It was a fitting ending for the New York Jets. Their playoff hopes vanished on Monday Night Football in an embarrassing fashion in front of a national football audience no less. Perhaps Jon Gruden’s post game comments summed up not only this game, but the entire Jets season. “Five turnovers, squandered opportunities, mismanaged situations, amazing night of futility”. The post game crew and every major sports channel spent most of their evening mocking the play, players and management of this football team. The Jets might be the laughing stock of the NFL with Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum as the punch line. From sticking with Sanchez to acquiring Tim Tebow, even with the deactivation of Greg McElroy, it is pretty clear this Coach-GM duo are woefully ill equipped to manage an NFL franchise. A few weeks ago, when for Jets fans the Sanchez nightmare finally appeared to be over, Ryan decided to go back to Sanchez because he felt that was the Jets’ best chance to win. Last night was the direct result of that decision. I am not sure you need any more reason than that to make a break, but there are so many more reasons, The time management, the sideline confusion, the penalties, the team’s effort, I could go on, but I think the point is made. I can’t imagine a scenario that would allow Woody Johnson to begin 2013 with two gentlemen that have made sports professionals laugh, and made the Jets loyal followers so frustrated.
Is there another coach in the NFL that would have such a lack of understanding of the goings on of a football game that a sideline arm pump celebration would be deemed an appropriate reaction to an apponents botched punt? Not since the Pete Carroll choke sign have I been made to feel uncomfortable by someone associated with the Jets. But it helps to clarify why after Kyle Wilson has been burnt only to be saved by a poorly thrown ball, he too celebrates as if he accomplished something. This idea that a team takes on the personality of the coach is confirmed as something more than an idea with the Jets. Very few Jets seem to say the right things, take any ownership, or demand greatness from themselves or their teammates. Ryan labeled himself a competitor, but walking off the field with a scowl while uttering obscenities under your breath for the world to see, is not the act of a competitor. It is more the way an immature child behaves when they are told to get off Xbox and do their homework. Competitors are gracious, they are humble, they pay great attention to detail, they make others great, they stay focused, they contain their frustration and they behave with professionalism. There was a reason the camera immediately took a tight shot on Ryan as he walked to the post game handshake, because everyone has come to expect ridiculousness, and once again Ryan didn’t disappoint.
It is a sad state of affairs when half, if not more, of JetNation are rooting for the team to lose and end their playoff push. The sooner we can finally admit this is not working, the sooner we can get to talking about the future. As often as this team has shocked me, I am going to speculate that the off season will bring many changes. A new general manager, a new head coach, and a new quarterback could be on the horizon. The usual agony of waiting from February to September for football always goes a little faster when the off season brings the anticipation of change. I am not suggesting it’s a substitute for winning, but the fresh start a new coach brings always breaths a little life into a depressed fan base. It is a little early to start a wish list, and it always looms in the back of every fan that at some point we could sit with the Daily News or our laptop, jaw dropped in disbelief, and see that those responsible for one of the most painful years in recent history could be retained.
But that’s not possible……right?