Lofty expectations had been the name of the game for years with the New York Jets. When head coach Rex Ryan took over, he spoke of his team being in Super Bowl contention on a regular basis, with anything less than that being a failure, in his eyes. What was the result of that? 2 AFC Championship game losses and an 8-8 season following that. Now, I would never bash Ryan for trash talking his opponents and using his charisma to his advantage. In fact, I think there ought to be more of that in the NFL. Far too many coaches tell the media, and subsequently, the people, only the bare minimum of information they can get away with. Ryan, on the other hand, tends to use his personality to constantly create splashes, which also keeps the Jets relevant in the national media. Ryan likes attention, his team does, too. After this disappointing last season, lots of people, Jets players included, pointed to quarterback Mark Sanchez as the main reason this team couldn’t take the next step. At the end of last season, I was under the impression they might try to get better at the quarterback position, or at least, bring in a backup to attempt to push Sanchez to greater heights. Well, then the Jets brought in Tim Tebow. I’ll admit, that initially, it didn’t make any sense. Why would you bring in a statistically-terrible quarterback if you want to legitimately challenge Sanchez? My hypothesis? There won’t be any legitimate competition. Sanchez’s job isn’t safe.
As was the case when quarterback Kyle Orton was pushed out of the starting job when with the Denver Broncos, the fans and the media in New York will soon begin rallying for Tebow in the same way, even before the season starts. Heck, Tebow’s already a fan-favorite. Then, with each loss, whether its Sanchez’s fault or not, that cry will grow louder and louder. The main difference between the Denver situation and the one with the Jets, though, is that Tebow was played out of desperation in Denver. In New York, my conspiracy theory-like hypothesis is that the Jets have been planning this move ever since Peyton Manning announced he was going to Denver. It’s a smart PR move. In this business, there are two ways you keep your ball club relevant in the media. The first way involves winning titles consistently. This is the conventional way. Or, you can do what Ryan and the Jets have apparently decided works best, and create waves for people to talk about.
So, going off of that, I’m playing a little game concerning the Jets this upcoming season. I bet by week 8, if the Jets are playing at or below .500 ball, that Tebow will be the starter going into the latter half of the season. You know what the real storyline would be with that, though? What if Tebow comes in and wins games for the Jets? Not only will that have been a smart PR move, it also would actually turn out to be a smart football move. Wrap your mind around that one.
Now, with that being said, I need to slow down a little. Sanchez is still the starter until further notice and Ryan’s Jets have been considerably calmer this offseason. You can bet that .500 season was a huge slice of humble pie Ryan and the team didn’t want to eat. As much as some might want to ignore it, though, all the signs for my hypothesis are still there going into training camp. Like I said, too, don’t look for there to be a true quarterback competition. If the Jets don’t play winning football down the first stretch, here, the chants for Tebow will be hard to ignore, and eventually, there comes a time when you can’t ignore them anymore. And if I’m right, that’s all part of the plan: Let the circus continue. I’m David Abeyta, and that’s my opinion.