Green Lantern: Alas, Lonely Jets Fans With Their Noses Pushed Up Against The Glass

Sunday's Nightmare Super Bowl Matchup Will Be Just That ... If You Let It Be

By Jeff Capellini, CBSNewYork/

NEW YORK (WFAN) — As far as many Jets fans are concerned, the world came to an end the second Lawrence Tynes’ overtime field goal zipped through the uprights at Candlestick Park.

The Giants’ win over the 49ers in the NFC title game, coupled with the Lee Evans-Billy Cundiff fiasco up in Foxborough earlier in the day, paved the way for a Super Bowl rematch that has left a good percentage of the Tri-State Area and all of New England just giddy.

Everyone seems to be enjoying the party, except, of course … yup, you got it.

To the irrational Jets fan these are once again trying times. The drought is now at 43 years and counting. And just to add insult to injury, either the team they loathe the most or the one that truly runs things up in this piece will be champions again inside of a week.

Many view what transpired on conference championship Sunday as yet another example of God giving them the shaft or forces of nature once again conspiring to keep the Jets down. So what you’ve heard on the radio or read on the Internet over the last eight or nine days has been ceaseless complaining, whining and histrionics. The Jets fan has launched a counter offensive against humanity, while hunkered down in his or her man cave, armed only with a laptop or a cell phone.

But from where I’m sitting, somebody needs to man up already.

I’m not speaking to everyone, obviously. There are many fans who turned the page on 2011 the second the Jets spit the bit in Miami or minutes later when the Titans did what they needed to do in Houston. But there are plenty of people out there who immediately resorted to the completely unjustified “Same Old Jets” lamenting of what could have been. They then turned up the volume on “woe is me,” or “us,” as the case may be, when the Giants and Patriots embarked and then made good on their runs toward Feb. 5.

It was rather pathetic to read the constant crying on sites like Twitter about how so many people would be passing on watching the Super Bowl in favor of something else, as if there’s actually anything of note to view on Super Sunday besides the big game. Trust me, your friends over at the NHL and NBA are not going to help you out on this one.

Furthermore, last I checked it hasn’t snowed all that much, people. There’s nothing to shovel. And if chopping wood is your thing, well, good luck with that, especially at 6:45 p.m. when it’s pitch black outside.

Face it, you’re watching the game.

I get that whining and bitching is part of a fan’s rite of passage. We all, from time to time, lose our minds and act like children when things don’t go our way, but many Jets fans take this immature approach to an often embarrassing extreme. They become the Picassos of self pity, painting themselves on a canvas hiding under rocks like Cubs fans, almost relishing joyously in the fact that they never get over that hump, like losing or failing is suddenly this badge of honor, one that separates them from everyone else and is therefore worth applauding as a sign of serious loyalty and conviction.

It’s not. It’s weakness.

I understand the frustration that goes with being a fan of the Jets as well as anyone, and that includes the old-timers that bought tickets at Shea back in the day when they were cast off by the aristocratic fan base across town. I’ve watched the follies that have replaced seasons of promise for 34 years. I’ve been abused and berated in a manner that a lesser man would have done something about long ago.

But, really, what can you do? As much as the Jets fan wants to cry and act like his or her team just finished 2-14 and has no hope going forward, it’s just not the case. The truth is the Jets fan has actually had it pretty good over the last 15 years. If you think otherwise, just look at the facts:

* Overall record: 128-112 (.533 winning percentage)

* Playoff record: 8-7

* 3 AFC Championship game appearances

* 3, I repeat, 3 losing seasons

The last statistic is key because although the idea is to end the championship drought that dates to Joe Willie and his white shoes, the Jets have proven to be a highly competitive franchise in a league that is rife with parity and seemingly gets stronger from top to bottom every single season.

The Jets have basically been in at least the playoff conversation 80 percent of the time since 1997. So, excuse me if I don’t go walking into traffic following an 8-8 season, especially when it appears that the core of what has made the Jets successful during the Rex Ryan regime will remain in tact for the foreseeable future.

