New York Jets – Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

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There is nothing cool about telling somebody you are a New York Jets blogger. When I first met my girlfriend a few years back she would introduce me to her various family and friends by saying this was her boyfriend “the Jets blogger who lives at home with his parents” – so basically this…

southpark

Fortunately, I am now moved out and make sure to introduce myself in exaggerated ways that would seem to increase my general importance. “Me? I live in Manhattan and own a few websites” Really, I am just a Jets (and Knicks!) blogger who lives in a glorified dorm room with my buddies from college.

Where am I going with this?

I spent the last 4 nights in Las Vegas for the beginning of March Madness encountering a wide range of sports fans, where I was humored by many of the discussions that turned to the NFL as I watched every uneducated college basketball bet I made go down the crapper. “CAN’T BELIEVE BUCKNELL LOST THAT EIGHTEEN BUCKS FOR ME BRO.” Regardless, it is truly comical how low the general population’s opinion is of this football team that I write about on a daily basis.

Based on public sports fan opinion, is there a worse sports team to be a fan of right now than the New York Jets? It sure as hell doesn’t seem that way. There were Jaguars fans laughing about this team and Jaguars fans are 75% tarps!

jags

Everybody out there I spoke with about their team – Bears fans, Bills fans, Raiders fans (!), Chargers fans…all had reasons for optimism about their team’s futures but would scoff if I attempted to even bring up a shred of a positive word about the Jets in the past, present or future.

Media perception and coverage can have some kind of effect. Was the 2012 New York Jets season the most toxic 6-10 season in NFL history? It seems to have effectively erased all memories of their 2009 and 2010 playoff runs. There was such a saturation of media coverage of such a mediocre team last year (TE-TE-TE-BOWWWW) that it seemed to knock 5 games off the Jets final record and put them down to 1995 levels of respect.

Let’s not sugarcoat anything, the Jets were a very bad football team last year. They had a horrific, talentless offense that looked like it never practiced together. It was led by a bizarre quarterback shuffle captained by the worst season of Mark Sanchez’s increasingly nightmarish career.

So now the Jets are doing what teams do when they load up for a Championship run but ultimately fall just short. And yes, the Jets were just short of reaching a Super Bowl in consecutive years. They were a Sione Pouha sack away from getting the ball back with 2 minutes left to complete what would have been one of the greatest comebacks in NFL playoff history. 24-0 brought all the way back to 24-19 by a respectably competent Sanchez. The “softest, most mentally weak, feeble minded California sun loving hippie baby” as some Jets fans will call him now putting up a 20/33, 233 yard, 2 TD, 0 turnover performance in Pittsburgh in January. Where did the time go?

Miscalculated decisions meant to desperately cling on to 2009/2010 success went awry which is why Mike Tannenbaum is now the 14th best in studio analyst at the NFL Network. The Jets crapped out in December from 8-5 to 8-8 in 2011 and then had their 6-10 season under the bright lights of the ESPN microscope. And now they are rebuilding. You know the thing that Cleveland, Buffalo, Miami (and on and on) have been doing in perpetuity the past two decades? Or more accurately, the thing that every team who has a chance to moderately successful this season did at some point in the last 4-5 years.

Football teams are always rising and falling. In 2009, the Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl. Last year they couldn’t beat a Greg McElroy led team. In 2011 the Indianapolis Colts were the worst team in the league, last year they are in the playoffs. Seattle went 5-11, 7-9. 7-9 before turning into one of the most promising young teams in the NFL last year. The Minnesota Vikings were in the 2009 NFC Championship Game, then were terrible for two years, then made the playoffs last year and now are considered the 30th best team in the NFL by many heading into 2013.

The point is…yes, the Jets are bad right now. Go look at that depth chart. Really look at it. God, that’s bad right? Yet, what we have seen so far is a sensible, cap-clearing off-season from new GM John Idzik. More flexibility. More money freed up. More draft picks. Maybe some semblance of a plan for the future? Take away the ESPN-ized, New York Daily News TMZ bright lights and you just have another team who bottomed out and now needs to build themselves back up.

Maybe I’m ranting or maybe my mind is mushy from trying to most closely replicate this commercial they always play during Knicks games but that’s just the thoughts of this blogger.

Other Jets/Vegas observations

- A fairly slow news weekend in Jets world which was nice. I was afraid I’d find out the Jets had traded Darrelle Revis for a 2015 6th round pick and Ronde Barber leading to me ending up on a mattress on top of Caesar’s. The latest rumor is that the Jets are either looking at a 2014 first and second rounder OR a 2013 first rounder and third rounder. If you know you can’t get Revis long term for under 16 million per year, I’m not hesitating to take either deal. Every indication is that we are at stare-down point between Idzik and the Tampa Bay Bucs (the only serious bidder left). There is no rush to force this through prematurely.

- Things seem to be quieting way down on the free agency front for the Jets but keep in mind how the Willie Colon and Antonio Garay signings basically came out of thin air. It would not be surprising if the Jets still added a safety, guard or wide receiver at some point.

- If the interest was genuine, Fred Davis would be a nice, needed signing for this offense.

- Vegas at March Madness is everything you’d expect it to be and more. I spent time at the sports-books of the Hard Rock, Las Vegas Hilton, The Venetian, Caesar’s, and Rio and my personal preference was Hard Rock.

  • KAsh

    A 6-10 team has not really “bottomed out,” imho. The Jets had an awful season BECAUSE they were expected to excel and then underwhelmed. Everyone expected the Jags, the Raiders, the Bills and the Browns to fail. As far as fans are concerned, that is their M.O. But this was supposed to be the year our veterans returned to old form through speed. The year Holmes returned to being a No. 1 receiver. The year we shocked everyone with a wildcat tandem at QB. The year that Brady had to beat out the Bengals to go to the playoffs.

    But it wasn’t. And that’s why everyone is depressed.

    Of course, it does not help that the Jets are in the media market of the two biggest rags in the continental U.S. And it does not help that, in a sick attempt to boost circulation, these papers publish slanders and add mysterious “sources” to avoid libel. So, not only does the team appear to be sinking while everyone else is righting ship, but this looks to be the only boat that is rat-infested.

  • Jim

    It will take a year to two to wipe away the media circus bs from the past few years. So happy Idzik is handling the organization this way & the leaks have stoppped!

  • mike

    ok i agree but the tebow trade really was an utter disaster. set the team back quite a ways.

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  • MarcoDjet

    you mention how teams rise and fall. can’t help but notice that gaining or losing a top qb is the reason, for almost every team you mentioned. without a top quarterback you can only go so far.

  • Lidman

    If Mark Sanchez returns to his 2010 form, how much better would the NYJ be? I don’t know if he will, or can. I do know that QB was good enough to lead the team to victory, in Indy, on the last drive of the game. He was also the main reason, they had any chance against Pittsburgh. We can talk about ‘make up’, ‘skill set and ‘weapons’. One thing that needs to improve is keeping your QB upright. One thing Sanchez has proven: he’s a tough kid. He’s gotten the snot beaten out of him the past 2 seasons and he’s always answered the bell and he’s never thrown anyone under the bus. If there were an RG3, or Luck, on the horizon, I’d be all for it. There isn’t. All the QBs talked about have question marks. They could turn out great and they could all be equal to or worse than Sanchez.

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