By Jeff Capellini, WFAN.com
A win is a win. Unless, of course, your team happens to be the Jets. Then it’s an anomaly or a freak occurrence.
Over the last 24 hours there has been an overemphasis on just how lucky Rex Ryan’s bunch got on Sunday against Tampa Bay. Frankly, it’s doing nothing more than showing the critics’ true colors.
Instead of illustrating the fact that the outcomes of NFL games are very often extremely hard to predict, we’re left with the Jets being the pack of dogs who had the sun shine on their collective rear ends as the only reason why they are 1-0.
The Buccaneers gave them the game, apparently. As if it was this well-orchestrated ploy to call two timeouts and commit five penalties on one first-quarter drive, or that there were envelopes of cash slipped into Lavonte David’s luggage to make sure he’d smack Geno Smith while he was out of bounds in the game’s final minute.
Rather than the Jets being lauded for taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them, we’re left with calls for the Bucs to be shipped to the CFL. My guess is if any other team had beaten Greg Schiano’s group on Sunday we’d be reading a different kind of story.
The cliche “good teams make their own breaks” has been used so many times throughout history that’s why it’s called a cliche. It’s a phrase people fall back on when they really can’t explain why things happen the way they do. Call that saying a big copout if you want, but it often rings true.
And while I am in no way saying the Jets are a good team — yet, I am saying if we like to use cliches or old adages to back up our opinions, we can’t just subscribe to them when they are convenient.
It’s something to think about going forward, because if the Jets, the team everyone seems to love to hate, somehow manage to win a few more games over the next month, either by sheer miracle or because they, God forbid, deserved to win, a lot of people should be forced to reassess how they analyze games if they really want to be taken seriously.
Bill Parcells, a Hall of Famer and a man generally respected by everyone in NFL circles, even by people affiliated with those teams he left hanging high and dry, once said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “you are what your record says you are.”
So why is it that after one game, an ugly contest that they managed to find a way to win, the Jets are by and large not getting the credit they deserve? Why is it they are apparently on the same collision course with doom and destruction that they were during the preseason? The truth is, all the Rex and quarterback competition nonsense aside, the Jets had what really amounted to a very good preseason on the field. They basically did all the things required of a team in transition.
But of course, none of that seems to matter. These are the Jets we’re talking about. The world pretty much wants to see them fail. The haters, for whatever reason, need to see them fail. I’ll never understand why that’s the case, but it’s the case nonetheless. When asked who they root for, most tend to say “so and so and whomever is playing the Jets.” It’s hysterical and sad when you consider just how much of an underachiever this franchise has been since it was born.
The world has lost its objectivity when it comes to the Jets. A lot of people are simply obsessed with this team to the point where how it does matters just as much as the teams those same people actually root for. This is the most talked about team in the NFL, usually for reasons that defy logic. When you figure out why, let me know. Could Rex really be that interesting?
The Jets roll into Foxboro this week and, frankly, I’d be shocked if they win. But I really want them to win if for no other reason than to see the continued destruction of the NFL fan’s psyche. I need to see the excuses that would follow a monumental upset of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots. The sheer stunned look on the faces of everyone, coupled with the beat writers’ fumbling for words, would make my day and would further illustrate just how twisted society has become when it comes to a franchise that hasn’t won a championship in 45 years.
The Jets did a ton of things wrong on Sunday. Their running game was obsolete. They didn’t allow Smith to take one shot down the field. They missed tackles in big spots. They had clock management issues late in the fourth quarter.
But rather than the Jets being given the thumbs up for being opportunistic, it’s the Bucs who have been deemed the shame of the NFL. Of course, Tampa Bay was this juggernaut coming in, a team that would almost certainly give the Seattles and San Franciscos of the world a run for their money in the NFC. Please. The Bucs went 7-9 last season and weren’t picked by many, if any, experts to even make the playoffs this season.
But they were playing the Jets in Week 1. Victory was assured. They just had to show up. Right?
Back in 2009 the Jets backed into the playoffs when Indianapolis decided to rest everyone during the second half of the second-to-last regular season game. The Jets were crucified for winning. They had, in the eyes of their detractors, yet to prove they were a good team and were not worthy of such an extravagant gift. Well, they then went out and kicked the crap out of Cincinnati in successive weeks and then defied long odds by winning in San Diego in the divisional round of the playoffs, and by and large the court of public opinion began to rule in their favor.
Perhaps something similar will be warranted this time around to get the angry mob off their backs. Maybe the Jets will have to win in New England and then at home over Buffalo to get some respect. I honestly believe it will take more than that because, like I’ve been saying, there are a different set of rules that come into play when it comes to this team.
Again, I wish someone would explain why. You hate the Jets because they went 14-18 without a playoff appearance over the previous two seasons? You don’t like their coach because he had the gall in the past to think highly of his team? You took much of what certain media members reported with negligent bias literally?
I thought we hated winners and pitied losers in this country. I thought the Yankees were the devil and the Cubs were lovable.
The Jets? The team that has barely gotten out of its own way for much of its five decades of existence is your blood enemy?
God help the planet if they ever win the Super Bowl.
Read more columns by Jeff Capellini and follow him on Twitter at @GreenLanternJet
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