New York Jets Fans – Shut Up About The Tank

Joe Caporoso on why New York Jets tanking talk is nonsensical…

Many New York Jets fans believe the team should do everything in their power to tank the rest of the season for a higher draft pick. This is not going to happen for a number of reasons, let’s outline why you are wasting your breath yelling about the “TANK!”

Recent History 

Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan have jobs they would like to keep. They are not immune to the recent history of this franchise and fanbase. After a slow start in the second year of his tenure, Jets GM John Idzik was targeted by a vicious fan and media campaign to have him fired. If the Jets had tanked their previous two games, Bowles/Maccagnan would be pacing all of two games ahead ahead of Idzik/Rex Ryan at this point their Jets tenure. You think they are going to oversee intentional losses, when each passing loss increases the demand for their job from fans and media members? This fanbase and marketplace has zero patience for an actual rebuild (unfortunately) or for a tanked season. It is laughable to think either Bowles or Maccagnan would intentionally open themselves up to be the next target of a billboard/plane campaign.

The Business 

Woody Johnson cares about having a sellable product and business decisions are regularly integrated into football decisions for the Jets, whether you like it or not. There can be football value in decisions but you have your head in the sand if you don’t think decisions like Brett Favre, Tim Tebow and bringing Darrelle Revis back were not significantly motivated by business interests. It is bad for business and the brand to be 2-8 heading into a primetime game against New England. It is better for business and the brand to be 5-5, with theoretical playoff hopes alive. The Jets have 5 home games left, 3 of which are in primetime (and cannot be flexed). There is no interest in throwing games to decrease the watchability of those games.

The Draft 

A higher draft pick does not guarantee anything. Let’s look at the Jets franchise since 2000.

Top Ten Picks

  • Leonard Williams
  • Mark Sanchez
  • Vernon Gholston
  • Dee Milliner
  • D’Brickashaw Ferguson
  • Dewayne Robertson

Picks Outside Top Ten (in first round)

  • Darron Lee
  • Sheldon Richardson
  • Calvin Pryor
  • Quinton Coples
  • Muhammad Wilkerson
  • Kyle Wilson
  • Darrelle Revis
  • Nick Mangold
  • Jonathan Vilma
  • Bryan Thomas
  • Santana Moss
  • John Abraham
  • Shaun Ellis
  • Chad Pennington
  • Anthony Becht

Do you notice a discernible difference in the two groupings? I didn’t think so. The Jets best first round picks in the past 16 years have all come outside of the top ten, outside of D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

If you are focused on a quarterback, the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers are basically already locked into the top two picks and both are going to take a quarterback, which at best leaves the Jets with the third ranked quarterback in what is already regarded as a weak class. It is also a question if the Jets would even consider taking a quarterback in the first round after investing a second round pick on Christian Hackenberg, whether you want to hear that or not.

Did you need to tank to get Dak Prescott? Did you need to tank to get Derek Carr? Did the Eagles tank to get Carson Wentz or did they make a move to get their guy? It is not about the draft position. It is about finding the right player.

The Tape 

Every step a NFL player takes on the football field is filmed from multiple angles. Every guy out there is auditioning for their next contract…for their livelihood. The thought that players will not try as hard for the long term health of the franchise is asinine. Nobody is going to risk their money or their health (you can’t afford to go less than 100% on a NFL field…unless you are Darrelle Revis) for the risk of getting hurt.

So save your energy talking about the tank. The Owner is not on board because of his business interests. The GM/Coach are not board for their career interests. The players are not board because they are not going to risk getting hurt or impacting their next contract. And finally, a higher pick does not guarantee anything.

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Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports