Keidel: The New York Jets – A New Year’s Dud

By Jason Keidel
» More Columns

In a league built by parity, the Jets remain a parody.

Putting a January postmortem on the Jets has become as predictable as those galling, blinking Christmas atrocities beaming from your neighbor’s terrace right into your bedroom window, long after the season ends. And this year, the Jets made your New Year’s hangover historic. Indeed, blacking out and waking up in a dank Bangkok hotel room next to a monkey and Mr. Chow would be more pleasant than the dud your beloved Jets delivered.

In this, the 43rdconsecutive epitaph for a team that tinkers with new ways to lose, the Jets summoned the spirits of the Mud Bowl, throwing interceptions to jelly-belly linemen, surrendering chunks of yardage to the immortal Matt Moore and a no-name offense and a team formerly famous for its no-name defense.

The Jets lost to an inferior teamsans its most superior player (Reggie Bush). Miami had nothing to play for, while Rex Ryan said his was the team to pray for, imploring his fan base to light candles and hope for the best after his club would surely beat the Dolphins.

But the Jets’ performance made it all moot. You needn’t watch anything in the cube within your tube, one eye on Gang Green the other on the small screen. Didn’t matter if you watched the scoreboard or Ryan Seacrest.

Rex Ryan has never been penalized on the field for excessive celebration or taunting, but his haunting declarations will surely resonate among Woody Johnson’s corporate fiefdom and the team’s fandom. The (alleged) guru of defense – his sanctified unit somehow ranked seventh despite yielding more points than 21 teams – allowed that interminable, 21-play, 12-minute, 92-yard drive that could have been timed with a sundial. Ryan’s defense has surrendered 30 or more points five times this year (and 29 another time) – all of them losses.

So please resist your impulse to blame Brian Schottenheimer and Mark Sanchez. Ryan lost his grip on Gang Green this year. If their play weren’t putrid enough, the camera caught team captain Santonio Holmes shouting over Dustin Keller’s shoulder, reportedly at Wayne Hunter. After the spat someone from the sideline yanked Holmes from the game, where he plopped on the bench and ignored the final two minutes of the most important game of the season, an MVP of a Super Bowl brooding while his teammates plowed on, scoring a touchdown to shave the deficit to two points. Holmes’s pouting will serve as a sublime emblem for the 2011 season.

LaDainian Tomlinson said some scathing things about Holmes, implying that the star wide receiver quit on the team long before the televised temper tantrum in the huddle. And while Holmes will become the itch that Jets Nation can’t scratch, remember that the team folded long before the Santonio Saga..

Ryan said he didn’t know why Holmes was pulled, that he was surprised as the rest of us that his best offensive player wasn’t playing. Holmes said he had no idea why he was removed, either. But if a team captain goes rogue and quits on his team, that speaks right to the coach of the team.

Notice a theme? No one is capable or culpable, a team caught in a twisted omerta. This will be a cold, horrible winter for the haughty coach, who seems irrevocably cursed with the Ryan family’s foot-and-mouth syndrome. And Rex, who never met a microphone he didn’t love, will find that there’s a dark side to coaching in America’s media vortex, while his words, his gratuitous promises, boomerang back to him.

Bill Parcells once said you are what your record says you are. At 8-8, the Jets are more court jester than title contender. And Ryan’s act is getting ancient and pungent. But some will still defend him, buying into his bombast so thoroughly that the facts become incidental. And some of the Jets’ fan base is so jaded that mantras like losing two AFC title games are sufficient, a logical defense where losing is winning in the inverted world of a team that’s never had its own stadium. When you say the Jets lack identity, you can use almost infinite contexts. Making life exponentially worse, their co-tenants in MetLife (the Giants) handled their business, rendering the Meadowlands relevant for at least one more week.

Teams as historically inept as the Saints won a Super Bowl. The NFL thrives on the notion parity is the panacea for eternal incompetence. Even the moribund Lions, recently 0-16, clawed back to the playoffs. Tim Tebow, an embellished wishbone quarterback, squeaked into playoffs. But not the Jets. When you’re forced to dig four decades deep into the archives to find your last real winner, you’re a loser.

