that the Jets have already been reaching out to potential general manager candidates as the team looks to reassign Mike Tannenbaum within the organization.

Tannenbaum, who holds degrees in accounting and sports law, is under contract through 2014 and would be shifted into a capacity that better suits his strengths.

Sparano's downfall can be tied to a number of factors.  Aside from the general malaise of the offense, Sparano's baffling decisions when shuffling quarterbacks in the offense is widely seen as a big reason for his ultimate demise.

The Jets and Rex Ryan would now be best served in finding a trustworthy and successful offensive mind to turn the keys of the offense over to.

The defensive-minded Ryan needs an offensive partner to help rebuild the offense almost entirely from scratch.  Aside from the quarterback situation, Matt Slauson, Shonn Greene, Brandon Moore, Dustin Keller and Braylon Edwards are all free agents. It is possible the Jets will be starting over from scratch with their offense.

That's probably not a bad thing.

Some of the greatest coaches in NFL history had partnerships to help build the area that was not their perceived strength.

One quick example that comes to mind is that Bill Walsh, one of the greatest offensive minds in the history of the game, who didn't gain consistent success until he promoted George Seifert to defensive coordinator.

Walsh was 24-33 without Seifert (although he did win the 1981 Super Bowl without him) and was 128-26 with him.  Aside from the Super Bowl season, the 49ers were one of the worst defensive units in the NFL.

Of course Walsh had guys named Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, but the point is that it took someone to come in and run Walsh's defense for them to become truly elite.  Under Seifert's direction, the 49ers defense instantly became one of the best in the NFL.

If the Jets are able to find an offensive expert to match Ryan's defensive acumen, they can become one cohesive unit, much the way they were in 2009 and 2010.

As for the front office, that's a different story.

LaCanfora reported in his article that the Jets have been sending feelers around the league to inquire about the feasibility of an experienced general manager working together with a reassigned Tannenbaum.  

It shouldn't be the biggest deal to have Tannenbaum as a numbers expert in the front office, but LaCanfora reports that candidates would be apprehensive.  He wrote:

Several potential GM candidates -- men expected to garner interviews for soon-to-be-open general manager jobs -- said they would never consider taking the Jets job under these circumstances and doubted that any strong candidate would.

That may be the case, but there are a scant few general manager jobs available in the NFL.  

Whether Woody Johnson is willing to move off his idea of reassigning Tannenbaum or not is only something that will be answered when the moves are finally made.

If people like Bill and Chris Polian are willing to come work for the Jets under the condition that Tannenbaum is gone, Johnson would have to seriously consider that.

Aside from his relationship with Tannenbaum, Johnson would have to add Tannenbaum to a list of people he'd be paying not to work in 2013 and 2014.  

This, of course, is all speculation right now.  If one thing can be gleaned from these reports, it's that the Jets are not going to stand pat after another disappointing season.

They have a strong defense, so there isn't any reason to blow up the entire team, start from scratch and incur a lengthy rebuilding process.  But scrapping the offensive coaching staff and completely remaking the offense is the best way to go.

A competent, experienced general manager to go along with a top offensive mind to rebuild the offense is what the franchise needs.  If the Jets can get that into place along with all the positives of Ryan, they can get this ship righted faster than most people would believe.