It’s Tough Being a Jets Fan…

Since the day I was born, I’ve been a Jets fan.  I didn’t really have much choice.  Both my parents were Jets fans, and their parents too.  The story goes that when the AFL’s New York Titans joined the NFL and became the New York Jets in 1963, my grandfather decided to buy season tickets.  We’ve been season ticket holders ever since, going from $5 seats at Shea Stadium, to $125 seats at MetLife Statdium (PSL as well – thanks Woody!).  I bleed Green.

Most people that I grew up with were Jets fans as well.  Basically, if you grew up East of Manhattan, you were a Jets fan – primarily due to the fact that they played at Shea Stadium in Queens.  If you grew up North or West of Manhattan, you were probably a Giants fan since they primarily played in places North of the City (Yankee Stadium, Yale Bowl) or West (Giants Stadium).  Nobody grows up in Manhattan, so those people don’t really count.

So a Jets fan I was destined to be.  And with that has come a lot of…hmmm…how should I say it…DEFEAT.   Despite winning Super Bowl III in 1969, the Jets have not been a very successfull franchise.  Recent history has been kinder, but for the majority of my youth (80s to early 90s), the Jets were bad.  Real bad.  Some of the most legendary losses in NFL history involved the Jets.   One of my most vivid memories as a child was that of me crying, hysterically, after the Jets blew a lead and lost in DOULBE OT to the Cleveland Browns in a 1987 playoff game.  I was inconsolable.  I remember staring at the TV in disbelief after the Browns kicked the winning FG (the Browns are another star-crossed franchise…the irony).  That would not be the last time I felt that way unfortunately.  Here is the original story in a Cleveland newspaper: http://tinyurl.com/cblff24

So when 2 of my friends sent me this link (thanks Greg & Dave), I couldn’t help but smile. This is me, 25 years ago (some say it is still me).  And this will probably be my 2 boys at some point in their life.  It’s a rite of passage.  Apologies if you’ve seen this already: http://tinyurl.com/cqqp68p  (very thankful they didn’t have this technology when I was a kid)

Despite all this, I still tune in every week.  I still believe.  I still have hope.  I’m still doomed.

So…another game this Sunday.  Another chance at heartbreak.

It’s tough to be a Jets fan…

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Week 12 Recap: Bills Shoot Themselves in The Leg…Jets Win!

Final Score:
Jets: 28
Bills: 24

I’m still kind of in shock to be honest.  How did we win that game?  We definitely didn’t deserve to win.  But as they say…a win is a win is a win.  Did it inspire confidence? Definitely not.  But that’s 1 win down…5 more to go.

There are a lot of storylines to discuss in this one, but the lead has to be Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson and his gunshot mocking antics.  As you may know, Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress served 20 months in jail for carrying a loaded gun into a nightclub, and then promptly shooting himself in the leg (enough has been written on that story already).  He served his time, and is now back in the NFL, and is having a great season with the Jets.  He’s redeemed himself and rededicated himself.

Today, after Stevie Johnson caught at touchdown in the 2nd quarter, he acted as if he shot himself, and then went on to mock the Jets’ “flight” celebration that Burress & Holmes often do after scoring a TD.  Wow.  Classy move Stevie Johnson.  I’m sure that one is going to earn you a lot of respect from your fellow NFL players.  You deserve the media firestorm that’s headed your way…(Johnson went on to drop not one, but 2 potential game-winning TDs in the game.  Karma is a bitch)

Classy

Storyline #2:  Mark Sanchez (shocker).  Could that be the worst 4-TD performance for a QB in NFL history?  His performance defies logic.  He threw 4 pretty sweet TDs, including a phenomenal game-winning TD, on the run, to Holmes.  Yet the rest of the game he was awful – over/under-throwing receivers, poor decisions and another back-breaking interception that led directly to a Bills TD.  One step forward, two steps back with the Sanchise.

Storyline #3:  Poor Jets coaching.  Once again, the decisions by the coaches are bizarre.   Even the most amateur of NFL fans could pick up on this.  Abandoning the run in the 4th quarter when you’ve been dominating on the ground all game?  Check.  Having a guy (Cromartie) who hasn’t returned a punt all year long to be your punt returned in a  critical game?  Check (he fumbled the punt).   Calling Timeouts early in the 2nd and 3rd quarters for no apparent reason?  Check.   It was maddening to watch.  There were times that I truly believed that Schotty was trying to get fired.  It was that bad.

Storyline #4:  Revis is human.  Was that Revis’ worst game as a Jet?  I think so.  He was repeatedly burned by Stevie Johnson and even gave up a TD.  As my Dad said…”it looked like he took a few Xanax before the game…”  Whatever it was, he played poorly and looked very average.   The guess here is that he was hurt and the Jets never let on.  It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the media this week.

