By Jason Keidel
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Since Woody Johnson’s echo and ego flow one way – contrary to sound football fundamentals – let’s assume for a moment that there will be a “Hard Knocks” crew circling Gang Green this summer.
And for that, we should be grateful.
Not because it will help the Jets become a better team. Indeed, not only has no “Hard Knocks” subject won a Super Bowl in the same season, but also the Jets are so wonderfully crafted to be caged and prodded, like a blind beast snapping in every direction, biting only itself.
This will do wonders for Mark Sanchez, whom Doctors Drew, Phil and Oz couldn’t repair after the irreparable emasculation the Jets exacted on the young quarterback. It may be hard to recall now, but Sanchez actually led the team to the AFC title game – twice. And if he wins a Lombardi Trophy, he will be the first gelding to do so.
The Jets court Peyton Manning, then whiff, then bump Sanchez’s salary, then trade for Tim Tebow, then Rex Ryan says Tebow will get 20 snaps a game, then Mike Tannenbaum says Tebow provides “roster efficiency,” then says Sanchez was always the starting quarterback.
And since Woody Johnson’s brainchild will squirt out like Damien, it’s only proper that HBO film it from the womb. What better way to learn the kind of contrarian’s chemistry it takes to spawn such a dysfunctional family?
The Jets fancy themselves as some exotic delicacy when really they’re just fresh meat for vultures, pundits, and satirists to skin when they’re bored. They gave me at least four columns when there was nothing notable in New York except the Rangers. (Hardly a hockey fan, I’ve been to more Virginia Slims matches than Rangers games.)
Though New York is a baseball town, Opening Day means nothing other than it’s Opening Day – which is not really Opening Day because some buffoon thought it brilliant to start the season in March in Japan. (Ostensibly because Japan hasn’t discovered our pastime.) Was something wrong with Cincinnati? That seemed to work for about a century. Anyway, Opening Day does little more to solve the pennant races than the day before. It’s just the first of 162. So I say thank you, Jets.
Woody Johnson wants headlines. On that subject our city is simpatico. What everyone but the shampoo heir understands is that the best way to bogart the bold ink is to win a Super Bowl – something the Jets haven’t done since our mothers were sitting on their hair in Central Park.
True sports fans generally don’t have a “B Team” – a fallback squad on whom you rely when your true love lets you down. But since I’m a Steelers fan you can imagine my fondness for the Jets is purely for entertainment purposes. They’re just so damn charming as football’s patron saint of lost causes.
I will spend much of this year on the tightrope between my impulses to love Tim Tebow as a person and loathe him as a player. And I will resist the impulse to italicize Tebow’s virtues because his growing congregation, a displaced ministry with no allegiance to football beyond where He plays. Poseurs of the worst order, they started praying for me and inviting me to Bible study, which was more uncomfortable than hearing Bill Clinton talk about blue dresses.
The Jets know about conflicting impulses. They drafted Revis, Ferguson, Mangold, Harris, and Keller. Then they trade for Tebow, whom I don’t blame for his cult following. Sometimes doing the right thing attracts odd followers. He’s just an admirable young man in a rather unadmirable situation. And while the Jets are right to think they need an act of God make them winners, their backup quarterback is just a man who completes 46 percent of his passes.
If HBO indeed follows Gang Green again, the world will see that the Jets have safeguarded the battle cry of the Brooklyn Dodgers: Wait Until Next Year. Once that year finally arrived for Dem Bums, they moved to California. But we’re stuck with the Jets, for better or worse. For the better part of four decades, it’s been worse.
Feel free to email me: Keidel.firstname.lastname@example.org
Forget the entertainment factor. Do you think it makes any football sense at all for the Jets to do “Hard Knocks”? Be heard in the comments below