By Jason Keidel
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I have two lifelong friends who were as different in demeanor and appearance as humanly possible. I won’t reveal their real names, but for the sake of this column, we’ll call them Dave and Butch.
Dave was always smaller than the average boy and, later, the average man. But he would fight anyone. What he lacked in size and sense he made up for with spunk and courage.
But when does courage become craziness?
Sometime around his 40th birthday I was stunned to see him with a closed left eye, the fruits of a fight the night before. He was walking down a Manhattan street, talking to a mutual friend, when someone passed by and told Dave to shut up. Over this nonsense, the two men threw down like a Jackie Chan movie at 2 a.m. No matter how old he gets, Dave wants to fight. It’s who he is.
Butch, on the other hand, was the baddest boy in the neighborhood. He was almost bionic, considerably stronger and faster than we were and imbued with his share of courage. Yet he rarely fought, because he knew his place in the pecking order and needn’t prove anything. He never started a fight, but he ended a few.
Don’t they remind you of the Jets and Giants?
The Jets flexed their Napoleon complex by trading for Tim Tebow – perhaps the last player they need right now. It was a way of acting out, Big Blue’s little bro showing the world that they can grab a headline or two, too.
Darrelle Revis, not prone to hyperbole, answered “Disarray” when ESPN asked about his team’s locker room. And Santonio Holmes, already far from the chairman of the Sanchez fan club, has already said he’d call for Tebow as soon as Sanchez stumbles, according to the Daily News. And this is while nothing important is occurring. Wait until training camp and the regular season and when Mark Sanchez throws a dying duck into the Meadowlands wind, dropping like a stone 10 yards short of the intended receiver.
Over on the sideline will be the Savior, on one knee, his uniform clean and his guns gleaming, while fans ten beers deep into the day implore Rex Ryan to insert Tebow. The irony will be that Tebow is probably praying for Sanchez.
I don’t think Tebow covets controversy. I think it pains him to ponder Sanchez’s predicament. But you don’t get where Tebow has gotten without an intense sense of competition, perhaps even a lust for conquest. No doubt he’s emboldened by his success with Denver and Rex Ryan’s assertions that Tebow could get up to 20 snaps per game.
Forget the fact that no team in my lifetime has won a Super Bowl by splitting snaps, this follows a confounding narrative from the Jets, who not only think they know better than the rest of mankind, but display a haunting kind of hubris in the face of rampant failure.
Mostly, I just feel for Jets fans, because they are faithful to a franchise that has never rewarded them. It’s easy to root for a team that always wins, hence my contempt for the Core Four Babies, who only know the Yankees that make the playoffs every year. They don’t know about the Mud Bowl or the Gastineau Game, or 10-0 in Denver at halftime of the AFC Championship, or 17-13 in Indianapolis at halftime of the same game.
And the danger with the Jets is that they become the Cubs, where losing becomes part of the charm. Name one Super Bowl champion that ran the Wildcat 20 times to victory. Take your time…
And that’s what Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan are force feeding you, this counterintuitive gibberish. When Tannenbaum uses corporate platitudes like “roster efficiency” to describe Tebow’s strengths, you know he’s covering up for his boss, Woody Johnson, who’s got the bars on his shoulders and bucks in his pocket to pull rank on football men who are better at making football decisions.
Though I was against landing Peyton Manning, we understood why the Jets tried and we would have accepted benching Sanchez for a four-time NFL MVP. Tebow is just good enough to start and bad enough to bench. But the force of his following and persona is unprecedented.
Even I smiled like a child during his press conference. Tebow is so comfortable with himself that he could hold a press conference underwater and not get wet. And this kind of comfort has made jaded men out of normally cutthroat personnel people, and turned cynical Jets fans into Tebow cheerleaders.
I’m stunned by the number of WFAN callers who assure us that this Tebow thing can work, while admitting that it would be the first time. Tebow’s spell is so strong that I practically clapped when he was done disarming the media in Florham Park. But let’s see who’s smiling come September and beyond when QB rating trumps Q rating.
Surely the Giants are secretly snickering at the Jets. Big Blue’s locker room, champagne-smeared with glittering Lombardi Trophies lining the corporate halls, stands in stark contrast to the Jets, who live only on legends of Joe Namath, on the other side of the Hudson, in a building that no longer exists.
Feel free to email me at Keidel.firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter here.
Do you agree that the Jets are just trying to outdo their “big bro” Giants this offseason? Sound off below…