Revis Makes Swift Return to New York

By Jason Klein

Taylor Swift, you were wrong.

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together? Think again.

Darrelle Revis returned, in Style, to the New York Jets on Tuesday night after short pit stops in Tampa and New England. He signed a 5-year, $70 million deal with $39 million fully guaranteed. Gang Green fans, punished for the last two miserable years, can Shake It Off now that they get their favorite toy back.

Revis Returns To New York.

Revis Returns To New York.

Welcome (back) to New York. It’s been waiting for you.

Jets fans are good at waiting – they’ve been waiting 47 years for a Super Bowl title. They waited two long years for owner Woody Johnson to awaken from his frugal slumber. They also waited for him to rectify the mistakes made by his former general manager, a man more concerned with counting pennies than title rings.

The waiting is over.

With his green and white hat in hand, Johnson acknowledged the missteps of the previous regime. Revis is not 22 anymore, but at age 30, he still deserves to be paid as the best corner in the NFL. Woody gave him what he was asking for.

He couldn’t save money, but at least he saved face.

Two years ago, while traveling down the road to ineptitude and indifference, Woody and the Jets decided it was best to rid themselves of the future Hall of Famer, rather than pay him. They knew Revis created problems for opposing quarterbacks, but overlooked the Blank Space he left behind upon his departure.

When former GM John Idzik traded him away in April of 2013, the Jets secondary went from being an organizational strength to liability. Former head coach, Rex Ryan was never the most accurate prognosticator, but he accurately predicted his corner-driven defense would suffer without a once-in-a-generation player like Revis. In Rex’s mind, he felt: “Darrelle, You Belong With Me.”

If Rex was upset when Revis was traded, he’s got to be hotter than a basket of wings now, watching this Revis Reunion from his new coaching perch in Buffalo.

Revis Signs New Jets Contract.

Revis Signs New Jets Contract.

Rex may feel Revis’s return to New York is a Mean twist of fate, but the fans he left behind are elated. They realize it was Woody’s wallet, not Darrelle’s heartstrings, that pulled him back to New York, rekindling this Love Story. They also recognize that it doesn’t matter why he came back. The only thing that matters is that he did.

The move restores credibility within the organizational hierarchy and returns Revis to the place where he was drafted in 2007. In all likelihood, his Super Bowl victory was The Last Time he’ll play in any other teams’ uniform besides the Jets.

Gone two years ago, Everything Has Changed, and he’s back Safe And Sound in New York.

Can his presence alone get the Jets Back To December with meaningful games to play?

Crazier things have happened.

Crazier things like Darrelle Revis returning to the Jets.

Welcome (back) to New York, Darrelle.

It’s been waiting for you.

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Dear Mr. Woody Johnson

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:

Indifferent.

Jets Owner, Woody Johnson.

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.

No corners!

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.

Sincerely,

Jason Klein

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Drafting, Developing New Talent a Waste of Time For Jets

By Jason Klein

It won’t matter who the Jets select in tonight’s NFL Draft.

You can take that to the bank.

You’ll probably bump into Woody Johnson while you’re there.  He’ll be the one shamefully depositing your hard earned PSL money.

If Woody won't pay Revis, who will he pay?

If Woody won’t pay Revis, who will he pay?

I wish I were wrong.  However, based on everything we know about this team and their owner, I’m not.

How can I be so sure?  It’s simple.  Woody wouldn’t open up his checkbook for Darrelle Revis.

Darrelle Revis!

He refused to pay a homegrown, game-changing, once-in-a-lifetime talent who single-handedly eliminates the opposition’s best offensive weapon every single week.  Revis doesn’t just dominate in some games, or even most games.  It’s literally every game!  He makes it a ten-on-ten contest every week! There is no other player in the league who can dominate their position like Revis can.

Injury aside, he’s a 27 years-old future Hall of Famer who was a leader in a clubhouse that desperately needs one.  Teams could spend decades searching for a player like Revis.  Woody had him and didn’t make any effort to keep him.  No phone call, no text message, no e-mail or tweet.  Woody was more isolating than a trip to Revis Island.

Why?  Because, he couldn’t justify giving $16M a year to a Cornerback.  OK, fair enough.  Revis isn’t a Franchise Quarterback.  Understood.  But this sets a very dangerous precedent for the two young players the Jets will select in the first round tonight.

Despite the Jets’ dubious draft history, what happens if one of tonight’s selections develops into a Pro Bowl-caliber talent and wants to get paid some day, just like Revis did?  Assuming they don’t take a quarterback, will Woody and the Jets sack them too?

The Jets could spend years searching for another Revis.

The Jets could spend years searching for another Revis.

How can any young player, who’s not a Franchise Quarterback, feel confident about a long future with the Jets?  Why should fans root for and support developing players who will be jettisoned, in their prime, before a big payday?

If you won’t pay Revis, who will you pay?

Jadeveon Clowney?  A victory-challenged Jets team will be in the running for the South Carolina stud next April, but he’ll want Revis-like money, or more, when his time comes too.

