And It All Starts With Ringmaster Woody Johnson

By Jason Keidel
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The Jets, the only argument against high-definition television, are a walking freak show, horror show, and embarrassment to pro football.

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The Jets, Halloween’s team, are more haunting than any hay ride, knife-wielding clown, or facsimile of Bates Motel.

They have QBs who can’t hit wide receivers and wide receivers playing cornerback. The Jets can’t run, pass or play defense. They got clobbered, at home, by the Buffalo Bills, who had both starting halfbacks on the shelf.

We heard from most of the Jets’ brass Monday, two-thirds of a most unholy trinity. First served up to the media was GM John Idzik, who stumbled and stuttered through his scripted platitudes, leaning on the inherent and convenient myopia of focusing on the next game.

All inquiries slammed into the company mantra of team unity. Idzik painted a pastoral picture of wonderful employees and linemen playing through cramps, as though they would mask a 1-7 record and the worst Jets team since the Kotite era.

Idzik said nothing of import or accuracy other than the vague offering that he was responsible for this year’s wretched performance.

Which dovetailed into the dead man walking. Rex Ryan, who has been expected to win a race with three tires, declared that Michael Vick would start this weekend at Kansas City. When asked if he made the call, he cleverly branded it a “team decision.”

Not that benching Geno Smith was a Mensa move. Smith, who couldn’t have thrown the ball worse with his left arm, was pulled in the first quarter, with more interceptions than completions. Smith is ranked 33rd in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and quarterback rating, which is disturbing enough, until you remember there are only 32 NFL teams.

For weeks we’ve heard that if the Jets could just survive the conga line of QB luminaries, from Rodgers to Manning to Brady, they would see some light, a warm swath of Indian summer. Instead they got stomped by a pedestrian Bills team, pronounced dead at MetLife before halftime.

Mike Francesa was indignant after hearing both pressers, which morphed into a woeful, corporate echo chamber of ineptitude. Francesa is correct in his analysis, but he should not be so surprised to hear that the people who created this problem can’t also be the cure.

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How do we even put postmortems on this flat-lined franchise? Is it off with Ryan’s vocational head? Or do we blame the GM who didn’t see fit to spend the $20 million in cap space in his pocket before the season started?

It’s too facile to say they have a grand chasm at quarterback, because the Jets reached two AFC title games with Mark Sanchez, who’s clutching a clipboard in Philadelphia. They came within a whisker of a Super Bowl with Vinny Testaverde, who reminds no one of Joe Namath.

No, the Jets are headless in a Washington way. Woody Johnson isn’t as acerbic as Daniel Snyder, but the results are brutally similar. There are epic cracks in the chain of command. And while it’s cute to watch the born billionaire ride his bike like Curious George to his various projects, he is responsible for the football homicide you witness every Sunday.

The Jets have patronized you because you patronize the Jets. They assume you will come no matter what because you do. Whether you buy the beer to cheer or chastise the team, the bean counters see it the same. You can’t keep sponsoring this product.

The only reason the Jets aren’t the worst team in the NFL is they beat the Raiders in the Bottom Rung Bowl in Week 1. If you can take solace in second-worst, then that speaks to what Woody Johnson and his minions have created.

This is no longer about Fan Guy or fan base. It’s about everyone who watches their favorite team on Sundays, a three-hour portal through which they escape their daily problems, only to find them again on Monday morning. You are allowed that much. Unless you’re a Jets fan.

People think I get some vicarious thrill out of this, but when the Jets are awful it’s bad for all commerce, from the team to the town to the people who write about them. Not to mention nearly everyone I care about cares about the Jets. There are no winners here.

Sadly the main problem comes from the top floor. Owners are insulated from their incompetence. So the key is to hit him in the wallet. It’s all they understand. Lord knows, he knows nothing about football.

Follow Jason on Twitter @JasonKeidel.

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