This Sunday was supposed to be such a big day for the Jets, with Belichick and Brady and the Patriots coming into MetLife Stadium. It is always a big day when the Patriots are in town, because they have been the giants the Jets have been looking to slay, for a long time, as much as they’ve been looking to slay the real football Giants in Jersey.
The Patriots, in this century, have been what Michael Jordan’s Bulls were to the Knicks in the ’90s, except for this: The Knicks of the ’90s, with Riley and Patrick and Oak and the rest of them, were a worthy contender to Michael Jordan, even if they couldn’t make it past them until Michael was off playing minor-league baseball.
The Jets got the Patriots good one time, in Foxborough, in the playoffs of January 2011, when the Patriots were 14-2 and sure they were on their way to the Super Bowl. The Jets knocked them off and made it to the AFC Championship Game, only then it was one more year when the Jets didn’t win the Super Bowl, or even make it there. You know the deal. Even though we’re only moving up on half-a-century, they’re our Cubs. Well, them and the Knicks. Even coming off a 10-win season that looked like a playoff season until they couldn’t beat Rex in Buffalo, the Jets are as far away from the Super Bowl as they could be — as they’ve ever been.
So maybe now that the owner of the team has helped get Donald Trump elected President, he can take a long, hard look at his organization, and the way top-flight organizations are supposed to work in sports.
I got this email on Saturday from a smart, passionate, lifelong Jets fan I know:
“In the end, it comes down to the owner. He got the team nearly 17 years ago… and in that time, his Jets have hosted one — ONE — playoff game. What can he do differently? Build a strong football operation and let football people make football decisions. Look at their chain of command as it is currently constructed — where an inexperienced head coach Todd Bowles inexplicably reports into the owner and not the GM — and you know they still don’t have it right.
“The Jets have a taller order than 28 other NFL teams because they have to chase the model NFL organization in the New England Patriots. Oh well, them’s the breaks. When the Red Sox finally took down the New York Yankees, where did it start? By cleaning up the dysfunctional mess behind the scenes and settling on one of the smartest and most creative front offices in the game.”
For now, though, there is just this game today at MetLife, one that feels like the whole Jets season.
If the Jets are going to play Ryan Fitzpatrick, if they’re electing to throw him out there and not find out more about Bryce Petty — unless Mike Maccagnan and Bowles think they know enough about Petty already — then they might as well show some pride and actually win the game. This is as close to a playoff game as the Jets are going to have. And if they show up big today, when do they show up the rest of the way? Or are we going to continue to talk about how mean and hard the schedule was in September and October, as if that’s an excuse for a season as sad and dreary as the sad, dreary seasons Rex’s Jets produced at the end?
Woody Johnson conducted a good and proper search when he hired Maccagnan and then the two of them hired Bowles. He did things the right way for a change. But right now, today, with the Jets’ record what it is, with them at the bottom of the AFC East, there is no way for anybody to be sure that he was right about either one of them.
The last season when John Idzik and Rex Ryan were in charge, the Jets were 4-12 and it got both of them fired, Idzik after just two years on the job. Now the Jets are 3-7 and here is the schedule the rest of the way, after the Patriots:
And just so you know? As bad as the 49ers are, the Jets have to play them in Santa Clara. So if you’re thinking that is a Sunday when the Jets automatically get well, think again.
Christian Hackenberg, the latest kid they drafted at quarterback, is 21 years old. Who knows when we will find out if he has the game to be an NFL quarterback, if he does have the game to be an NFL quarterback. When the season is over, you know that there will be a market for Tony Romo, even if he is 36 years old, even if he basically broke a bone this season the first time he got hit in the preseason. There is already talk that John Elway might go after Romo, and see if he can get a Lombardi Trophy with Romo the way he did with an aging Peyton Manning.
But even if the Jets expressed interest, even if they brought the New York market to the table, ask yourself a question: Why would Romo come here if he wanted the chance to finally win a Super Bowl?
