By Jason Klein
Dear Mr. Woody Johnson,
I’m not angry. Really! I’m not.
No, I’ve long accepted that I root for a team allergic to success.
Instead, the 2014 New York Jets have left me feeling something much more damning:
Jets Owner, Woody Johnson.
I believe it’s the final stage of coping with your team’s inadequacies.
I’m a life-long Jets fan and season ticket holder, but my Football Sundays are no longer filled with anticipation, pageantry, or hope. I just go through the motions, devoid of any passion. You know, sort of like your Head Coach during press conferences these days.
I don’t blame Rex though. No, I’d probably be relegated to a comatose puppet too if I had an incapable GM pulling all my strings. I can only imagine how difficult Rex’s job must be after his best player was traded, his franchise quarterback was bamboozled, his personality was muzzled and defense was handcuffed without the necessary tools to succeed.
Phil Jackson has the Knicks running “The Triangle” offense. Rex is forced to run “The Circle” defense.
Rex’s stomach may be stapled, but it was clearly in knots when he called this now 2-11 season “a joke.”
He’s right. It’s a bad joke. The punch line is a punch to the gut each Sunday.
The other thirty-one teams are the ones laughing too. They look at your inept, incompetent, impossibly ineffective franchise and can’t help but giggle. Not long ago, you were the one chuckling…all the way to two consecutive AFC Championship Games. Back then, your coach was cocky, your quarterback showed promise, and your fan base believed success was inevitable.
Now, we look on in horror as flames slowly burn through your wretched green and white dumpster fire.
It’s ok though! I’m not mad. I’ve moved well beyond any feelings of fury. Instead, I’ll robotically meander through the next three weeks of meaningless football with the expectation that this offseason, you’ll emerge from your season long hibernation and finally get things right.
By now, I’ve accepted the fact that I won’t hear from you before then. Rather than reassure your disgruntled fans, mid-disaster, you prefer to cowardly duck the media and wait until season’s end. I’d prefer you be more proactive like Titans owner, Tommy Smith, though. Last week, he publically pledged to his fans that he is “committed to making this thing right” and that he’s “going to build a team that…the fans can be proud of.”
His team is 2-11. So is yours.
That’s ok, though, Woody. Really! I know you’ll address fans when you’re ready. You can take your time. No problem. I’ll be patient, because, I know you’ll finally stop chasing dollars and headlines and go chase that Lombardi Trophy after this kind of a season. Your political agenda should probably take a backseat too. Maybe consider spending less time with Mitt Romney and more time with people who know a little bit about football. It might lead to more victories…you know, if that sort of thing is important to you.
Unfortunately, the man on your staff who knows the most about football will most likely be the one to fall on the sword. Like Mark Sanchez before him, you’ve created an environment so toxic for Rex, it’s best he just moves on to succeed somewhere else – a place where he’ll receive the support he needs and can be his bombastic self again.
Speaking of support, it’s time to stop giving it to your General Manager. Filling your roster with talent and your stadium with fans should be the priority, not filling your wallet with unused cap money. Take this opportunity to start fresh. Bring in a credible, football-minded GM to make smart football decisions. I mean, you do own a football team, right?
After you’ve replaced your GM and Head Coach, please go find a real franchise quarterback. Go get a Duck, instead of somebody who throws them. Do whatever it takes to outfit Marcus Mariota in green and white. The kid is special. He’s professional, polished, confident and exciting. He’s everything your current team is not! He could be the face of your franchise for the next decade.
Those three moves – GM, Coach, QB – should be where you start. If you finally make the right football decisions in those three essential areas, it should provide enough deodorant to mask the stink surrounding your franchise these past few years.
Also, moving forward, try not to “Play like a Jet.” Play like someone else. Someone who wins! Also, no more “Jet decisions.” Make smart decisions! Football-minded decisions! Decisions that are in the best interest of winning football games.
Football-minded moves like these will again fill my Sunday afternoons with hope and begin to dispel any feelings of indifference. I want the Jets to matter again…matter the way they did when Rex first blew into town and made your franchise relevant again!
Change the losing culture around your team, and your fan base.
Right now, Rex is right, it’s “a joke.”
All fans can do is laugh.
Let’s shoot for fewer punch lines.
Just more punch.
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