It is easy, in the wake of one of the worst losses in Jets history (and that is saying something!) to feel despondent about being a Jets fan. It feels like the losing and rebuilding will never end. Already I've seen some comments from fans who want to throw in the towel on this franchise. But here is why I am not close to that point and, in fact, continue to find this season enjoyable.
I always keep in mind that all of this is simply entertainment. The Jets winning the Super Bowl, or any other game, is not an end in of itself. It is a means to an end. It would only matter because I would find it enjoyable. So the question that I have to ask myself in being a Jets fan is, "Is it fun to follow this team?"
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't enjoy having the Patriots destroy the Jets 54-13. I don't enjoy the team being 1-5. I don't enjoy the Jets' new QB struggling... or getting injured.
But a substantial part of why I enjoy football, in general, is that I am fascinated by the process by which a winning team is constructed. And the Jets are interesting because there are interesting questions to which I legitimately don't know the answers:
Is JD going to be a bust as a GM? Was his poor 2020 draft a fluke, or will he get better? Was JD's failure to add a quality backup QB or quality TEs this year a fluke, or is he bad at matching talent to schemes?
Is Saleh going to grow into an excellent HC, or will he be the next hyped coordinator to flame-out? Will LaFleur figure out the job? If he doesn't, will Saleh have the leadership skills to fire LaFleur?
Is Wilson going to be a franchise QB or a bust? Is he being held back by LaFleur failing to tailor the offense to Wilson's strengths? Is Wilson going to be injury prone?
There are very interesting questions about the other players too. Will Moore become the elite weapon that we want? Will Mims become a solid starting WR? Will Becton stay healthy? Will Becton become a plus pass-blocking LT? Will he move positions? Can Saleh actually develop these CBs into a productive secondary?
The truth is that, even though I have my suspicions as to the answers to those questions, I don't know the answers. And that is interesting.
In contrast, the Adam Gase era was exceedingly boring. I knew on the day that he was hired that it would not work out. I knew Gase would get fired. And I expected that it would take a couple of years to happen. I also guessed that Gase would ruin the opportunity to develop Darnold properly. I basically had to go into fandom hibernation for two years while I waited for the inevitable to occur. And, to be honest, I didn't even know if I wanted the Jets to be good under Gase because I found him so unlikeable as a person.
Under JD and Saleh, even though the Jets have yet to show that they are making progress on the rebuild, the process is at least fun to watch. And that is why I find it much, much less painful to be a Jets fan now than it was when the Jets were 1-5 and blown out by the Patriots in 2019.