‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns

Ernie is the author of “Lombardi and Landry.” He’ll be covering football throughout the season.

Life presents moments. It’s just that most of the time, you never know where or when they’re going to come. You’ve just got to be ready for them when they present themselves.

The Jets had their moment Sunday night. And it wasn’t a surprise. It wasn’t unexpected. It had been on the schedule the whole time, right there in green and white. Nov. 13. 8:20 p.m. Patriots at MetLife.

This could have been one of life’s shining moments for them had they decided to play even a little bit of football. Instead, like we’ve seen over and over with these Jets, they let it — and the chase for the AFC East title — slip away.

Same old, same old.

This is their pattern. Has been for more than 40 years. They’ll take the little moments — playing spoiler to the Giants’ playoff hopes in the 1988 season finale, going down to Pittsburgh and beating the Steelers for their 10th win last year, and then going up to top-seeded New England to knock them out of the playoffs.

But when it comes to the really big ones, the ones where they get a chance to take control of their destiny, maybe advance to the Super Bowl, they fold it up.

Pittsburgh didn’t even have to score a second-half point in last year’s AFC Championship game to beat Rex Ryan. The year before the Colts beat them by holding the Jets scoreless in the second half.

Those were not little moments. They were signature moments. And the Jets — be they coached by Ryan, or Herm Edwards, or Bill Parcells, are not about signature moments. They do the small stuff okay. But put the real hot spotlight on them, and they’re done.

Just like this AFC East race is done. On paper, at least, the Pats can put it on cruise control. They have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Jets with a season sweep. And they have one of the easiest schedules in the league ahead of them. Bill Belichick will take his rag-tag defense, which apparently had enough moxy to turn Mark Sanchez into a JV quarterback, against a combined record of 20-43. Only season-ending Buffalo has a winning record right now.

Meanwhile, the Jets will once again have to scramble for a wild card bid with Buffalo. Making the road even harder is Thursday’s game in Denver. Short week. Broncos winners of three of the last four. As it is, the Jets have to win two more games than New England down the stretch — not very likely unless the Pats head into a huge slide. And how likely is that? Lose to running Tim Tebow, and fans can start talking about a lost season.

The biggest bit of fight they showed Sunday night was Ryan throwing an invective at a fan who opined that Belichick was better than he was.

“I apologize for it,” Ryan said Monday. “I made a mistake. I was in no mood to hear anything. I have to handle that better.”

The Jets have to handle a lot of things better. Like when life’s moments present themselves.

The bottom line is this. The Jets are minor signatories; good enough to involve themselves in important events but absent the character to propel themselves front and center.

They leave the big script, the John Hancocks, to teams like the Patriots.

Do you disagree with Palladino? Be heard in the comments below…

Comments (6)
  1. Tommy C says:

    I love Marty Schottenheimer , but he son is a unmitigated failure . Good guy , horrible play caller . Is it because Sanchez , isn’t all he’s cracked-up to be . Only time will tell ? We NY fans both Giants and Jets have the 2 worse OC’s in the league . Enough with the bunch formations on 3rd and short ,spread the field then call the play at the line . C’MON can’t we get this right once for a change.

  2. brotherd says:

    Barring a wildcard run to the superbowl, Sunday’s performance will cost Brian Schottenheimer his job next year. Here is why Sunday was about Schottenheimer and not Mark Sanchez. When the Jets ran on Sunday, they did it with success from a running formation with Shonn Greene. After first downs on the ground, instead of throwing play-action with Greene in the backfield, Schotty went spread. The result, is that he was announcing to the Patriots weather he was running or throwing on play after play. When they finally used play action off of Greene, it worked great. But it was too late in the game. Forget what happens down the road. Barring a superbowl, Sunday was the beginning of the end for Schotty in green and white.

  3. Dave says:

    Stupid article by Palladino. You can make the “same old, same old” statement for over a dozen other NFL teams right now. How can you blame this group for things that happened before 2001 when Woody bought the team?

    “This is their pattern, has been for more than 40 years” Why don’t you dig up Leon Hess & blame him for letting Belichick get away. If you can find the guy who’s responsible for the last 40 years than fire him.

    Johnson & Tannenbaum have the Jets heading in the right direction. They must get a super bowl quality QB to build the team around. It’s looking like Sanchez is not gonna be the answer and Rex may be looking for a job if he can’t get a better effort out of these guys.

  4. Tommy C says:

    Gotta hand it too Belichek , he is the best gameday coach there is . I love the comment he said to his son as they were coming off the field …..laughing he says 37-16 they can su_k my di_k….Thats emotion not disrespect or is it . I’ll leave that up to the Jet fans to decide.

  5. Jim says:

    The only way the Jets will get to a Super Bowl this season is to buy tickets to it. As long as Rex’s teams are all sizzle and no steak, they will be overrated, and so will he..

  6. Rick says:

    I am a big Jets fan, and have been for my whole life (I’m 51 years of age), but until the Jets do come up big in the spots that Ernie is alluding to, and actually get to another Super Bowl (dare I mention win another), than how can one not agree with him…being perfectly honest of course. As much as it may hurt to admit, he is right. The Jets are very good (and always have been) at one thing: Inflicting much pain on their loyal fan base.

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