So, I did a version of this post last year that kind of went on and on, but I did it in May and just remembered to repeat it this year.
WARNING- I wrote the above sentence before I wrote the rest of this. It went from being a cutesy post to basically being a full blown fanfic type short story. So just as a disclaimer... don't bother reading this if you are looking for anything of substance. You may be highly entertained though. Yaknow, if you have the time to waste reading this. It got LONG.
Right now, there are millions of people who truly believe that 'their' team will find a way to win the big game this year. They are sure that every draft pick will pan out, every clutch moment will be met with a major performance and that their favorite player will have an MVP type season. Never mind that some of these people are Raiders or Bills fans. This is how most fans psyche themselves up for the year to come. With blind faith.
Until you get to the end of preseason you really have no idea what your team is going to look like. You could be a perennial playoff contender and lose a key player, and find yourself in contention for the first pick in the draft, or you could be a team with no notable stars that suddenly finds your identity under a new head coach and rocks the league. This early in the year for me, is a time to dream big. A time to look at all the positives of your team and hope that none of those negatives that eat away at your more rational self actually materialize on the field. It's a time to ignore harsh reality. In predicting a 19-0 season, you of course take this to another level of complete and utter foolishness. Which is what I intend to do here. The following is a completely biased and totally unrealistic view of how the New York Jets can make history and go 19-0 this year.
As a bonus- STILL includes TEBOWTRACKER!
Week 1- The Jets are immediately thrown into the fire against one of the more improved (on paper) teams in the league, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After winning the starting job, Mark Sanchez injures himself on the way out of the tunnel by running headfirst into David Harris's butt. Conspiracy theorists will wonder if Harris was not intentionally trying to force an upgrade at qb, but in truth he was just making his way out of the tunnel with the defense at his usual speed and he naturally fell way behind. Geno Smith gets the start. The Jets run a conservative gameplan, and the defense keeps the game close throughout by shutting down Doug Martin and making Josh Freeman beat them. The score is 13- 7 Bucs going in to the 4th quarter. With about four minutes to go in the game, Geno Smith uncorks a forty yard strike to Stephen Hill, who makes the catch over a clearly-not-100%-yet Darrelle Revis. The Jets go up 14-13 and manage to hold on with a pair of game-closing sacks from the unlikely source of Calvin Pace. Dee Milliner records his first NFL interception in the game. Chris Ivory rushes for 87 yards and a score. Jets 14-Bucs 13
TEBOWTRACKER- Sulking on bench at Pats/Bills game. Does not see the field.
Week 2- NY goes up to Foxborough for their first of two against the rival Patriots. It's a short week and analysts go on and on about how dominant Brady and Belichick are in short weeks, but the game follows a similar script to week 1's game for the Jets. The Pats are still figuring out their new look offense and the Jets front seven does a strong job limiting the damage on the short passes to the back and tight ends. Rob Gronkowski does not play. Chris Ivory has a breakout game, rushing for 153 yards and two scores, Geno Smith does not break 100 passing yards but he also does not turn the ball over, and Antonio Cromartie records two picks, including one returned for a score. Coples and Wilkerson each record three hits on Brady, and a total two sacks combined. Jets 24- Patriots 20
TEBOWTRACKER- Sulking on bench at Pats/Jets game. Does not see the field.
Week 3- The Bills come in to the Meadowlands with EJ Manuel at the helm. Rex Ryan continues doing what Rex Ryan does, which is absolutely dominate the Bills and utterly destroy rookie quarterbacks. Geno Smith suffers his first hiccup with a pair of fumbles but the defense holds and forces three turnovers of their own. Chris Ivory goes over 100 yards for the second week in a row and Kellen Winslow tops 80 receiving yards. The Jets can't find their way into the endzone but they don't need to. Jets 15- Bills 7
TEBOWTRACKER- Gets the call on a goal line package at Pats/Bucs game. Promptly fumbles. Is released on Tuesday.
Week 4- The Jets travel to face the Titans in a battle of two mediocre teams. Once again the difference in the game proves to be the Jets front seven, as they once again shut down a talented running back in Chris Johnson, and a much less talented running back in Shonn Greene. The front seven forces four fumbles and Geno Smith has a solid game with 200 passing yards and a pair of scores to Jeremy Kerley. Jets 17- Titans 10
TEBOWTRACKER- At home eating cheetos and reading Leviticus. Turns on tv for a second, sees the Broncos/Eagles game go to overtime and sobs brokenheartedly while cursing the Colts for letting Manning walk and recklessly shoving cheetos into his mouth.