Yeah, I understand what the expectations were coming into 2011. If you didn’t you were completely clueless, but I’m of the belief that all powerhouse teams take steps back from time to time. The team’s fall from grace this season wasn’t pulled off in typical Jets fashion. You didn’t see the lack of talent that plagued the franchise for much of the the 1970s, a good portion of the ’80s and the majority of the ’90s.

The truth is the Jets were their own worst enemy in 2011, as has been well documented in the weeks since the disaster in Philadelphia that led to the eventual December collapse that sent them home to clean out their lockers.

But as we speak, steps are being taken to fix the problems, both player personnel- and coaching-wise, to get the Jets back up on the horse next season. I honestly expect them to tweak what needs to be tweaked, to give enigmatic quarterback Mark Sanchez a complete makeover and to finally transform this very good defense from a less scheming operation into more of a straight-up dominant and in-your-face operation, as has been teased since the start of 2009.

Now, please understand, I’m not saying the Jets are winning the Super Bowl next season. I, unlike their coach, often really think things through before I open my yap, but Ryan, himself, seems to understand the error of his ways, and while I wouldn’t expect him to be mute next season, he will channel the bravado of prediction into more of a rallying cry to instill confidence, as I assume was his initial intention before it went off the rails and became more important than the team’s actual problems on the field.

My biggest problem with the fan base is this constant lamenting of what other teams do. Like it really matters. The reality is it should make no difference in the grand scheme of things who wins the Super Bowl if it’s not the Jets. You should just tip your cap to the team that does and move on.

For some, worrying about the Giants hoisting another Lombardi Trophy is probably because you took your cue from Rex and shot your mouth off this season. The truth is Eli Manning winning his second ring will have no bearing on whether Sanchez will or will not read a defense going forward.

The Jets fan, like the Mets fan, has this ridiculous inferiority complex when it comes to “status.” I’ll never understand it. I don’t live in Nebraska and watch the Jets on satellite every weekend. I live in Westchester County, the aristocracy to end all aristocracies. Giants fans are everywhere, and in overwhelming numbers. You just have to deal with it, mostly by doing the only thing you’re really equipped to do.

And that’s worrying about your own team.

If Tom Brady gets his fourth ring, will that in any way alter the Jets’ inability to sack the quarterback? Will it suddenly turn their passing game into this vertical force? Will it help them successfully set up a screen pass more than once a month? Will it be the central preoccupation in their war room on draft day as they look to solidify their linebacking corps and safety positions?

No. The only thing either the Giants or the Patriots winning another title would possibly do is act as more of a motivational tool and perhaps hasten the Jets’ belief that someone like Peyton Manning could be the answer, even though it now appears as if that pipe dream will never come to be. That is if you believe that which has been reported of late.

Jets fans need to stop envying everyone else, quit playing the loveable loser card publicly and cut out this nonsense of turning on their team on a dime at the first sign of adversity. You combine those three failures and it goes way beyond what any group of typical fans of any professional sports franchise does on a daily, weekly or yearly basis.

Sure, we can laugh about losing or falling short or getting our hearts ripped out and we can joke around about documentaries that focus on the often-painstaking process of what it takes to to be a fan of this franchise, but it should never be more than in passing and should never become the norm. The Jets are the only ones who can end their championship futility. Another team, be it your most hated rival or the big brother across town, once again ruling the roost is something to be quietly applauded as a sign of respect. You don’t have to like it, but crying about it? Give me a break.

The bottom line is, don’t write checks the Jets can’t cash. Hold them accountable. Demand more of them.

But quit acting like a have-not, because you have plenty.

Read more columns by Jeff Capellini

If you had to pick a team to root for on Super Bowl Sunday, who would it be? Please explain why in the comments section below …

  • Ed

    I’m a Jets fan since 98. I will watch Super Bowl I’m a NFL fan 2nd. I won’t pick a winner but predict that it will go into OT. I’m a pro-Rex guy but he is on a very short leash this fall. I’m use to bad endings with my Jets.