Jets owner Woddy Johnson needs to take a long, hard look at the way top-flight organizations are supposed to work in sports.
This will be six straight years out of the playoffs for the Jets. They certainly have had more bright spots over the past 15 years than the Knicks, who’ve won one playoff series in that time, have had. But as the Knicks show some life in the early innings of this NBA season, especially at the Garden, MetLife has turned into a dead zone again, at least when the Jets are playing.
Maybe the Jets show some life today. Maybe for one Sunday they look like the team they thought they might be this season, until the early schedule and their own lousy play, crushed them. A three-hour season for the Jets, starting at 4:25 p.m.
Landon’s season, Spags can coach & presidential talent . . .
– How can somebody other than Landon Collins be the leader in the clubhouse right now for Defensive Player of the Year?
Well, it turned out to be a not so fast deal with Tom Herman and the LSU job, right?
It is funny how these things work out, and it’s not just his basketball that’s in play, but I’m rooting harder for Carmelo Anthony than at any time since he came to New York.
I still want Porzingis to have the ball more than he does.
I still sort of wish Carmelo had thrown the kid the ball at the end of regulation Friday night.
And there are nights when No. 7 clearly looks as if he’s slowing down.
But the way he’s carried himself on the court, and with all the things he’s said about his country off the court, yeah, it’s hard not to root for the guy.
The way Texas played on Friday against TCU, you’re kind of surprised that Charlie Strong’s bosses didn’t fire him twice.
If the Giants take care of business today against the 0-and-a-million Browns, the schedule really is big fun the rest of the way.
A funny thing happened to Novak Djokovic on his way to maybe being the greatest men’s player of all time, didn’t it?
But then it wasn’t so terribly long ago that Tiger Woods was on his way to being the G.O.A.T, too.
I can’t believe it took me this long to read “The Graveyard Book” by the great, and I mean great, Neil Gaiman.
I’m getting more and more engaged with Kiefer Sutherland’s “Designated Survivor,” even though every time he’s faced with another crisis I just want to say, “Wait, you’re Jack Bauer.”
– One of the best parts of the Giants’ season, at least so far, is that Steve Spagnuolo, one of the best guys to ever have a big job in sports around here, is reminding people that he can still coach up a defense.
Apparently it’s not just Mike McCarthy who has a job for life with the Packers, it’s his boss Ted Thompson, too.
And while we’re on the subject of the Pack: If you think Dom Capers is still some kind of defensive genius, send up a flare.
The Jets are coming off a 10-win season that looked like a playoff season until they couldn’t beat Rex Ryan and his Buffalo Bills.
– When you look at the talent in the room the other day receiving Presidential Medals of Freedom — the short list is Michael Jordan, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Vin Scully, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ellen DeGeneres, Lorne Michaels —you don’t find yourself worrying all that much about making America great again.
The funniest part of the NCAA sanctions against Notre Dame, after making them vacate 21 victories from 2012 and 2013, was the $5,000 fine they tacked on.
Seriously, that ought to teach them in South Bend.
And for the last time:
If the NCAA is going to prosecute Notre Dame for its academic violations, when does it do the same for those fake African-American studies courses at North Carolina?
The selective justice in college sports continues to be breathtaking.
Kevin Durant seems to be bearing up fairly well under all the guilt we want him to be feeling for going to play with the Warriors.
– What’s a more powerful statement: The one Colin Kaepernick has made by kneeling during anthems, or the one Gregg Popovich made after the election?
Kaepernick knelt down, absolutely.
But Pop sure stood up.
– Finally today: A happy 18th birthday to my daughter, Hannah.
We’ve spent a lot of time in our family the past few days, asking whatever happened to the little girl in the mouse ears.
Well, we actually know what happened.
She grew into a beautiful young woman, who is smart and spirited and funny and talented.
I’ve always said, boy oh boy, what a girl.
But she really has become such an amazing young woman, on her way to college next year.
College better be ready.
College and the world.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News