The bottom line is, with the acquired pick from Tampa Bay, the Jets hope to draft a player who can one day, possibly, be the type of star Revis already is today.

New GM, John Idzik, deserves a chance to try and find that elite player.  At the end of the day, will it matter though?

If the past week is any indication, it won’t.

Draft choice tonight.  Financial castaway tomorrow.

Take that to the bank.

You know Woody will.

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Jets Fans Losing Patience with Revis

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 8/25/10

Revis Island is a lonely place these days.  Once a thriving, popular destination, the island has been evacuated, deserted by once loyal visitors dressed in green and white.

Has Darrelle Revis Alienated Himself From Jets Fans?

Over the past 24 days, the Darrelle Revis saga has taken a dramatic shift in the court of public opinion.  A stalemate that once saw Jets fans side with the disgruntled cornerback now has most rethinking their allegiance, choosing to favor the organization’s position instead.

It’s a surprising twist considering the Jets recent history regarding popular, and important, players looking for new contracts (see Pete Kendall & Leon Washington).  However, Revis’s perceived unwillingness to negotiate or compromise has left Jets fans frustrated with the NFL’s best corner.

They want one thing, and one thing only: a Super Bowl Title.  That’s it.  It’s been 42 long years without one for Gang Green and the 2010 season represents the organization’s best opportunity to change that.  Revis’s self-imposed absence from camp, and his demands to be the highest paid corner in the league, leaves Jets fans questioning his desire to win and labels him as a selfish, “me-first” player.

Darrelle Me-vis.

If a “media blackout” wasn’t in effect, Revis would be telling his side of the story.  He’d be preaching about his fear of injury without a guaranteed contract in place, and he’d point to the recently jettisoned Leon Washington as his “Exhibit A.”  He’d want everyone to know that the Jets were the ones to first approach him with plans for a re-worked contract, claiming he had out-played his existing deal (a pact he ironically held out to get as a rookie).  He’d also mention that his skills are far superior to those of Nnamdi Asomugha, the new salary standard for NFL corners, and the man Raiders’ owner, Al Davis, grossly overpaid to keep.

All valid points.

However, over the last 24 days, fans have not heard a peep out of Revis camp.  Instead, they’ve become more enchanted with the players actually in Jets camp, admiring their work ethic and determination on HBO’s Hard Knocks.  They’ve also watched two players with similar contract concerns,Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, report to camp, work hard, and earn new deals “the right way.”

In addition, Jets fans have bought into Head Coach, Rex Ryan’s swagger, and truly believe this is a win-now team – with or without Darrelle Revis.

Revis is the best player on the Jets, though he is not bigger than the team.  But make no mistake about it, Jets fans: Gang Green is a better team with Number 24 on the field.  Period.  If this team, and tortured fan-base, have any aspirations of hoisting a Lombardi Trophy in February 2011, they are going to need Revis there to help.

For the time being, Revis Island remains dark.  Disillusioned fans have lost interest in his demands and chosen to support a team dedicated to winning rather than their money-hungry defensive star.

A deal will eventually get done, and when it does, Revis Island will, once again, open its gates.  The question remains, will Jets fans, once again, open their arms, welcoming back the team’s most dominating player?

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It’s a Hard Knock Life…For Gang Green

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 3/25/10

Move over Orphan AnnieRex Ryan just registered for summer classes at the school of Hard Knocks.

This August, the New York Jets will be the latest team featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks, a documentary series produced in conjunction with NFL Films.  The novel reality show takes football fans behind closed doors inside an NFL locker room, giving them access to internal coaches meetings, practices, and players’ personal lives away from the field.

This summer, Rex Ryan’s players won’t be the only ones hanging on his every word.

The Jets will be the seventh team featured on the show that first featured aBaltimore Ravensteam, in 2001, with a feisty, loud defensive coach named…Rex Ryan.

This time, Ryan is running the show in New York.  He will most likely run the show on HBO too.  His Big Apple-sized personality is the perfect fit for reality television.  His bluster and quick-witted comments will keep viewers on their toes, plus, his recent lap-band surgery, and the eating challenges that lie ahead, adds a human element sidebar that should add to the intrigue.

Throw in a marketable, second-year franchise QB (Mark Sanchez), a trash-talking veteran linebacker (Bart Scott), arguably the best defensive player in the league – barring an extended holdout, (Darrelle Revis), a young stud running back (Shonn Greene), and a newly acquired, future first-ballot Hall of Famer (Ladainian Tomlinson), and the Jets should be must-see-TV this summer.

In addition, coming off a surprisingly successful run through the AFC Playoffs in 2009, the Jets will have a “Super Bowl or Bust” mentality this season as they leave their old home behind and prepare to open up a new, state-of-the-art Stadium in the Meadowlands.  It remains to be seen whether their inclusion on the show will distract them on the way to reaching their lofty goals.

It will certainly be a learning experience…

From the school of Hard Knocks.

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