A popular storyline going into Sunday's matchup with the Dolphins is that karma will come into force. Good guy Chad Pennington will come back to his old stadium and eliminate his former evil team that had the gall to replace him with a perceived upgrade after he had a subpar season, the kind of thing that happens all the time in the NFL without media members turning it into a morality play. In doing so, Chad will clinch his second AFC East title, cap an amazing turnaround season for both him and his team and likely send the villain of the story, his successor, Brett Favre, into retirement. This makes for great fodder for the holier than thou contingent covering the game, but it misses the bigger picture.
If karma truly exists, we will see just the opposite happen. The most loyal fanbase in the NFL will finally catch a break. This is a fanbase that has watched its beloved team lose the last three weeks of the 1993 and 2000 seasons and get eliminated when one win would have meant a Playoff berth. These fans were witness to the heartwrenching loss in Cleveland during the 1986 Playoffs when Mark Gastineau's roughing the passer penalty helped facilitate an unbelievable collapse. They have been kicked in the teeth by Cary Blanchard, John Hall, and Doug Brien, three kickers whose awful games were decisive blows to end promising seasons. They saw a 24-6 lead against the Dolphins in 1994 blown, ending in the now infamous Marino fake spike and a subsequent collapse. They watched a 10-0 lead in Denver evaporate with the franchise's first Super Bowl in three decades 25:00 away. These fans have watched Rich Kotite go 4-28 in two years. They watched Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick leave to become legends, the latter by turning a bitter rival into a dynasty.
If there is any justice in this world, explain how karma involves this tortured group of fans watching an 8-3 season end losing four of five to miss the Playoffs. Explain how a former Jet who started playing his best football in six years after leaving the team and joining a bitter rival should deliver the final nail in the coffin. The truth is that Chad Pennington is not the victim. People tend to forget how his bad play in 2007 facilitated his ticket out of town. The Jets benched Chad because he was ineffective and the season was lost, not because they wanted to spite him. They traded for Brett Favre because Pennington's uneven play understandably left the powers that be concerned over the position.
If karma exists, the Jets will finally catch a break on Sunday. Buffalo will find a way to beat New England. The Jets will take care of Miami and prepare to host Baltimore. Members of the media will be devastated. Their ridiculous conception of justice will be dashed.