I'm Voluntarily a Jets Fan...for NOW Vol 1. of ?
I wrote I'm Voluntarily a Jets Fan piece weekly for the majority of last season. I haven't written it this year at all because I feel like I'd be writing the same shit every week. And honestly I have no real desire to relive these games after they happen. Why I'm writing this? I don't even know if I want to be a fan of this team anymore after watching that "effort" Monday night for a variety of reasons. This is the first and maybe last edition of this I'm writing for this season.
I've been watching the Jets avoid rebuilding for the majority of my fan good because apparently New Yorkers can't accept it. Yes, because these 4-12 seasons with no QB with any hope on the roster are so much better. Watching the Jets refuse to cover Dwayne Allen, the boneheaded penalties, and watching Woody Johnson cozy up with Mike Pence's awful ass was enough to make me wonder if this was the last straw.
It hasn't been ALL bad as a Jets fan. There have been plenty of good moments. Winning the division in 2002 comes to mind. Chad Pennington's touchdown pass to Santana Moss in the 2004 wildcard game with a partially torn rotator cuff happened. The 2006 playoff run that nobody expected with Pennington and Eric Mangini was nice. The Jets have been pretty average over the course of the 20 years I've been a fan for.
I won't sit here and list the painful moments because I don't have that kind of space and I don't want to sit here and cry as I write this. My team taking Christian fucking Hackenberg with a round 2 pick was when I started to wonder if being a fan of this team was worth it and this was on the heels of trading up for another bad QB prospect. His name is Bryce Petty. This is the same Bryce Petty, mind you, who made passing against the Colts soft defense during garbage time look like building a rocket.
What followed that? The Jets fan base and employees were openly pining for Ryan Fitzpatrick. This team, while Ryan Fitzpatrick was on a celebrity tour after blowing a playoff style game in week 17 last year, was committed to him during a contract stalemate. Think how ridiculous it is to hand your QB job to a 33-year-old bum QB who wasn’t even at camp and wasn’t staying in shape. The Jets let Ryan Fitzpatrick win a contract impasse with them. Yes, the Ryan Fitzpatrick who was the worst QB in the league this season and got benched four different fucking times. By the way, don't you forget that Ryan Fitzpatrick is a bitch but that's for another piece on another day…
I didn't like the previous GM, John Idzik, and I feel like there's a whole lot of revisionist history regarding the job he did here. With that said, Woody bows to public pressure far too often. I didn't even mind that he got fired but it was dudes with the billboards and planes flying over the Stadium who got him fired.
You want two great examples of how much Woody is about press clippings and fan reaction? The Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007 and again in 2011. The Jets traded for Brett Favre in 2008 and traded MULTIPLE DRAFT PICKS FOR TIM FUCKING TEBOW in 2012. Yes, the same Tim Tebow who throws the ball like he's throwing a javelin.
The Jets have never tried to flat out strip it down and rebuild it. They continually hire GMs who do shit like draft Christian Hackenberg in round 2, Bryce Petty in round 4 and throw bad money after more bad money. They are the worst win now product I've ever seen. The Jets in the offseason were talking about how they needed to sign RYAN FITZPATRICK because this is a win now team. Think about what kind of narcotic you have to be on to make this claim about a guy who's never won shit in the NFL. 3-9 later, here I am writing this piece.
I've been joking around on Twitter about being a diehard Cowboys fan since September and it's always seasons like this that make me jealous of those people who treat sports fandom like that woman we know who has a different boyfriend every month. If I do finally decide to be done with the Jets, I could never actually root for another team. I'm 29 years old. I'm too old to be hopping bandwagons. So please don't take those #WeDemBoyz tweets seriously. I'm just having fun.
I've been a fan of this team for 20 years. I love the squad. Sharing emotional battle scars with Jets fans is therapeutic. I will always remember the good times and embrace how being a fan used to make me feel on game days whether that's Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Thursday. That feeling just isn't there now and that was before the losing started and before a team who's like the 15th best team in football embarrassed them on National TV.
More than anything, the Jets just have spectacular embarrassments. They can’t just be quietly good, quietly bad or quiet period. Their failures are loud, disheartening and embarrassing. 41-3 to the Colts on National TV, 10-6 to the Titans in 2012, trading multiple draft picks for Tim Tebow, the whole 2016 season, engaging in contract blink contest with Ryan Fitzpatrick are just a few of these embarrassing moments. It’s not the losing, it’s not the lack of a Superbowl, and it’s not even the lack of a QB that brings me to the point where I’m wondering if rooting for this team is even worth it. I’m 29 years old and I realize how hard it is to win titles regardless of sport and I realize how hard-sustained competitiveness and excellence is. But damn, can I get a team with a clear plan who doesn’t do shit like trade a fourth rounder in a draft to draft a backup caliber tackle in the fifth round? Can I turn on the TV and be entertained? Can I root for a team who isn’t consistently after cheap thrills but is after something real that can be sustained for years to come?
As much as Woody loves press clippings, you would think building an entertaining team at least would be a priority. Not all money is good money and not all press is good press. The Jets have been getting back pages behind their ineptitude on and off for quite some time now. Remind me how many people showed up to that drubbing on Monday night?
Much like Jim Dolan, the simple statement “Winning will keep you in the news and on the back pages for the right reasons” doesn’t seem to register. I don’t think either will ever get it. They’ll continue to do these halfass rebuilds because apparently New Yorkers can’t get behind rebuilds and would rather watch their teams be an embarrassment and/or squarely in the middle of their respective sports leagues. Ask the New York Mets how rebuilding went for them both on the field and in the arena of fan reaction.
I, like a lot of people who are fed up with this shit, would be a lot easier to placate if there was an actual plan in place with football people (preferably not the current coffee addicted GM who loves to overpay for bad QBs) who are good at eyeing talent doing their jobs. I can sit through a 4-12 season if I felt like there is bright young talent either on the team or on the horizon. When you draft a bad quarterback every year, have little significant young talent on the roster to speak of and consistently try and put a Band-Aid over a million wounds, how am I supposed to take that as a fan? Besides a lot of being pissed off, eye rolls and cursing on Sundays, that is?
I don't know if I'm completely done being a Jets fan, but I'm also not sure if I can ever really care about this team on the level that I once did. It's an embarrassment of a team whose owner falls in love with the wrong executives and the wrong defensive minded coaches. Johnson supports Donald Trump and had Mike Pence's awful ass all up in his booth during that Monday night beatdown. Woody rubbing elbows with some dude who apparently thinks gay people can literally be shocked straight and that women who miscarry should be punished. And the team is a joke full of dudes who don’t give a fuck and a million shitty, hopeless quarterbacks. I'm supposed to support this? How? As the great Bomani Jones once said, “If you are under the age of 50, what have the Jets ever done for you?” I wouldn’t take it quite that far but the premise is a real one I can get behind.
I don't know if I'm done being a fan but I feel like my fandom is down 9 with 75 seconds left in the game. In the meantime, go Cowboys. I really wish I meant that.