The Jets are little more than an amalgam of disparate parts, hollow promises, and suckers for 43 seasons. And you, the fan, will be asked to buy another lie, another lost season for whatever reason. If four decades haven’t deterred you, perhaps the pain has morphed into a kind of pleasure, a sporting masochism of microscopic expectations. The Jets have given you little reason to expect anything more than less. Just ask The Quotable Rex Ryan, assuming he’s still talking.

Feel free to email me:

  • Kurt Spitzner

    Off with his head,enough is enough!

  • problem #1

    solution to problem #1
    dump sanchez.

    problem solved.

  • Robert Richardson

    I won’t waste space re-hashing Rex Ryan’s bombastic, demonstrable rants. That’s so old now but what is alarming is the obvious loss of team control. This loss is been exemplified by your former Steeler (sup Holmes?). There was a good reason the Rooneys gave him away at a fire sale. Crowned team Captain (for reasons beyond my comprehension), Santonio Holmes only proceeded to disgrace himself, the Jets and Rex. His meltdown at the most important drive of the year was pathetic, TEAM CAPTAIN?! Are you kidding me? Then Rex, the HEAD COACH saying “I know he wasn’t in there, but I had no idea why” WHAT!!!!

    But the kicker was the press conference of 2 January and the whole state of denial and or bewilderment exhibited by Mike Tannenbaum and Rex. They talked as if the 2011 season was an aberration, they talked as if there wasn’t serious issues the team needed addressing. Besides the lack of talent, there are serious ‘team culture’ issues. They owed the J-E-T-S faithful more, they owe the J-E-T-S faithful … better.

  • Alex P.

    I’m a Giant fan so I watch the Jets we a great deal of detachment, but I agree with JK: the buck stops with Rex, and I think you can also say that Woody’s demand for instant success and recognition as a top team is also behind the current meltdown. This was bound to happen to a team that papered over inadequacies by signing stars in their twilight and signing a loud, bombastic head coach who would give fans all the trappings of a winner without actually winning. Because they were so afraid of failure, instead of building a team around Sanchez from the start, they treated Sanchez with kid gloves and merely asked him to not get in the way of what was a good defense and decent running game, which went to AFC title games in spite of the rookie QB. They need to take the kid gloves off and start raising expectations. Completions for over 30 yards–this is commonplace and expected in today’s NFL, but not in Jetland. I’ve heard people say that the Jets shouldn’t bring in a competent backup QB because they shouldn’t be sending the signal that they may be losing confidence in Sanchez. I say why the heck not?? Everyone else has lost confidence in Sanchez; he’s never really had to fight for a starting position in the NFL (no offense to Mark Brunell).

  • Wire2Wire

    Duped again.

    The worst thing thant could have happened to us ,was backing into the playoffs 3 yrs ago.Any team can get hot in the playoffs and unless it ends in a super bowl who cares.Backed in 2 yrs ago , and last year all the breaks @ denver P.i. on 4th down,@ detriot hurt kicker,hurt stafford,and detriot great time managment haha.if you like throw in the worst 40 seconds of defense played ever by houston …..The jets are a .500 team period ,Sancez is still yet to be seen as far as how good he is. He is 4 -2 in his playoff career but almost all of that credit to the run game and defense

    .(also forget to mention ,relatively healthy both first 2 years huge plus)

    What Jets fans need to remember is that the year before Sanchez ,Tannebaum built this team for win now.That team will fall apart soon…and it will be “the same old jets”. If jet fans could handle it the best thing would be is clean house (including tannebaum ) and build if possible around sanhez.

    • Jim inVA

      I agree totally with you Wire2Wire. The best thing would to be to clean house starting with Tannebaum. I could put up with another 2 years or so of losing records if the organization was solid. This organization is dysfuctionable, that starts with Woody. Does Woody really want the Jets to be a champion? What happens during the off season will go a long was to answering that question.

      • Wire2Wire

        I am not into the jets as much as i used to be and i have fantasy to thank for that, But ever since they got rid of chad the way they did for farve to win now I hada feeling things would never change . I was wrong they got breaks the jets never do,but what did they bring in troublemakers..they got rid of character guys for garbage.And why did Clemens never get the chance he wasnt that bad and he had a good work ethic look who he learned under, And yes Jim ….You nailed it dystfunctional.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live