    97: Leon Johnson ill advise pass at Lions
    98: blow 10-0 at Denver
    99: Vinny gets hurt
    00: lose last 3 games
    01: blow AFC East to Pats on 12/2
    02: meltdown at Raiders
    04: Doug Brien
    07: Chad vs Clemens
    08: Chad hunting Jets on final day
    10: no show in 1st half at steelers
    11: lose last 3 games.

  • Master Shake

    As a Jet fan, so I root for whoever is playing against the Pats. In this case, it’s still a NY team against a Boston (or where ever the hell they are from) team, so GO NY!

  • Emi Rentals

    People, when and if you move out of the New York area you will start to appreciate all the teams you grew up with. Because when it comes down to it. you are a New Yorker.

    I am a Jets fan living in Miami and will be happy if the Giants beat the snot out of our division rival in the Super Bowl. The Giants are hardly our enemy playing every 4 years.
    Most Jet fans I know down here would love Rex gone, he puts both the fans and his Team in a bad situation with his Bravado.

  • Hank

    Powerhouse team? The Jets? Where are they a Powerhouse?
    The Jets and their windbag coach don’t get it, ALL the teams want to win the Superbowl. And all the teams are trying to improve. No one is standing around waiting for the Jets to get better.
    You forgot to mention the Jets lost 3 Championship games.

    • Chuck

      I have been a JETS since the early 60’s, have become friends with retired JETS and know some GIANTS. I am tired of hearing the JETS fans blame everything on the quarterback and the coach, now and in the past. I present two thoughts to all you JETS fans. First: like Lombardi always said, “who ever controls the line of scrimage will win in the long run.” Second: over the years how many interviews have you heard with players who are stars on a playoff team that signed them from the GIANTS (or Patriots for that matter). How many interviews have you heard just this year from players on playoff teams that were former JETS. JETS have always wanted to sell tickets based on one or two “stars” surrounded by C and C+ players. GIANTS have always tried to provide a B+ roster. When is the blame from the fans going to be laid at the feet of the General Manager and Ower(s). Yes, you also Leon if you are looking down.

    • Lantern

      Hank, thanks for the comment. Obviously you hate the Jets so what I say doesn’t really matter, but losing all three championship games is immaterial to the conversation. If I say Jets fans walk around like their team is a sub-.500 bunch than the mere fact that they’ve gotten to three AFC title games in the last 15 years is appropriate in proving my point that they have been far from a losing or mediocre operation during that time span.

      Also, the Jets took a step back this season. Nothing more or less. Coming into the season they were clearly a powerhouse team, as evidenced by the fact that they made it to the final four two straight years. I do agree they have work to do to get back to that level of respect.

      • Hank

        Sorry losing two championships doesn’t make you a powerhouse. The Jets took a step back this year because there was a salary cap and they couldn’t spend like drunken sailors as they did the previous two. Also they were well on the way to being the same .500 team in 2009 until the Colts and Bengals handed them two wins. Winning 2 division titles in the last 40 years hardly gives you the right to call them a powerhouse.

        • Lantern

          You’re hung up on one word out of 1,700, dude. This is typical of readers unwilling to make concessions and look at articles objectively. I’d be interested in what you would have had said if I’d use the word “good” instead of powerhouse. But if that’s all you have to complain about on the piece, more power to you.

  • walter

    that and he worked for the Giant’s and saw the Jets don’t have the same organization.

    • facts

      Actually that is not true- He readily admits it was hard for him to leave the Jets, because he had been treated very well by Leon Hess. He actaully gave him a $1MM bonus to stay on as DC. In the end, the spector of following in Parcells shadow and Parcells still staying on as consultant was too much for him to bear / deal with. Felt he needed a fresh start – and NE gave him that.

  • facts

    Yeah Wally there is a reason he left. It’s called Parcells shadow!!!!!

  • walter

    Also correction you must be young and don’t remember the jets AFC mud bowl game.The Jets have been in the AFC championship game 4 not 3 times :)

    • Lantern

      Walter, thanks for your many comments but I was speaking of the last 15 years when discussing the AFC title game appearances.

  • facts

    Sorry Jeff – L follow your logic, but my response is: ” Waaahhhh!!! I want a Super bowl too!!!!!