Storyline #5:  The Jets are still alive.  6-5 and still “in the hunt” (at least on paper) as they say.  That said, they will have to play a lot better to even think about making a run to the playoffs.

Onto the quick summary:

Offense

  • Sanchez – a bizarre game for him.  He made some huge throws in the red zone, and then some throws that just made your stomach drop.  My mom (one of the more astute NFL fans I know) said it best at half-time: “You can tell he has no confidence right now.”  He better get some, and fast.  The season still rests on his right arm.
  • Greene – another great game for him.  He’s running with power and attitude and gets stronger as the game goes on.  Which makes is it even more shocking that they continue to go away from him in the 4th quarter.  I’m beginning to think that Schotty might be dumb.  I’m serious and I don’t meant that in a nasty way.  I think he may be lacking intelligence.  There is no other logical explanation here.
  • Receivers – Burress made some ridiculous catches, including the one-handed grab that saved the game/season at the end of the 4th quarter.  Holmes’ game-winning TD was clearly clutch, and Keller was a beast.  Please, please feature him some more Schotty. I’m begging you.

Defense:

  • Overall, a mediocre game for the defense.  They made some big stops, but they never dominated and you never felt like they were in control.  They were really helped by some big drops on that last drive – result could have been very, very different.  Their lack of pass rush was really problematic today.  That continues to be a big weakness for them (and has been since the start of Rex).
  • Revis: He is human.  I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  All day he was getting beat.  It’s as if he was as surprised as the fans were that they were throwing at him, and with success.  A humbling performance to say the least.  It will be fun to see how he bounces back next week.  I worry for next week’s #1 receiver.
  • Cromartie:  As I’ve been advocating for weeks, please demote this clown.  His muffed punt nearly lost them the game.  He then gives up the game-tying TD.  He whiffed wildly on a tackle on a critical 3rd down play.  He’s really just garbage.  I know that having 7 kids to 6 moms is tiring, but that’s no excuse.

Special Teams:

  • Mike Westhoff, the Special Teams Coach and future Hall of Famer, has had an amazing career.  Unfortunately this year is not part of that amazing career.  He’s already announced that this will be his last year, but in all honesty, he probably should have retired a year ago.  Another special teams gaffe almost cost them the game.  The decision to have Cromartie back there returning punts is on him.  There best be a good reason.

Coaching:

  • Unless the Jets make a deep run into the playoffs (not likely), my prediction is that both Schotty and Pettine (D-Coordinator) will be fired.  Today’s performance did nothing to change my mind.  Bizarre play calling on both sides, especially on offense.  They opened the game with a run by the Fullback (who has less than 10 carries on the year) and it really never got better.  Again, maybe Schotty’s just not that bright.

Rex Ryan Weight Watch:  Is it just me, or did Rex look like he actually dropped a few? Kind of surprising, especially after Thanksgiving.  Maybe he was just wearing a bigger sweater.

Looking Svelte!

So…6-5 now.  Battling for the last playoff spot.  Still alive, but barely.  This was not a dominant performance.  This was an anxiety-inducing, nail-biting, throw your jersey at the TV at least 3 times (just me?) kind of performance.  But they won.  Another week of analysis.  Another week of hope.  Another week…Let’s Go Jets!

Mile Low Loss

Another 6am start, another loss.  Sweet.  If there is a silver lining here, it’s the fact that there are no more night (morning) games this season.

Another classic “Same Old Jets” loss.  Not even sure where to start.  The season is clearly on the brink.  We probably have to go undefeated the rest of the way to make the playoffs, especially considering that all of the AFC teams we’ve lost to will also be fighting for a playoff spot.   Can we do it?  Yes.   Will we?  Probably not.

And a big thanks to Mr. Sanchez for another masterful job on national TV.  You made me look like a genius after yesterday’s post!

Coming into work after these losses is dreadful.  Especially when you work with an entire office of Brits who have no clue what real Football is, let alone the New York Jets.  No water cooler chat for me.  I’m just left here to stew all by myself as everyone else discusses tea, crumpets and the Tories’ latest blah blah blah blah….

Woe is me.  More later…

Week 11 Preview: The Sanchise Must Step Up

It’s a few hours before kick-off and a few hours before I’ll go to bed with dreams of a Jets victory in my head.  Another 6am start for this guy.  Coffee and Gang Green – it’s become a ritual.

A lot has been written about Mark Sanchez the past week.  When they lose, he always seems to get the blame.  When they win, he rarely gets the credit.  That is New York in a nutshell.  Expectations have been sky high since the Jets traded up to the 5th pick to get him a few years back.  He was to be the next Namath.  The QB with the GQ smile (and now the pictures to match). The franchise savior – “The Sanchise.”

