We have reached a new low.
No, it’s not that big of a deal that 53-year old Edwin M. Anzalone no longer wants to be the unofficial mascot for a team that puts the shame in pretty f’ing shameful. It’s also not even that big of a deal that a team with a roster as crappy as the Jets is 4-7 at this point of the season, especially considering their schedule.
It is a big deal that everyone, from the fans, to the players, to the coaches and front office, are in such denial about how miserable of a team, check that, organization, they truly are.
Before you Jets fans turn your denial shields up way high, I have a confession to make: I too, am a Jets fan.
But just because I’m a Jets fan doesn’t mean I believe Antonio Cromartie when he says the Jets will win out and make the playoffs. It doesn’t mean I believe Rex Ryan when he talks about how great of a weapon backup (non-throwing) quarterback Tim Tebow will be for the team. It also doesn’t mean I think GM Mike Tannenbaum has drafted more than three decent players since the 2007 draft that saw him take Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, and David Harris, amongst others (sorry D’Brick).
The Jets have gone from up-and-coming to laughing stock of the league in less than two years. What a difference losing makes.
Veteran leaders, productive role players, go-to guys, gone with the wins (see what I did there), but you know that story already. The only thing that hasn’t changed for this miserable franchise is they’re still talking like they’re winning games. They’re still talking like they’re beating the Patriots (as Brandon Moore’s large behind would tell you, they’re not), they’re talking like they’re the baddest defense in the league (19th in yards allowed, 26th in points), and they’re talking like a team who no matter how bad they might look for stretches of a game, you know they’ll pull it out because they’re better than the majority of their opponents.
This year, they’re not.
The worst part is, after duping their fans into thinking maybe they finish the season with a run by beating a less than impressive St. Louis Rams team, the Jets came out looking absolutely awful on Thanksgiving night in a 49-19 drubbing at the hands of their superior rival Patriots. Three touchdowns allowed in 52 seconds, seriously?
How do fans return to cheer for this team? But at the same time, how do they allow themselves to get so delusional that they think a different team will show up on a week-to-week basis?
We know who this Jets team is. This is a team that’s neglected needs on offense, not replacing LaDanian Tomlinson with another playmaker, and not thinking Wayne Hunter was bad enough last season to warrant investing in a legitimate right tackle. They let Mark Sanchez’s down-field threat, Braylon Edwards, go and haven’t had a real second receiver since. Without Santonio Holmes, Sanchez has struggled even worse, which is something I’m not even going to get into because their isn’t enough time in a day.
Then there’s the defense. All of us Jets fans thought Revis was the most important player on the team, which goes to show you how good your team really is if its most important player is a cornerback. The Jets secondary has been one of the bright spots (sort of), along with an underrated defensive line (we see you Mike Devito and Muhammad Wilkerson), but the linebacking core has been awful, the pass rush is relatively invisible, and they give up 45.8 percent of third down conversions, which you guessed it, is the worst in the NFL.
For a team that prided itself on camaraderie and toughness, there’s none of that this season, especially from the “leaders.” Sanchez seems to keep his head in the sand when he plays poorly and the Tebow chants come, he also never a controversial thing to say, which seems to be his approach in the lockerroom. And while “offensive leader” Sanchez sure has been leading by example, the same goes on defense, where Bart Scott looks older by the day and as if he’s playing South Park’s Sarcastaball, where it’s not his job to tackle his opponent, but to say really nice things to them.
The team’s taken an earful from the media and the fanbase, to the point where players, namely Scott, are freaking out about the fans being too mean to the players when they underperform. Are you kidding me?
Now, with that said, I do think it’s stupid that my people – Jets fans in this instance – are pestering the players. I mean, what did you expect heading into the season? You really thought the team was going to be that good that you dropped thousands of dollars to be near the sidelines so you could see Tebow’s million dollar smile after he scores his goalline touchdowns in all of our big wins? You really wanted to be around to hear Rex and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano get the team fired up for big plays?
Of course none of us Jets fans expected the season to go as poorly as it’s gone. We didn’t anticipate a Revis injury, or an offense that looks like it’s being run by former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer still, we also expected an improved defense.
And that is our problem as fans.
I don’t like to ever use him as a point of reference, but ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was one of many a sports personality/writer to say he thought the Jets would stink this season. His win prediction: four games.
Sitting at 4-7 after the most embarrassing loss of the season, the players are angry at the fans and the media, the media’s angry at the fans, and the fans are…Jets fans. Rooting for a loser as usual, while being completely classless about it.
I’m sick to my stomach with the way this season has gone, but I honestly checked out the day Revis went down. This team has a lot of problems, it doesn’t need for its fans to add to it.
My only hope for the remainder of the season, isn’t a win over an absolutely garbage Arizona Cardinals team led by Ryan Lindley (yeah, that bad) to convince fans maybe they’ll win out over their easy schedule. My hope is for everyone, from the players, media, and fans to stop talking. These people need to tame their expectations, and gear their hopes towards the future, when they’ll hopefully have a new GM, a new quarterback, and you know, good football players.
But if they don’t, I won’t be one of the surprised people. Same…old…Jets.