    • Lantern

      I have no idea what that even means. LOL.

      • Facts

        Just a play on substance of oyour article. Even thought you say we act as have nots, we are clearly the inferior team in our town and divison.

        Hence : We want a super Bowl too!!!

        Am I jealous? Damn right I am. My friends, who are fellow 20+ plus year seasont icketholders, and I even joke that the super Bowl is someone e;ses game, where you go to a party have few drinks and casually enjoy it. Its not for our team or our fans to enjoy. I guess when you are 49 years old and your team has not made it in 43 yrs, this is to be somewhat expected.

        If they ever win the Super Bowl again, I will know exactly what Rangers fans felt in 1994.

  • Jimmy

    funny, I thought the Jets world came to an end the moment Victor Cruz ran by the Jets defense.

    That was do or die for both teams and the better team prevailed. Jets season was over that day.

    But if you’re really are going to stump and throw dirt on the Jets grave what better way than to have both the Giants & Patriots in the Super Bowl.

    Must be tough because Jets fans had hotel & airfare booked for the Super Bowl by September.
    LOl, LOL

    • facts

      Sorry Jimbo – but you are confusing our bombastic coach with fans that know better. I don’t know of any Jets fan that thought a Super Bowl was guaranteed this year. As a matter of fact, after the opening game win vs. Dallas, there was no celebrating or whooping it up. The fans were kind of stunned how mediocre we were. I walked out of that game and said: “If we play like this all year, we will be lucky to play.500

      Jet fans do not share the bombastic personality traits of their coach. Rather they are resigned that somehow fate will catch up to them every year and derail their championship dreams

      • Jimmy

        Yeah, I’m sure you said that. Now that the season is over, the Jets are not in Indianapolis, you can now make that statement and want people to believe you actually said ” “If we play like this all year, we will be lucky to play.500″

        Good one.

        You’re also contradicting yourself “The fans were kind of stunned how mediocre we were”

        Stunned, in order words, I’m right. Jets fans thought the Jets were the team to this year’s Super Bowl. Why then would they be stunned.

        Those are the facts

        • Facts

          Jimbo – Interesting that you believe my comments about being stunned, but not about opening nite – but whatever.

          Re: being stunned, yes that is accurate, because there was HOPE that we MIGHT be able to take the next step. instead, that nite, the Jets showed a lot of flaws and were lucky to win.

          Believe me, as a long time Jets fan you do not assume success is a given or that you will just march on to the Super Bowl for examples you have to look no further than 1983, 1986, 1998, 2009 and 2010. Something always goes wrong or we are just not good enough

        • Lantern

          Jimmy and facts, many the Jet fan had high hopes for this season and, yes, many started drinking the Rex Kool-Aid. But then again it was hard to blame them. In my opinion, something was wrong from the get-go. A championship-caliber team does not do an offensive philosophy course correction after five games. This was a major red flag in my eyes and it just got worse from there.

          Also, I think the Jets handled the post-lockout time frame a lot worse than many teams. They threw Band-Aids at problems and said goodbye to many of the players that helped them become who they had become. They took away some of Sanchez’s comfort zone targets as well.

          t’s almost as if the front office said “Look, we’re gonna fly by the seat of our pants this season, but keep a confident public face. You never know.” But after acting like that they still sat some $8 million or so under the cap and didn’t use it to fix needs, like right tackle or along the line after losing Turner. Something wasn’t right. It’s almost as if they purposely were saving their cash. Maybe for 2012. We’ll see.

      • Lantern

        facts, good point, but believe me when I tell you that the younger generation of Jets fan, not all but many, completely buy into this bombastic approach. It speaks to the culture of the country over the last decade. Less respect for others and more about “me.”

  • walter

    I’m a jet fan and i’ll be watching the Giants on sunday.their a class organization,give their fan a superbowl team every 5 years and don’t whine when they lose.The Jets organization needs to man up and fix what’s wrong with it.There’s a reason the Pats coach left the jets after 24 hour’s as a Jets coach.

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