Fans and the media have been very hard on him since he took his first start, despite his 4-0 record in the playoffs (all on the road – more road playoff victories than Brett Favre had in his career) and 2 straight trips to the AFC championship game.  Name another top drafted QB who has done that in the last 5 years?

So the question remains – Is Sanchez good?

ESPN’s Aaron Schatz had a really interesting take on this today:

Sanchez is a prime example of this problem. When he plays well in the playoffs, some fans insist he’s a winner whose regular-season struggles can be ignored. When he has a bad game in the regular season, other fans come out and declare that the Jets will never win with Sanchez running the offense. Very few fans seem to be able to accept the truth: Mark Sanchez is a slightly below-average quarterback who still hasn’t necessarily reached his potential.

The last part of that sentence is an important part of the Sanchez story. He’s not a good quarterback yet, but Sanchez is progressing instead of stagnating. His completion rate, touchdown rate, net yards per attempt and NFL passer rating are all higher than a year ago. And there’s reason to believe that more improvement is likely in 2012…

…It turns out that on average, NFL quarterbacks see the biggest efficiency improvements before their second and fourth seasons.  Sanchez certainly saw improvement between Season 1 and Season 2. That Season 4 improvement is not a guarantee — Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco are prime examples this year — but it’s still a good reason to give Sanchez one more season before kicking him to the curb.

Take a look specifically at two of these quarterbacks who were particularly similar to Sanchez in the third season in that span:

Player Year Team Age Comp Att PassYD TD INT COMP% Yd/At Yd/C
Mark Sanchez 2011* NYJ 25 300 530 3700 25 16 56.7% 6.98 12.31
John Elway 1986 DEN 26 280 504 3485 19 13 55.6% 6.91 12.45
Tom Brady 2003 NE 26 317 528 3620 23 12 60.0% 6.86 11.42

So….nobody here is saying that Sanchez will be the next Elway or Brady.  But there’s reason to believe and hope he can still be something very good, if not great.  I believe.

Tonight’s prediction:

Jets: 27
Broncos:10

Week 10: Same Old You Know Who…

Final Score:

Patriots: 37

Jets: 16

Hmmm…where to start?  So many bad things to write about, so little time.  And by now you’ve probably read enough analysis to revisit it all again.  So I will try to avoid that and will start with a few high level observations:

  1. Why did they abandon the running game?  You play to your team’s strengths, not to your opponent’s weaknesses.  I know that may sound a bit counterintuitive, but it’s no coincidence that the Jets won 3 in a row when they rediscovered their run game, and the play-action pass that it sets up.  Last night they fell in love with the passing game early and never established a rhythm on the ground.  Poor gameplan and that goes on Schotty and Rex.
  2. The Jets were outcoached:  You could see it in the 2nd half – the Pats go no huddle and the Jets have no answer.  They exploited all of our weaknesses on D – going after our safeties and throwing down the middle to the TE.  They pressured Sanchez and forced some stupid mistakes.  They just looked better prepared and they looked calm.  Quite simply, they were the better coached team.  How could a team be so poorly prepared on such a big night?
  3. They were outplayed:  In every facet of the game, the Jets were outplayed.  It started on the opening drive and just went downhill from there.  Silly mistakes, missed opportunities, poor communication and bad decisions.  All night.  It was embarrassing.   Most sobering stat:  The Patriots STARTED two defensive players who NEVER played a defensive SNAP in the NFL.  Not one.  Before last night, I played the same amount of snaps in the NFL as they had.  ZERO.  Wow.  And we still lost.
  4. He's so dreamy

    Tom Brady is still pretty good – the gap between Brady and Sanchez (and the rest of the league bar Aaron Rodgers) was never more apparent last night.  It pains me to say it, but I’ve loved watching this guy for the last 10 years.  He’s just the epitome of accuracy and calm. Which is why it will make beating him in the playoffs so much sweeter…again (more on that later).

And as always after a loss, a few rants:
  • Why is Joe McKnight fielding punts in the biggest game of the year when he had done that only 4 times the entire season?  Dumb.
  • Why is Antonio Cromartie still starting over Kyle Wilson?  Let’s end this love affair with the most virile, yet subpar CB in the NFL.
  • Why would the Jets not jam Gronkowski at the line of scrimmage as they’ve done against most TEs all year long?  Were they just afraid of him?
  • Why does Mark Sanchez still make rookie mistakes?  Cue the “Sanchez is not the answer” whispers…

    This Sums It All Up

If you have the answers to these questions, please comment.  I need help.

But alas Jets fans, all is not lost.  As avid reader and fellow suffering fan Greg points out, the Jets schedule gets remarkably easy the rest of the way and they could (gulp) run the table.  And while I disagreed with that prediction, they do still have a good chance of going 6-1 the rest of the way.  And in the crowded AFC, that is what they will probably have to do to make it to the playoffs.  11 wins gets you into the wild card.  10 does not.  I think they can get there.

