Send Out the Clowns

Since Rex Ryan arrived in New York, the media has swarmed around the Jets. It’s obvious now that owner Woody Johnson prefers it. With no Super Bowls to talk about, and the Giants winning two in the last five years, stealing the back pages (and sometimes the front page) is all the Jets have sometimes.

Not to say that this attention is entirely negative or even overcompensating for anything. The best part of Rex Ryan’s arrival in New York has been how he changed the culture surrounding the Jets. It almost feels as though the Jets have been successful due to Ryan’s sheer force of will. The two years they went to the AFC championship game, they were serious underdogs even with a top tier defense.  Even the most loyal but most skeptical fans had trouble believing the Jets were going to win as much as they did. But hey, Rex Ryan believed in them the whole time.

After three years of a notoriously open relationship with the media and last season’s disappointing 8-8 finish, and with the Giants winning another Super Bowl, Rex seems to have toned it down a bit. He’s a humbler man. The team seems more humble (except Antonio Cromartie).

And it’s like the media doesn’t know what to do with itself. I don’t usually criticize sports media. It’s something I’m a part of as a hobby and would like to join on a professional level at some point. With the world the way it is, of course the professionals have to speculate and create content. Of course what they do isn’t “important” journalism. It’s just something we enjoy.

But it’s like since Rex Ryan isn’t guaranteeing Super Bowls, they have to go out of their way to drum something up out of nothing, even more than usual.

The first instance of it was after Tebow arrived.  Tedy Bruschi called out Tebow for talking too much to the media. Much of the media agreed…and then the media asked Tebow for a response.

There was the cry-babying when Santonio Holmes told them off for being so negative. Sure, it’s not the media’s job to be cheerleaders for the team, but lately it feels like Holmes has a point.

Lately, articles like this one by Peter Schrager keep appearing, where the author announces the Jets will go 6-10 because they’re a run first team and the defense isn’t really that good. There really isn’t any evidence to support this, considering the Jets track record in 2009 and 2010. The 2011 New York Jets were the definition of a mediocre team, but not because they ran the ball and the defense wasn’t any good. And the defense this preseason should have at least put a lid on the “defense is overrated” garbage.

Will the Jets win a Super Bowl in a pass oriented league using a ground and pound approach? Who knows. Does it mean the season is over before it’s started and the Jets should be written off as a failure in before the season even starts? No, it doesn’t.

Schrager also says that Ryan having the team run sprints is “desperate.” A direct quote from the article is:

Gassers? Really? An NFL team, with 30-year-old men on it, is running wind sprints?

Meanwhile, over in Patriots camp, the Patriots had a fight, where the players had to run sprints. Then, Bill Belichick threw two players out. Is their season is also over in August? Has Bill Belichick lost control of his team the way Rex Ryan supposedly has, Mike Lupica?

Criticism of the Jets offense is well deserved after what we saw this preseason, but does anyone really think that the Jets aren’t going to score any touchdowns at all this season? Gary Myers doesn’t, apparently, and Tebow will be quarterback by November. You know, because Tebow is so good at scoring lots of touchdowns. And even though the Jets haven’t shown anybody any of the Wildcat packages yet, they must be completely obvious to everyone else, so why are the Jets even bothering to show up?

Look. Nobody’s expecting the Jets to win a Super Bowl, but the level of sheer nonsense coming out about them is ridiculous. Part of this is the Jets fault. Letting ESPN move its headquarters to Cortland was a dumb move.

Still, nothing is going on with the Jets that isn’t going on elsewhere in some way. There is no quarterback controversy – Sanchez will start. The offense struggled, but the entire AFC East went 1-15. Are the Patriots also going to be an under .500 team this year because their team went 1-3 this preseason? Doubtful.

Maybe it’s because the Jets “collapsed” last season and the off-the-field issues that worked their way on to the field. Or maybe it was Rex Ryan’s guarantee. Or maybe it was the seemingly pointless acquisition of Tim Tebow and not much else this offseason, and that the owner of the team seems to be more interested in selling jerseys and newspapers than winning.

But the sports media is trolling the Jets more than usual. Being objective is one thing. Being pretentious, fatalistic, and unnecessarily inflammatory is another. It would be productive for the franchise if Woody Johnson put an end to it next offseason. No goal of getting the most attention, no extra access, no press conferences for backup QBs. With all the ‘No Ring Circus’ stuff that has been printed about the Jets, it’d be really nice if the Jets kicked some of the clowns out of the Big Top.


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