By Jason Klein
Although you never delivered the Lombardi Trophy you promised, you made me believe it was always within reach. You once had everyone believing, back before your team’s talent slimmed down faster than your waistline.
If today is the last time you don that black Jets vest, let me just simply say:
Thanks for navigating the Jets to within one game of the Super Bowl.
Thanks for giving my perennially stale team a refreshingly colorful, vibrant image.
Thanks for your lighthearted press conferences and your Hard Knocks defense.
Thanks for making the New York Jets a place where free agents wanted to sign.
Thanks for bringing stability to an organization that historically lacks any.
Thanks for humanizing the head coach position with your public displays of raw emotion.
You were the biggest star in a town filled with them, and for a period of time, you were able to mask the dysfunctional stink that permeates all things Jets Football.
Most importantly, thanks for making the Jets relevant and credible. Before your bombastic arrival, the Jets had no personality and no hope. They were a “little brother” franchise, stuck playing in someone else’s building.
You stepped in and put the entire league on notice: “Here come the Jets!”
You refused to kiss Belichick’s rings…you wanted to go get your own. You made guarantees, wanted to meet the President, take “swipes” at other team’s players, “lead the league in wins,” and “Play like a Jet.” You brought “Rexy Back” and then got a “God damn snack.”
You made the media laugh and opposing quarterbacks cry. From your players, you demanded maximum effort and commanded ultimate respect. You gave Jets fans hope, even when ownership and the front office gave you none.
Over this past miserable year, you lost your bravado, a ton of games, and most likely, your job. Management set you up to fail, and ultimately, that’s exactly what you did. However, you don’t escape all culpability. Along the way, you had your own faults too. Everybody does, though.
Should you lose your “dream job” for it? It’s debatable. It’s possible your act has just run its course in New York. It could simply just be time to move on. If so, the Jets willingly let go of a brilliant defensive mind. They’ll fire one of the most competitive and confident men in the game, and someone who is adored by his players. They’ll say goodbye to the man who brought the Jets as close to a Super Bowl as anyone since Weeb.
For that alone, I offer my gratitude and simply say:
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