Week 5- New York travels to Atlanta to take on one of the powerhouses of the NFL in a meeting of two of the four remaining undefeated teams in the NFL. Jets coaches going in know that they are going to have to bring their a-game and put points on the board, and they come out with an aggressive passing attack that catches Atlanta off guard. Geno Smith hits Braylon Edwards and Stephen Hill for deep scores in the first quarter, taking advantage of the lack of depth behind Asante Samuel on the Falcons cornerback chart. The Jets are up 17-7 at halftime and manage to eke out a 27-24 win when Dee Milliner, who has been abused by Julio Jones for most of the day, comes up with a big pick with a minute to go that seals the game. Jets 27-Falcons 24
TEBOWTRACKER- On a mountaintop, living in a cave and doling out sage advice to mirages of young travelers seeking wisdom. Beard is now a quarter of an inch long and he has not consumed food in three days.
Week 6- The Jets go home to face Pittsburgh. The Steelers are 1-3 and coming off a Bye week. Pittsburgh has continued its decline from a once perennial contender to a team made up of injured players, overrated players, inexperienced players who might be good in a couple of years and old players . This team is still somehow in every game due to stellar coaching and gameplanning, but the Steeler edge is a distant memory. Pittsburgh is hurting from the loss of Mike Wallace and Troy Polamalu is already injured. The Jets are exposed in this game as Pittsburgh controls the run game and forced Geno Smith into a couple of rookie mistakes but a late forced fumble by Mohammed Wilkerson on Ben Roethlisberger allows the Jets to tie the game with a field goal in regulation and win the game with a field goal in overtime. Jets 16-Steelers 13
TEBOWTRACKER- In hospital after being saved from mountain lion attack, coming to terms with new bionic arm. Vows to be the first quarterback to throw with a prosthetic limb, is still trying to master holding the pudding cup that comes with his meal.
Week 7- The New England Patriots come in to the Meadowlands having won four in a row against very good teams since their defeat by the Jets in week 2. Unfortunately for Tom Brady and co., Sheldon Richardson is just hitting his stride and Kenrick Ellis is in a bad mood. The Jets big boys go to work, making Tom Brady wish for those friendly Giants fronts that whupped his butt in two Super Bowls. New York forces four turnovers while knocking brady down an unbelievable eleven times, and the team wins by two scores on a balanced offensive attack that gets a number of chances to start on the patriots side of the field. Hayden Smith fills in for an injured Jeff Cumberland and scores his first NFL td. Jets 23- Patriots 10
TEBOWTRACKER- Pudding cup successfully held.
Week 8- The Jets play a knock-down, drag-out game against the Bengals that they only win because Antonio Cromartie has an otherworldly day. AJ Green enters the day leading the NFL in receiving but only manages to record two catches for 41 yards on thirteen targets over the course of the day. The defenses spend the day beating the offenses up in this low scoring affair that the Jets win with a big late-game catch and run by Santonio Holmes that sets up the winning field goal in his first game back. Jets 13-Bengals 12
TEBOWTRACKER- Released from hospital. Goes to a local park to try to get into a pickup game with some teenagers but is rejected. Sits on a park bench and experiences comic-book style flashbacks to his glory days. Err… day. You know the one. Against the Steelers.
Week 9- The Jets face the high flying Saints offense and the 'only slightly better than last year' Saints defense in a high scoring affair. Despite shutting out Drew Brees for the first twenty minutes of the game, the Saints hang five touchdowns on the Jets. Two of the scores come on the defensive side of the ball as Geno Smith forces the ball and throws three picks. The Jets are saved by the running back duo of Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson, who shred the porous Saints run D and each go over a hundred yards while finding the endzone a combined four times. The Jets tie the game in the middle of the fourth quarter on Geno Smith's only nice drive of the day that culminates in a nine yard score to Kellen Winslow, and they take the lead with a field goal in the closing seconds after two very tense but stout defensive series against the driving Saints. Jets 38- Saints 35
TEBOWTRACKER- Back in hospital after falling asleep on park bench and having part of his forehead gnawed off by a pack of unusually aggressive squirrels. Is mostly incoherent but keeps calling it god's plan and asking if the two small metal plates in his skull come from Mount Sinai.
