Deep Dive – The New York Jets Are Making History

Joe Caporoso with a deep dive into the worst season in New York Jets history

The New York Jets have been a bad football team for a long time. If you are a fan around my age (33), you have seen two distinct eras of Jets football. From 1997 through 2010 the Jets were a team who won much more than they were given credit for and a consistent contender despite what felt like unnecessary and outdated “LOLJETS” jokes. From 2011 until today, they are every bit the “LOLJETS” circus we were promised before that 14 year stretch of sustained competence. This “era” of Jets football is on track to peak in a historical way in their tenth straight season of missing the playoffs, a drought that will put them potentially in the top five of all big four professional sports teams and potentially number one in the NFL, if the Browns and Bucs make it to the postseason this year. 

0-16 is very much on the table for this Jets team. The organization deserves it and if you are a fan of this team, you deserve it too.

The organization deserves the historical stain and embarrassment for obvious reasons. They have strung along fans with promises of an evolving rebuild since the end of 2012, maintained a foolhardy GM/HC reporting structure funneled through ownership and trusted critical decisions to incompetents like Korn Ferry and Charley Casserly. They knee capped their 2013 GM search by refusing to give up on a washed Rex Ryan. They knee capped their 2019 HC search by refusing to give up on the worst GM in the NFL, Mike Maccagnan. They mucked up hiring Matt Rhule at the one yard line and were swayed by a Peyton Manning phone call, like a drunk teenager to hire the most uninspiring Head Coach imaginable to lead their organization and shepherd development for their young quarterback, Adam Gase.

Through it all they have talked to their fans like they are idiots. There is no mandate to make the playoffs. There is lavished praise on offensive innovation while the unit produces a historically low amount of points and yards . There is yearly, empty, feckless talk about a culture change. There is a newly hired GM constrained by ownership with spending in his first full offseason so a prospective “savior” for the franchise is surrounded by middling journeymen. In a football age of parity, speed, offensive domination and progressive analytics based thinking, the Jets have been rubbing two sticks together in a pile of mud while acting like the smartest people in the room.  They deserve a 0-16 hung around their neck for posterity, especially ownership and Adam Gase.

Why do fans deserve 0-16 this season? It is the best thing that could happen to this team in 2020. Fans did not deserve another aimless 5-11 or 7-9 season to have false hope peddled off of. It has been beyond exhausting to watch excuses, equivocations and justifications made for repeated poor decisions and poor performances from this team. There was no reason for any optimism around the hiring of Adam Gase, it was a terrible decision to even interview him, nevermind hire him. There was nothing more predictable than this going up in flames and representing it otherwise was disingenuous. Nobody wanted to hear it but this hire did not deserve a chance. Similarly, puffing up the Jets 7-9 record last season as a sign of progress or harbinger of things to come is a dead giveaway to having no idea what you were watching week to week, either that or you are gaslighting.

The fan base needs a shock to the system after digesting such horrific football for a decade. It has understandably broken the brains of some. It did not need another 5-11 season that would be used as a justification to keep Gase around for another year or two and another offseason of gassing up mediocre players as good, okay players as great and pretty good players as All-Pros. You can’t normalize this dysfunctional of a football team who has played nine glorified preseason games so far this season, while executing little league caliber game plans.

As a cherry on top and a deserved cherry at that for their suffering, the Jets are on track to get the first overall pick in a NFL Draft that has a generational quarterback prospect, Trevor Lawrence from Clemson. Even if they do not land the first overall pick there is a strong consolation prize available in Justin Fields from Ohio State. They have a second first round pick to utilize and an additional third round pick to utilize because their GM has shrewdly parted ways with low value positions to hopefully use draft capital on positions that impact the win and loss column: quarterback, offensive line, edge rusher, cornerback and to a lesser extent, wide receiver. Nobody cares about interior defensive linemen. Nobody cares about safeties. Nobody cares about inside linebackers. Nobody cares about stopping the run. Score points, force turnovers and sack the quarterback. Shut up about pressures and run stuff rate while the team loses by double digits every single week.

This has been a decade of Jets football highlighted by compiling defensive linemen and endlessly debating their value, overpaying for free agents at non premium positions (CJ Mosley, Matt Forte, Le’Veon Bell…yes I was wrong about pursuing him and assuming the Jets could use him properly), paying players after obvious outlier seasons (Henry Anderson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin), ignoring the offensive side of the football (they didn’t use a single first round draft pick on offense from 2010 through 2019, outside of Sam Darnold) and fans celebrating random, productive 3.5 game stretches from individual players, convinced it will carry over to a full season when it never does. It needs to end. 0-16 is the right type of exclamation point to do just that, similar to how 1-15 in 1997 was the right exclamation point to end that era of Jets incompetence.

Rebuilds do not need to be 3-5 year processes in the NFL. At this time last season, Miami (now freed from Adam Gase) was 0-7, then they beat Gase, finished the season 5-4 and are now 5-3 with a Head Coach and quarterback they feel great about, with talent spread around the roster. With the right coach and the right quarterback this can happen quickly, the process of getting those pieces will unquestionably be aided by going 0-16. Jets fans generally seem to get this and have been able to find some enjoyment in this bizarre season by uniformly rooting for the team to lose each week…that’s the point we have reached with this organization, where the educated thing to do is hope an awful Patriots team squeaks out a win against them in primetime

Welcome the history Jets fans, welcome the 0-16 and hope it turns the page on this period of Jets football. Outside of a small handful of pieces everybody associated with the organization in 2020 can go, along with all the deck chair on the Titanic debates around this awful roster and coaching staff. With the right hire and the right quarterback, the organization can hopefully move forward to actually embracing where the league is going.

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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