Must Be Hard To Stand Behind This Suddenly Frugal, Perpetually Forlorn Franchise

By Jason Keidel
» More Columns

What do we even say anymore?

READ MORE: NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora Remains In Grave Condition At NYU Langone

The Jets are equal parts paradox and metaphor. How can a team with such a dearth of decent talent dominate the Patriots on the road? Yet last night was the metaphor — and microcosm — of their recent years under Rex Ryan. They play above themselves, plow down field, deep into enemy turf, then kick four field goals.

Again, we can dive into relativism, talk about how they’re a play here and penalty there from being 3-3. But in the zero-sum crucible of pro football, almost is irrelevant. The Jets take too much comfort in courage and not enough in victory.

It seems The Daily News is calling for Ryan’s vocational head. But what would that do? Would a new coach get Chris Ivory have run any harder? Could a new coach double the Patriots’ time of possession? Could a new boss make Geno Smith look any more mobile or mature than he did last night?

Ryan is not without blame here. Though no one doubts his bona fides on defense, he has yet to develop one — just one — star on offense. But Rex didn’t leave stacks of cap cash on the table. He didn’t draft and anoint Geno Smith, make Eric Decker his top receiver, or jettison Darrelle Revis. (Granted, Revis isn’t Revis anymore. But he soars over their current, suspect secondary.)

One, singular sign that a coach has lost his team is indifference. And no one disputes that, San Diego aside, the Jets bust their humps for Ryan.

So do we dump the entire disaster on Rex? No doubt the head coach is the front man for his team, gets almost all the praise when the team wins and ire when they lose. But neither Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh nor Bill Belichick can win without talent. And the Jets are way too many watts short of shining in the NFL.

READ MORE: Connecticut Resident James Iannazzo Arrested After Tirade Caught On Video At Smoothie Shop

Perhaps the burden befalls the owner. Woody Johnson made a pledge to a head coach, then hamstrung him with a GM who doesn’t want said coach and gutted him with poor personnel and newfound frugality. There was no reason to leave that much money in the vault unless you want to can the head coach.

Besides, if you make Rex the scapegoat for the entire apparatus, what faith do you have in Idzik? How many coaches has he hired? How many high-end drafts has he run? How many champions has he built?

Are the Jets just unlucky? Or are they losers, smothered in a haze of hexes and hoaxes and irrevocably bad karma? I talked to an ardent Jets follower this morning. He said his father recently apologized for handing him a Gang Green program in 1984. Even the best dads make mistakes.

You can’t leave the Jets, because doing so would make you a quitter, fraud, or both. But perhaps worse than watching them lose week after week, year upon year, is having to explain to your smirking cousin or coworker why you stick with such heartache.

Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is simple. It was just pure luck that my old man was from western Pennsylvania and raised me a Steelers fan. One program is thoughtful and thorough, another program is reckless and retrograde. Or sometimes a man hands his boy the wrong program.

Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

MORE NEWS: MTA Addresses Subway Safety After 2 Recent Shoving Incidents, Including 1 Fatal

[display-posts category=”sports” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]