Week 10- Bye week. Team eats goddamn snacks and gives many colorful quotes to the media. Rex Ryan regains brashness, predicts dynasty.
TEBOWTRACKER- After experiencing a late-night morphine induced vision of a burning bush while sitting on his hospital toilet, Tim Tebow decides that in addition to becoming the first amputee qb to win a super bowl he must also write a newer testament chronicling his trials and tribulations so that the world may learn from his experiences. He promptly unrolls the nearest roll of toilet paper and begins scrawling carefully with a dull pencil that he found near the radiator. He returns to bed, forgetting to wipe or wash his hands.
Week 11- The Jets go to Buffalo and destroy the struggling Bills. Since losing both Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller to injury over the prior month, the Bills have failed to reach the endzone in three consecutive games. It goes from bad to worse as a rested Jets defense forces EJ Manuel to make a number of mistakes and Stevie Johnson coughs up the ball the only time the Bills make it to the jets red zone. Just another year for the only 'real' New York football team. Jets 31 - Bills 3
TEBOWTRACKER- After the itchiness and discomfort of the severe rash that Tim Tebow had been dealing with has subsided, he gets back to work writing his manifesto while preparing for his hospital release by scheduling a grueling eight week training program to regain his lost muscle tone. He considers hiring a quarterback coach but then he remembers that he doesn't need to work on any of his passing skills because he's already awesome.
Week 12- The Jets face the Super Bowl Champion Ravens in Baltimore. Cromartie has another great day against Torrey Smith and the rest of the Ravens receivers have an off day, while the defensive front continues its tremendous season by limiting Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce to a combined seventy yards and no scores. New York manages to hang on for the win after Dawan Landry does not fall down while covering Jacoby Jones on a potential game winning heave from Joe Flacco. Despite giving up two sacks apiece to Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, The Jets do just enough work in this one to edge out the Ravens. Jets 20- Ravens 16
TEBOWTRACKER- In week one of his workout regimen, Tim Tebow regains three percent of his muscle. After releasing a press update on his new bible, he is interviewed by an attractive young woman from the Christian Science Monitor whom he asks out on a date. They go for milkshakes and candied apples at a local throwback mom and pop shop, then hold hands as they walk together on the beach.
Week 13- The 11-0 Jets welcome the 5-6 Dolphins to New Jersey. Despite numerous offseason acquisitions that had many thinking Miami could be a legitimate contender to dethrone the Pats in the division, the plan did not work out as Ryan Tannehill experienced a severe sophomore slump. The Miami defense is stout but the offense is not getting the job done. The two teams play a tight game on a blustery December day and Chris Ivory grinds out a hard earned 80 yards and two scores to propel the Jets to victory. Dee Milliner has his third and fourth career interceptions. Quinton Coples has a huge day, recording two and a half sacks along with a safety. Jets 19- Dolphins 10
TEBOWTRACKER- After a week of decadent treat-filled dates with his new girlfriend Mandy, Tim is frustrated to learn that he has lost the muscle he added prior to that. After a heartfelt discussion with her they agree to only date via text until his exercise regimen has him back where he needs to be. The new couple experiences an awkward moment when Tim references a starting quarterback job that has opened up and Mandy texts to ask him which NFL Asia team is offering him a chance to compete for it.
Week 14- The Jets play the Raiders and experience only their second laugher of the season. Oakland travels East and leaves with two black eyes as Mohammed Wilkerson puts Matt Flynn out of the game early with a vicious hit and the usual collection of other Raiders whose names aren't important enough to remember fails to do anything. A recently healed and somewhat disgruntled Mark Sanchez gets some time on the field in the fourth quarter after Geno and co. have put it to bed. He does not buttfumble. Jets 36 - Raiders 17
TEBOWTRACKER- Tim puts the finishing touches on his bible and sends it off to the publishers. He spends all day working out and all night texting intimately with Mandy. His trainers notice that his prosthetic arm is sometimes sticky and a bit fragrant with a scent they can't place but swear they know, but none of them ever ask.
