Reports indicate that a late-night phone call between future hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning and Jets CEO Christopher Johnson was instrumental in the team's decision to hire Adam Gase to be the team's new head coach.
Manning, who once referred to Gase as "the smartest guy I know," posted the best statistical season of his career and went to a Super Bowl with Gase as his offensive coordinator in Denver.
His support doesn't begin and end with Manning. Gase has also worked under multiple top coaches during his career, including Nick Saban and Mike Martz. John Elway once called him a genius and John Fox has referred to him as "an innovative mastermind."
However, Gase also has his detractors. Fired from the head coaching role with the Dolphins in December at the end of a 7-9 season, Gase was reported to have butted heads with owner Stephen Ross and lost the support of several of his players.
The highest profile of these was Jarvis Landry, who made some pointed comments after Gase traded him to the Browns during the offseason last year. Landry suggested that he went to Gase with suggestions about how he could contribute more, implying that he wanted to run more downfield routes, but this idea was met with resistance.
Many -- mostly anonymous -- comments from Dolphins players about their outgoing coach backed up these concerns to some extent. Among the criticisms levied at Gase were that he is too emotional as a playcaller, with a tendency to go away from things that are working and an inability to establish an identity. The suggestion is that he would overthink things and end up outsmarting himself. Players have also suggested that you need to be one of "his guys" for any concerns you might have to be listened to.
However, this negativity from his former players was far from universal. For those that were "his guys" there was nothing but respect. When Gase lost the Miami job, quarterback Ryan Tannehill thanked him in an Instagram post, calling him one of the best coaches he had ever worked with. Wide receiver Albert Wilson tweeted out that he would have shown what a genius Gase was if he hadn't been injured halfway through the season.
Returning to Landry's complaints about his role, he was obviously strongly opposed to the way Gase used him in 2016 and 2017, throwing him several short passes every game and relying on him to create yardage after the catch.
Using him like this, almost as an extension of the running game, might have meant Landry didn't make as many impact plays, but it led to him racking up an NFL-record 400 receptions in his first four seasons and ultimately earned him a five-year, $75 million extension once he was traded to the Browns.
Landry was employed more like a conventional receiver by the Browns in 2018. His average depth of target was 11.9 according to airyards.com, having been only 6.4 in 2017 and 6.5 in 2016. However, while he was good in 2018, his production arguably fell short of the elite money he earned. Landry had less than a thousand yards and only four touchdowns despite having the ninth-most targets in the league. That kind of production probably warrants closer to the $11 million per year deal offered to him by Miami, so Landry should arguably be thanking Gase for inflating his value by using him as he did.
This is particularly pertinent to the Jets because this is somewhat similar to how Jeremy Bates used Quincy Enunwa during the season, leading Enunwa to suggest after the season that Bates was not receptive to suggestions of how he could be used differently.
If Enunwa -- who just signed a long-term deal -- can win Gase over like Wilson did, then perhaps the two will enjoy a more productive dialogue.
Injuries were obviously a major factor in the Dolphins' struggles over the past two seasons and anyone assessing Gase's merits as a head coach would have to take that into account. Many would view it as an overachievement for Miami to have won as many games as they did, especially after losing talented players like Landry and Ndamukong Suh after the 2017 season.
However, as the Jets would have discovered when deciding the fate of Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan, it's never easy to determine whether the coach was responsible for the performance of the roster or vice versa.
One of the main reservations Dolphins fans expressed when Gase was first hired as their coach was his lack of head coaching experience. He has had that experience now, but Jets fans better hope he has learned from it and won't repeat the same mistakes.