Before you scoff in disgust at such a crazy notion, it is worth checking out the odds first. According to Betway.com, the odds on the New York Jets winning Super Bowl LIII are 150:1 (as of June 5). The longest odds in the league.
Yes, even the Cleveland Browns have better odds this season than the Jets. So, betting on the Jets is the same as throwing away your money, right?
It’s all about the quarterbacks
With the current quarterback situation, it is hard to picture the Jets making the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. It’s either going to be the aging journeyman Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater and his knee, or the rookie Sam Darnold.
If Bridgewater or Darnold can do the job, it is hard to imagine the team will not give them the reigns over McCown. One of them is going to be the future of the team. If the future can start this season, the Jets will want him to play.
From what Jets head coach Todd Bowles has said about OTAs, Bridgewater is looking good and Darnold is progressing. But we really will not know how any of the Jets quarterbacks are doing until the preseason starts.
For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that Sam Darnold gets the nod. There’s a reason the team traded up to take him with the No. 3 pick. So, if he appears to be ready and able to handle the NFL game, you have to think the Jets will give him a shot.
If that ends up being the case, or even if they give him the nod somewhere down the road, should the Jets make the playoffs with him as the starting quarterback, they’ll make history. Darnold will become just the 22nd rookie quarterback in NFL history to start a playoff game.
Should he win a game, he’ll become just the tenth rookie quarterback to win a playoff game. Only two have ever won more than one playoff game (Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez each won two). There have only been six to make it to the Conference Championship game.
But no rookie quarterback has won a Conference Championship– yet.
So, Starting Darnold Is Out Of The Question – Right?
If the whole ‘rookie quarterback never making it to the Super Bowl’ thing is enough to scare you off, then yes. Starting Darnold is not a good idea even though he would more than likely give the Jets the best shot at winning games this season.
But if you aren’t scared, a quick history lesson should boost your confidence.
Remember the 1999 St. Louis Rams? Prior to the start of the ’99 season, there was little to nothing expected of them. By some accounts, the odds of them winning the Super Bowl that season was as high as 300:1. According to other reports, their longest odds were closer to 200:1 (either way, those are longer odds than the ones on the Jets for this season).
When Trent Green went down with a season-ending knee injury, the odds probably got a bit longer; especially when the world realized his back-up was a former Arena League player. Sure, he was great in the Arena League but not good enough to have already been in the NFL.
As most football fans are aware, Warner led the offense affectionately known as “the Greatest Show on Turf” to a 13-3 regular season and a 23-16 win over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. Kurt Warner was a quarterback plucked out of obscurity and thrust into the limelight. Darnold is anything but obscure but until he plays in the NFL, we will not know anything of substance about him.
The Rams got kind of lucky with Warner. Since we don’t really know if a college quarterback can handle the NFL game until he plays it, you could say the draft is somewhat of a gamble, too. Anytime you gamble, an element of luck is involved.
So, in a way, you could say the 2018 Jets are in a position similar to that of the 1999 Rams.
But bet on the Jets? Seriously?
It’s a long shot; that much is a given. ESPN doesn’t expect the Jets to win more than six games this season. But we’re talking Super Bowl? Yeah, but we’re also talking about winning $1500 off a $10 bet. You can risk a little and win a lot.
Before you assume it will never happen, teams go from worst to first all the time. Rookies explode and become superstars. No rookie has won the big game yet but records are there for people to break.
Why not Sam Darnold?