Week 15- The Jets go to Carolina and walk all over the Panthers, who are playing without Cam Newton. Antonio Cromartie does another fantastic job on Steve Smith and is gaining momentum as a DPOY candidate. Jimmy Claussen is sacked six times and Chris Ivory runs for 160 yards and a score as the Jets flatten the kittens. Jets 24- Panthers 9
TEBOWTRACKER- Tim continues working out. He is visited by a traveling pack of disciples who have sold all their possession and have vowed to travel around the country handing out his newer testament door to door. They swear to never rest until the whole world knows the glory of the Tebow. As Tim speaks with them he grows uneasy. He tries to clarify that the good word is the mission and that he is a mere servant of the lord, but the Tebowites keep heaping praise on him and carefully avoid looking him directly in the eye. They each gently kiss his prosthetic hand before departing.
Week 16- The Jets make it 15-0 by taking advantage of an inconsistent Brandon Weeden and a flawed run defense . Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson combine for 170 yards and a pair of scores and David Harris has a massive day, stopping Trent Richardson behind the line four times and amassing a career high 22 tackles. Geno Smith continues to play a very disciplined game as he gets more and more comfortable with Santonio Holmes by the week. Holmes is rounding into form just in time for the playoffs. Jets 21- Browns 14
TEBOWTRACKER- Now in the fifth week of his workout regimen, Tim Tebow is starting to look like himself again. Minus the having two hands thing, of course. He begins throwing the football around with his bionic hand and notices that he is as accurate as he ever was. He feels dizzy with joy and runs to call Mandy. Mandy talks with him for a while, and he then notices that she sounds sad. He asks her what is wrong and she tells him that she misses seeing him. He decides to take a few days off and go visit her. As he is leaving to catch a flight he runs into the traveling Tebowites. They offer him a ride and usher him into their carpeted van before he has time to decline.
Week 17- The 15-0 Jets travel to Miami to take on a Dolphin team decimated by late season injuries but still hyped up at the chance to derail the improbable number one seed. Ryan Tannehill has a good day and the Dolphins record four sacks but Geno Smith and Santonio Holmes connect on three scores as Rex Ryan decides against resting his starters and the Jets celebrate their perfect regular season in sunny Florida. Jets 28- Dolphins 27
TEBOWTRACKER- Tensions are running high in the Tebowite van as each of the seven members of the posse vies to be the best friend. Tim gets a firsthand chance to listen to Tebowites converse about his greatness and manipulate facts to make him seem godlike, and it saddens him. He starts to gain some perspective and as the quiet but crazy looking tebowite behind the wheel announces that he has the perfect plan to get Tim back into the NFL in a starter's role, Tim wonders if that's even what he wants anymore. Tim dwells on this thought the next day and is lost in his own world so thoroughly that he never even notices the Tebowites sneaking up behind him or the smell of the chloroform rag.
PLAYOFFS- Week 1- Jets bye week. Jets rest up, Rex Ryan plots. Mark Sanchez sulks at home.
TEBOWTRACKER- Tim Tebow regains consciousness and slowly looks around. His surroundings are familiar, but he can't place it. A hand is on his shoulder. He looks up and sees a concerned face studying him. As the rest of the world comes into focus, he realizes that he is in the medical center at Sports Authority Field. It takes him a few minutes to gather the full story but he eventually comes to understand that the Tebowites had drugged him and tried to get him into the Broncos/Patriots wildcard game by dressing him up in a Peyton Manning jersey and kidnapping the real Manning while leaving him at Peyton's locker in full garb. The plan fell apart when Tim accidentally slumped forward into a Tebowing position and was recognized by his former teammates. Authorities quickly located the real Manning and rounded up the Tebowites, getting Peyton back in time to drop 42 on the Pats and bounce them from the playoffs. Tim got to watch the game in the owner's box but only stayed for the first half. Watching real football players play had both demoralized and rejuvenated him. As he left the stadium he called Mandy and told her to pack a bag. He was formulating a plan.
Divisional Round- Jets vs. Texans
After nearly losing to the 5 seeded Colts in a thriller, Houston comes in to the meadowlands a weary, broken team and is made short work of. Andre Johnson is limited by Antonio Cromartie, Matt Schaub is planted five times by the trio of Wilkerson, Richardson and Coples, and the Houston pass defense is once again exposed as subpar by Geno Smith and a red hot trio of Stephen Hill, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley. Arian Foster does his best but this one is over by the end of the third quarter. Jets 34- Texans 21
TEBOWTRACKER- Tim Tebow and Mandy Patinkin (no relation) are married in a small private ceremony in Northern Florida. In attendance are all of Tebow's relatives, four of Patinkin's relatives and one "reporter" named Skip. Also in attendance is a mysterious South African man in a business suit. He is accompanied by two bodyguards. He does not interact with any of the other guests, but comes over to congratulate the married couple and whisper in the groom's ear. All of the attendees receive first edition signed copies of the newer testament.
