“Let me reintroduce myself”- Cartel
It was a cold Sunday November day in Indiana last November. The temperature was near freezing, but this was the last day of golf season before the courses shut down for the winter. The Jets were getting trounced by Buffalo. Matt freaking Barkley started at quarterback and here I was listening to a blowout on the radio in my golf cart.
It wasn’t the first time I did that over the years. The famous Jets Buffalo TNF game where Mike Vick played? Listened until the middle of the 4th quarter road tripping to Vegas until CNN sent a push alert about the Ferguson Missouri riots. Butt Fumble? Stayed until the 4th quarter until my sister and dad wanted to leave. Or how about the battle between the 3-12 Jets and Chiefs that went to OT? I stayed until we kicked the winning field goal despite mother nature running the trifecta of rain, freezing rain and snow during the game. The 45-3 MNF game against the Pats? Rushed home after hockey only to watch the whole game until my friend mercifully turned it off. He had no reason to believe I wasn’t going to break everything that wasn’t tied down after that game. He also had no experience in what I call Jets acceptance which brings us to last year.
Every single year followed the same pattern sans a few miracle years. I take a break for spring training and hockey season and forget about football after the Super Bowl. I start getting into football for a week or two around FA and draft season - always reading our draft reports/ free agency trackers- followed by keeping tabs on any news until mini-camps. Depending on the Mets season, I’ll generally switch to all football by the first week of training camps because yay it’s almost back! And then I’m back on football, with an IV drip of Jets news from camp or visiting camp in 2011.
Then the year begins and the first rattling Jets chant echoes through my room from my computer speakers. By midseason the team has something brewing... until a 2-3 game losing streak against a good team, followed by someone they could have beat but didn’t, followed by the inevitable blowout by a poorer team on paper and - sigh - another lost year. I accept the situation and vow to keep watching.
Sure by this point, there’s little reason to watch. I mean if everything breaks right and Indianapolis rests its starters after halftime we may just back door into the playoffs, but the odds are low. Still must watch. Then we are mathematically eliminated. Should we start the promising young player who has shown glimpses or the over the hill veteran who will be overpaid, cut a week before offseason or show up out of shape the next year? The Jets always seem to do the latter. Remember when we kept Ryan Fitzpatrick in every game because... uh reasons?
Watching the Jets becomes a chore more than my once weekly thing to look forward to. An obligation based on weeks, months, years of watching an organization try to shoot itself in the foot, only to overshoot the foot by ten yards and fumble away the other 5 bullets. Yet I still accept the Jets are what they are right now but one day...one day...
Then last year happened. Bowles gets blown out, has no answers, lost the locker room and remains hired through the end of the year. The stats show firing him and getting someone else in always seems to be a better solution but nah. So I did something I haven’t done since the 2001 season. I turned off the Jets. Stopped caring, not just about the Jets but about football. I didn’t even watch the Pats win the Superbowl because honestly why bother?
I figure it would be back to the routine come this year. New coach, new attitude, new optimism right? We ended up hiring Adam Gase who might have been the worst option of coaches. The Jets fired Bowles yet kept the GM who was at best bad at his job and here he was making another poor decision. Sure I caught up on FA news every so often. Yay new linebacker and running back! Oh we didn’t get an edge rusher or number one corner? Guess we’ll draft one...or just pretend it’s no big deal and the faucet always dripped this much and if you ignore it no one else will notice.
Then we fired our GM after the draft and free agency, because #LOLJETS. I found I didn’t care still. What’s another lost year in a decade that’s had 9 straight. They didn’t make it easier for me to get back into it and I was in no rush to devote my energy.
Camps started a few days ago and yet I’d half heartily check in every few days maybe twice a week... but still no burning desire. Finally the Jets had done something I thought impossible... keep me away. This was it, the year I gave up on the Jets before the season, never cared and stopped planning Sundays around 1 PM games or tried staying up late for the TNF game.
Then it happened. Two days ago I was driving into work at 2 am juggling a coffee and keeping tabs on the possibly drunk minivan driver on my left who snap turned into a strip club. That’s when I heard it on the NFL Network on satellite radio:
“ The Jets look good.” “It’s a different team” “ No more Bowles.”
Mind you I’m not optimistic. This is the same franchise that drafted Christian Hackenberg in the second round, traded a 1st for Doug Jolley, passed on Warren Sapp. It’s an organization so profoundly misguided we somehow made the Mets look good by comparison for a few weeks this spring.
But this is my team. Just like that, I accepted what I am... I’m back to reading every article on the Jets. Who is going to be the surprise cut of the year? Which rookie wins the best in camp only to never show up during an actual NFL game? Who will play corner? Who the heck is Bob Dole the Snapple Lady and why did he die in season two?
I’ve accepted it though and will be here throughout the year and hope you will accept me back.