By Gregg Hayim
Aren’t coaches supposed to play a chess game?
A quarterback duel…that one I’ve never understood. After all, when was the last time that you saw opposing quarterbacks on the field at the same time?
But a coaching chess game, that I understand.
What I also understand is that Monday night’s bloodbath displayed a chess game that was about as competitive as a 7th grade female pajama party. Sure, one guy was playing chess….the other, it appeared, was playing a game of checkers. Scratch that, it seems far too generous….the other, it appeared, was playing a game of Hungry Hungry Hippo. That sounds more accurate.
The fact is….this was the biggest regular season game in franchise history. It was the game that was supposed to signify the end of the Patriots iron grip on the AFC East, and propel the Jets into NFL elite status. 60 minutes that would serve as a bright, shiny example that the “same old Jets” were a thing of the past, forever buried deep beneath the dirt in Rex Ryan’s backyard. 60 minutes later….things didn’t exactly go as planned.
Far from it.
These Jets, these hard hitting, tough talking, “Rex Ryan” Jets, did little in proving that they are deserving of contender status. No no no, this “epic battle”, as it was billed, didn’t come close to living up to the hype. Sure, the Patriots did their part, but these Nuevo Jets sure as hell failed to do theirs.
Sure a 9-3 record sounds nice. And can anyone say with sincerity that this year hasn’t been a hell of a ride? It’s been a blast. Last minute drives, overtime miracles, advantageous penalties- we’ve seen it all. But now it’s December, and to a fan base that has gone 41 years without a championship, a nine win season, coupled with a first round exit sure doesn’t seem like much of a consolation prize.
Is there light at the end of this tunnel? Well, get this….
The Jets early season brilliance has positioned them three games up, with four to play. Meaning, it would take a “same old Jets” sort of collapse to prevent them from qualifying for the postseason. And as soft as the schedule has been up to this point, it’s about as equally as tough down the stretch. Dolphins, Steelers, Bears and Bills to close this baby out….remove the Bills for the purposes of this discussion, and you have three very decent teams. Three teams that offer the Jets the opportunity to re-find that much hyped swagger. Three teams to help the New York Jets forget about Monday Night’s debacle, and reclaim the look and the feel of that championship caliber team they once thought themselves to be.
Obviously the goal is to peak down the stretch. Well, given the current state of affairs, a lolly pop schedule would do more to hurt this team’s chances than it would help them. The New York Jets did not lose Monday night. They were embarrassed Monday night…embarrassed on National TV.
What they need more than anything else right now is a nice healthy dose of confidence. So if the schedule makers blessed us with an easy dose up to this point, it’s fair to say that they blessed us just the same with the rough stuff down the stretch.
So New York Jets….if you want the world to forget about the Monday Night Massacre, do yourselves a favor; pop the Steelers in the mouth, rattle off a few wins in December and watch what happens. We Jets fans are proud to a point and loyal to a fault….but our memories? Suspect, to say the least.
Act II starts now, and one thing we know for certain is that when it ends, we’re going to know if Rex Ryan’s version of the “same old Jets” is gone for good, or just getting warmed up.
Buckle up Jets fans.