Championship Round- Jets vs. Broncos
The Jets find themselves with an easy road to the Super Bowl as they face off against the Peyton Manning-less Denver Broncos. In the previous week's Denver/Baltimore game, Elvis Dumervil sacked Manning late in the game, and severely dislocated his shoulder. The Broncos nearly dwindled away their large lead but managed to hold off a furious charge by the Ravens in the 4th quarter. Brock Osweiler gets the start and opens the game with a great touchdown drive, but goes on to throw four interceptions and cough up two fumbles as Rex Ryan's defensive schemes befuddle the man. Stephen Hill takes advantage of the old and slow Champ Bailey all day and Chris Ivory rushes for 77 yards and a score. After the game Braylon Edwards attempts to do a flip but pretty much just falls on his back like a turtle. Jets 30- Broncos 17
TEBOWTRACKER- Tim and Mandy are honeymooning in Africa. The wealthy African investor who is hosting them at his villa will stop by every couple of days and update Tim on the project. The man is skeptical, but he has read the newer testament and he cannot question the word of the prophet. He thinks the money and land might be better spent feeding the homeless and hungry citizens of the region, but who is he to question the good word?
Super Bowl- Jets vs. Cowboys
In a matchup of two teams nobody expected would make the big game, home field advantaged proves to be a major difference maker. The worst fears of the NFL are realized as the game is assaulted by a heavy snowstorm. Both teams play a conservative game and attempt to protect the ball as best as they can, and in the end the Jets run defense proves to be the difference as it has all season. New York wins an old fashioned ground and pound contest by a narrow margin and Mohammed Wilkerson wins MVP for his two sacks and a forced fumble. Jets 16- Cowboys 12
TEBOWTRACKER- Tim hugs Mandy and heads to the airport. He is on his way back to the states. There is something he needs to do. A downtrodden soul he needs to comfort. He is the messenger and sweet salvation is nigh.
CHAMPIONSHIP PARADE- The Parade runs down 6th avenue. Mark Sanchez watches as the floats move away and he wonders how long it will be before they realize they left him behind at the staging area. Part of him wants to chase down the last truck and jump on, but he's pretty sure Nick Folk will try to kick him off if he does so. Instead he starts dwelling on his future. He makes a mental list of the teams that might need a quarterback and considers his chances. After running down the list he then wonders if it's too late to go back to USC.
As Mark is about to depart, he is tapped on the shoulder. He sees a plastic looking hand and turns to find Tim Tebow there. Tim is wearing a matching Dashiki and Kufi, and is smiling benevolently at him. Tim embraces a shocked Mark and whispers in his ear "Come with me, my brother. Come with me, and you shall live." Mark thinks about it for a second, realizes he has absolutely nothing else going on, and shrugs his consent. The two leave arm in arm, never to be seen again.
There is an African legend about two doofy white men. They came to Africa, not to take as so many others had before, but instead to give. To give of themselves wholly and unwaveringly. One of the men came with a poorly written book and the other simply with a propensity for running into other people's behinds and dropping whatever he was holding at the time. These men had strange western names that no one could quite recall but they were known throughout the land as saints and saviors. They came and built a sprawling athletic field in the middle of the jungle where they would spend their days distracting the hungry children with games. The men were athletic, and dedicated to their craft, and their skill level was godlike to these children. They would organize games and captain teams which would then compete against each other in a battle of wills. Sometimes the stronger one would run for many points and the other one would drop the ball after tripping over a six year old, but other times the stronger one would attempt to throw the ball and would keep underthrowing the children or throwing it to the other team. The games were legend, and they inspired a continent. They were admired for their kindness to children, respected for their spirited games and much beloved for their general knowledge of that game that the Americans like so much for some reason, even though it wasn't as good as any of the other games that already existed on the old continents.
Of course this was many years ago. Today it is rumored that the strong man lives in a small village and writes an even newer sequel to his poorly received yet highly collectible book. The other man met a lovely young woman to settle down with , and though he was never able to hold his children for fear of running into something and dropping them, he reared a lovely family and lived out the rest of his days far away from the Americans he had come from and the football team he used to work for. And all the fans of that team lived happily ever after.