No matter what they do, they better forget about this loss, and quickly.  They board a plane on Wednesday to head to Mile High for a battle Thursday Night with the phenomenon that is Tebow – the first starting QB to have more rushing attempts than passing attempts in a single game.  The Jets should own this match-up.  If they don’t, we have real problems.

Darth Vader and His Nemesis

So another year left wondering – how do we take down the Evil Empire?  Will it ever happen in the Belichick-Brady (now the winningest HC-QB combo in NFL history) era?

This loss has left me with lots of questions.  Both I, and the Jets, need some answers…

Outcoached, Outplayed, Outclassed

It’s 7:14am here in London, so just a few quick thoughts before a full (disgusted) recap later.

I knew it was a bad omen when my alarm didn’t go off this morning.
It then got worse when Holmes stumbled on that sure TD catch on the 1st drive.
And then the deathknell…Folk misses a 24 yard FG. Gulp.

The Jets were outcoached. They were outplayed. They were outclassed.

The last 3 games the Jets ran the ball to victory. So what do they do tonight? Pass, pass, pass.

I’m baffled.

Rex and co. have a lot of explaining to do.

But more importantly, they better forget about this victory and get ready for Denver on Thursday night.

The road to the Super Bowl still goes through New England for another season…ugh.

Week 10 Preview: 1st place bound or Same Old Jets?

There is a phrase that Jets fans know all too well…”Same Old Jets.”  Those 3 words basically sum up 41 years of frustration since the last Jets Super Bowl win.  Those words mean so many things:  disappointment, last-minute chokes, awful draft picks (Blair Thomas anyone?), terrible coaching decisions, humiliating losses (the Marino fake spike) etc.  It’s often said after an exhilarating win followed by a heart-breaking terrible loss.   The conversation usually goes like this:

Jets fan #1:  You see the game?
Jets fan #2: Yeah, I can’t believe they blew that game.
Jets fan #1:  Same Old Jets…

But since Rex has arrived, he has made it a mission to change that reputation.  He openly mocks the phrase.  Now, after a big win, you will often hear him say sarcastically to the media, “Same Old Jets.”   It’s genius stuff.  He’s single-handedly changing the culture of the franchise one  game at a time – no small task.

In Rex We Trust

This week is another “Same Old Jets” opportunity.  In years past, this would be a classic letdown waiting to happen.  So many times we’ve geared up for a big game against the Patriots (in previous years it was the Bills or Dolphins), only to be destroyed.  Heck, it was just last year that they thrashed us 45-3 up on Foxboro.   But I have a feeling this year will be different.  Why?

  • Rex is 2-0 at home against the Patriots and you know the Met (can we call it that?) will be loud
  • Brady has thrown the 3rd most INTs in the league so far, and 6 more than his entire 2010 total!  Revis awaits.
  • The Pats offense is ice cold – they’ve converted only 8 of their last 25 third downs and committed 4 more turnovers this year than all of 2010.
  • The Jets are on a roll – literally.  They’ve rushed for more yards in the last 3 games than the previous 5.

It’s amazing how these 2 teams’ fortunes have changed so much since they last met. Coming into the last game, the Jets has just been embarrassed on national tv by the Ravens and their legitimacy as SB contender was being seriously questioned.  The Pats were dominating and Wes Welker was on pace to catch 425 balls and 37 TDs.   Now it’s the Patriots who are being questioned…(perhaps its the curse of Haynesworth.  Just ask any ‘Skins fan).

A few other random thoughts:

  • The Jets are on National TV for the 4th time already.  While I love the exposure, the late games are killer.  I will be waking up at 6am to watch the game on replay – no spoilers!
  • Someone in the NFL does not like this team.  After an 8:30pm kick-off on Sunday, the Jets have to then play at Denver 4 days later.  That basically gives them 1, maybe 2 days of practice before they get on a plane to play in one of the toughest environments.
  • And speaking of Denver, Tebow lives to play another day.  Great article on him in the NY Times yesterday – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/sports/football/in-tebow-debate-a-clash-of-faith-and-football.html?_r=1&scp=5&sq=tim%20tebow&st=cse
  • Sad stuff in Penn State.  Nice to see the fans rally around Joe Pa, but his reputation will forever be tarnished.
  • Is there a better drama on TV right now than Breaking Bad?  I haven’t finished season 4 yet (again, no spoilers), but that show is just ridiculous.

Would love to hear your thoughts & predictions on this week’s game…Jets victory or Same Old Jets?

4 more days until the big game…it’s time for the Jets to take control of 1st place….