Brian Schottenheimer Out, Tony Sparano in as New York Jets Offensive Coordinator in 2012

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Late Tuesday night, the New York Jets released a statement in which they announced that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has informed the team that he will not return in 2012.

Schottenheimer, one of the biggest lighting rods amongst fans, is officially out as offensive coordinator after six seasons in New York.

On Tuesday alone, four Jets coaches officially parted ways with the team in the immediate wake of the Jets’ disappointing 2011 season.

Wide receivers coach Henry Ellard and outside linebackers coach Jeff Weeks were let go, and offensive line coach Bill Callahan left to take a job with the Dallas Cowboys.

A fifth coach, quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, has reportedly told friends he does not expect to return either. Clearly, the team has decided what direction to go, and they’re not waiting around.

It’s also being reported that former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano is in discussions to join the Jets as early as Wednesday, and he’s expected to be the new offensive coordinator in 2012.

It was thought that the Jets were taking their time on a Schottenheimer decision, as he was meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars about their head coaching vacancy.

Not long after the Jaguars announced Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey as their new head coach, the Jets released the following statement from Brian Schottenheimer:

After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to return to the New York Jets in 2012. I am very proud of what we have accomplished in the six years I have been here. I am grateful for the relationships that I have with our players and coaches and appreciate the hard work and dedication that went into our success. My family and I would like to thank Rex Ryan and the entire Jets organization and wish them continued success. I look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.

Coincidentally timed or not, the bottom line is that Brian Schottenheimer is no longer employed by the Jets, and that makes me an extremely happy Jets fan.

I’ve questioned Schottenheimer’s ability and qualifications for a few seasons now, and this year the cons simply outweighed the pros when it was all said and done. This is, without a doubt, the right move.

As for Tony Sparano, who could be formally introduced as early as Wednesday or Thursday, he’s a coach I’ve admired from afar for quite some time now.

As a rookie head coach in 2008, his Miami Dolphins shocked the football world, winning 11 games after going 1-15 the year before, one of the biggest single-season turnarounds in NFL history.

It culminated in an AFC East championship for the Dolphins, and the Jets falling short of the playoffs that season was instrumental in the eventual hiring of Rex Ryan the following year.

The Dolphins never had another winning season however, and Sparano was fired in 2011, finishing his Dolphins career 29-32, including a first-round playoff exit in 2008 to none other than Ryan’s Baltimore Ravens.

Sparano is a smart, hard-working coach who I believe can do great things in the right coaching environment. I believe the Jets can provide that.

It’s not known how much money the Jets will be on the hook for, as Schottenheimer has a reported $3.2 million left on his deal. I imagine they’ve settled on an amount, but it’s irrelevant.

What’s important is that Schottenheimer is gone. He is no longer the Jets offensive coordinator, and I’m excited to see what the future holds if indeed Tony Sparano comes aboard.

Schottenheimer’s last call as offensive coordinator of the Jets was to walk away. One of the best calls he’s ever made in his six years in New York.

Sayonara Schotty!


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