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Laments of a Jets Fan

I have lived through this movie before

NFL: DEC 22 Steelers at Jets Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Look I get it, the frustration with losing. I have been a Jets fan for more than 50 years. The only advantage to that is I personally watched the Jets win the Super Bowl albeit as a 3rd grade child. A friend who knows me well asked me recently what it is like to be a Jets fan for so long. He knows good and well I am not going to change my allegiance to another franchise ever. I put it to him like this

You wake up on a Sunday morning in autumn feeling great knowing there is a Jets game to watch. You are hungry so you think you will make yourself a great breakfast to start the day. You think bacon, eggs, toast, a fresh bagel, some fresh fruit, blackberry jam with some coffee would be nice. You reach in the cupboard then pull out your big iron skillet that has been in the family for generations and as hard as you can hit yourself in the forehead with it.”

That is what it is like, no great breakfast, no coffee, just a huge headache you have that lasts until later in the week. People you know don’t disparage you anymore for being a Jetw fan because they find it too cruel. You dream of the day when the team finds a leader who can turn this all around, becoming a dominant franchise. The suffering will be gone only to be replaced by relevance and glory. You tell yourself the suffering will only make the victory taste that much sweeter.

It is getting to the point that you have to really evaluate your sanity to believe such a thing.

Let’s look at this situation.

The Jets have one winning season in the last ten years (including this year) which is a horrible stretch for any franchise. This is now the norm and not the outlier. The Jets will continue to be bad unless the ownership changes its tune and hires competent people to run the show. Chris Johnson will have to admit that his team is stuck in reverse.

While we can carp and complain about our situation, the truth of the matter is that the Jets have been non factors in the NFL for quite some time. The Jets play in a division (like all NFL divisions) with only 3 other NFL franchises. Yet the last time the Jets won the division was in 2002 with a 9-7 record. It’s pretty sad when the last time you were a leader in your own division was 18 years ago. Even when the Jets won the division it was with a barely over (9-7) .500 record. This is not the English Premier League where there are 20 teams competing for the title. Again, there are only 3 teams you are competing against. It is pure futility when you can’t do better than this.

When you can’t win your own division you are usually (unless you are the Giants) out of the running for Super Bowl consideration. The reason you play the game is to win (thank you Herm Edwards) and in reality every team who plays is a loser if they don’t hold the Lombardi Trophy in their hands after the Super Bowl.

If you don’t win the next best thing is to have an ascending team; one that you think is moving forward with young players. Building for the future is a positive step when you are trying to overcome being noncompetitive. In fact it is exciting to have some young blood that is hungry for respect and their shot at greatness. Watching young talented players grow into Pro Bowl types is a wonderful thing to behold. It seems like you take the journey with them as they develop; watching them make mistakes then overcoming them.

I have a myriad of problems with the Jets management. I think they lack a person or people with knowledge who will tell the owners truth about their futility. I think Chris Johnson is surrounded by sycophants who want to appease him in order to stay as a trusted confidant. When a person who has complete control and believes he is smarter than everyone else it would take tremendous courage to tell him he is wrong, yet that is what is needed.

Chris Johnson recently said, “I have full confidence in Adam I think that he has a lot more in him as a head coach than some of our fans are giving him credit for. And I understand they want to see success. I think that they will. Look, I think he can work with and develop quarterbacks, I do continue to think he’s a brilliant offensive mind especially. He has my every confidence.”

Not only does this cement the feeling that Chris Johnson is either delusional or knows less than nothing about football. It also shows he is an incompetent owner. How do you fire a guy who you just claim is a “brilliant offensive mind?” You can’t. Adam Gase must have laughed out loud when he heard Johnson say that. He is like an art thief who steals the Mona Lisa and hears the police say they have no clues to whom stole the artwork. Gase knows he is safe no matter what. He can continue his ineptness for perpetuity without penalty. Chris Johnson almost assured that with his comments.

Last year after a 0-4 start Gase told reporters “there’s nothing I look back on and say, ‘I wish I would have done this over that,” which is strange because of the total lack of competitiveness in those games. During spring practices back in 2019 Gase jogged off the field while the defense was still practicing. He did that more than once. According to Bleacher Report numerous members of the Jets defense viewed Gase as a glorified offensive coordinator. It’s easy to see why some players would want to move on from the Jets when they feel that there is little team unity coming from their head coach.

I have no idea how much control of the team Joe Douglas has. He obviously can’t change head coaches now because of the Johnson statement. In actuality the firing of Adam Gase will do little to change the Jets as a team. You could name Gregg Williams as coach then put Jim Bob Cooter in as offensive coordinator. In the end the Jets don’t have enough talent to make a push for the playoffs even if you had Vince Lombardi as coach.

The truth is you have a dormant franchise that has been circling the drain. Sure the Jets made it to the AFC Conference Championship back in 2009/ 2010 but even then the team was not built for the long haul. The Jets paid the price for it.

The problem is that the Jets lose to most good teams with an occasional upset winy. The Jets will then beat a few bad teams like themselves (Giants, Washington) which gives management the illusion of competency. Even a loss to a team like the winless Bengals was written off as a deviation rather than an indictment of the coach.

I truly think our management team is headed in the wrong direction, but that doesn’t mean we lack hope. A few changes could put the Jets back into the conversation for a championship in the near future. We are closer than you may think if you bring in a coach who knows what he doing, with the veracity to challenge the players and to change the culture.

Money doesn’t buy wins but it does pay for coaches, scouts, and experts in analytics who could get the Jets moving in the right direction. The worst thing the team could do is to waste Draft picks trading for players to win a few meaningless games. These last 12 games (if the NFL can play them all) will be used to evaluate what the team has.

It seems like an annual chore trying to get the Jets to make sensible moves to better their team. Unless the powers that be decide to make winning a priority nothing will change. Instead of posturing, the Johnson clan needs to accept their part in this debacle taking responsibility for their failures as owners. The other owners like Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones must snicker to themselves over the total ineptitude of the Jets franchise since the Johnsons arrived. The Jets have been playing checkers while the rest of the NFL is playing chess; the Johnsons look horrible, and I don’t know why they don’t feel embarrassed enough to actually do something about it.

Until the Johnsons wake up from their coma, this fiasco will continue.

Until then I feel and share your pain.

That is what I think.

What do you think?