By Jason Klein
Same Old Jets?
This time was different.
Blaming Sunday’s excruciating loss on a “well, that’s just the way it is” mantra is silly. I’ll be honest, I’ve been guilty of it in the past. I’ve been consuming the same old nonsense for over thirty years. It never gets any easier.
Growing up as a Jets fan, the terms “would have,” “could have,” and “should have” were a part of my daily vernacular. I would pepper grade school friends with them trying to defend my team’s yearly failures. Now I plead my case to my wife and children.
But “Same Old Jets?” Not this time.
Like the previous 46 Jets seasons, this one ended without a trophy. Not since Joe Willie waggled that finger back in January of 1969 has this team finished on top. Sunday’s season-ender was disappointing, frustrating, mind-boggling, and typical, but something did feel different about it.
The Jets now have a competent General Manager, a level-headed Coach, a dynamic Wide Receiver tandem, a top defensive unit, and a ton of confidence. By re-signing Ryan Fitzpatrick, they’ll also have an intelligent and physically capable Quarterback who commands the respect of his locker room.
I’m not naïve. None of that guarantees a shot at Super Bowl run. In the NFL, luck is sometimes more important than talent and preparation. One minute you’re primed for a title run, and the next minute your scraping Vinny Testaverde off the turf with a torn Achilles.
It’s very possible, the Jets as presently constituted will never get another opportunity like the one they just lost. They took advantage of a soft schedule, and could have had a very realistic path to Super Bowl 50 in an anemic AFC. Next year could be completely different. Things fall apart quickly in the NFL – just ask Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez.
But I do know one thing. Heading into next season, I trust the people making decisions, and I believe in the process. Something I couldn’t always say about previous regimes.
So, no, I don’t think this is a case of the “Same Old Jets.” I may feel differently one day, looking back on it the same spiteful way I view Leon Johnson’s option pass in Detroit, Doug Brien’s missed field goals in Pittsburgh, or any other of the wacky and seemingly unfathomable ways I’ve seen Jets seasons mercilessly end.
But for now, I choose to view it differently. I choose to be hopeful instead of hopeless.
That kind of positive thinking will help get me through the next nine months.
That’s when I’ll pull out my green and white jersey again, take a deep breath, and put myself through the Same Old Thing all over again.
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