NEW ORLEANS—Mike Tannenbaum high-fived Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, then hugged him. Having finished an interview on Russo's Sirius XM Radio SIRI +2.87% program Thursday afternoon, he then stepped down from a stage to shake hands with former NFL coach Dick Vermeil. There was more flesh to press, more people to talk to, more connections to make.
This has been the nature of Super Bowl week for Tannenbaum, who has been the Jets' former general manager for a month now. He has spent hours in "Radio Row," the labyrinth of media tables here at the New Orleans Convention Center, speaking on the record for the first time since Jets owner Woody Johnson called him Dec. 31 after the regular season ended and—"in a very cordial conversation," Tannenbaum said—fired him.
Tannenbaum had spent 16 years with the Jets, the final seven as their GM. On his watch the franchise twice reached the precipice of its first Super Bowl appearance since 1969.
He traded for Brett Favre. He hired Rex Ryan. He built a team that reached two consecutive AFC championship games. But his tenure—and its conclusion—will likely come to be defined by his decision last March to trade for Tim Tebow.