Same Old Jets? Not This Time…I think.

By Jason Klein

Same Old Jets?

This time was different.

Bowles

Jets Head Coach, Todd Bowles

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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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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Thanks, Rex.

By Jason Klein

Thanks, Rex.

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.

Rex Ryan Has Been The Jets Head Coach Since 2009.

Rex Ryan Has Been The Jets Head Coach Since 2009.

If today is the last time you don that black Jets vest, let me just simply say:

Thanks, Rex.

Thanks for navigating the Jets to within one game of the Super Bowl.

Twice.

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.

Twice.

For that alone, I offer my gratitude and simply say:

Thanks, Rex.

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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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Dear Mr. Woody Johnson

By Jason Klein

Dear Mr. Woody Johnson,

Keep Rex.

Keep your players happy.  Keep your fan base happy.

Keep your team’s momentum going.

Earlier this month, you admitted you were “pretty happy with the way things were going.”  Here’s your opportunity to keep them moving in the right direction.

Keep your word.

Back in January 2013, when formally announcing Rex would stay on as coach for the upcoming season, you gushed: “…Rex Ryan is perfect for the New York Jets….I’m totally happy with Rex as head coach…I think it’s going to produce something really good.”  If anything, the last 12 months of Rex should have reinforced these positive feelings of yours.

Keep focused on football.

Photo Credit: nydailynews.com

Photo Credit: nydailynews.com

You love making headlines.  You also love money and politics.  Time to finally show Jets fans you love winning football games too.  I implore you to act in the best interest of your football team here.  There’s no one better suited to lead this team than the man you already have in place.  If you don’t want him, another team will snap him up faster than Santonio Holmes can walk out on the media.

Keep Rex.

I’m a life-long Jets fan, and season ticket holder, and like most, I struggle to think of any justifiable reason to let Rex Ryan go.  He keeps your team relevant, his players believe in him, and he clearly gets the most out of the talent he works with.

This season, you sent Chef Ryan into the kitchen with ground beef and asked him to prepare a filet mignon. With a rookie quarterback and a roster loaded with less talent than a Kardashian, he was still able to cook up a 7-8 record with one game to play.  It’s a mark that tastes pretty good to Jets fans who expected a sour season from the start.

Keep our trust.

Don’t let the 2013 season come off as a charade.  Ryan has done enough to warrant an extension.  Anything less would reek of predetermined peddling behind closed doors.  John Idzik believes in competition.  No one competed harder for his job than Rex Ryan this year.

When everyone else gave up on his ability to lead, and to coach, he stayed the course.  He’s successfully squeezed juice out of the rock you threw at him, and Jets fans like myself are thirsty for more

Over the last two years, he’s won with no-name players and risen above unnamed sources.  He outlasted the circus, yet, you would be a real clown if you let go of Rex now.

As we approach the final Sunday of this shockingly successful season, please keep in mind:

Your players want him back.  Your fans want him back.

Don’t take a step backwards here.  Keep things moving in the right direction.

Keep Rex.

Sincerely,

Jason Klein

@JasonKlein24

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Thank Rex

By Jason Klein

Be thankful for Rex.

He’s won 5 out of 11 games with a bunch of turkeys.

He deserves an extension.

Coach of the Year consideration too.

Seriously.

You think his paltry crop of receivers have bad hands?  Look at the one Rex Ryan was dealt this season.

Rex Ryan has the Jets in contention on Thanksgiving.

Rex Ryan has the Jets in contention on Thanksgiving.

These days, his team’s roster of talent is slimmer than he is.  He reports to a new general manager, is forced to start a new quarterback, and could be looking for a new job at season’s end – a move predetermined by management.

He lost his bravado when John Idzik arrived.  He lost his best player when Darrelle Revis departed.  His secondary regularly gets carved up like a Thanksgiving Turkey.

His team was picked dead last in ESPN’s preseason rankings and there was no indication things would turn out differently than predicted.

When everyone else gave up on his team, and his coaching abilities, he stayed the course.

Ryan has overcome the odds, outlasted the “Three T’s” (Turmoil, Tannenbaum and Tebow), and miraculously won 5 of 11 games.  Despite horrific performances the last two weeks, he still has this feeble Jets roster in playoff contention on Thanksgiving.

To his credit, his players continue to play hard for him and he continues to get the most he can out of what he has to work with.

Which isn’t much.

Ordinarily, a 5-6 record should not be celebrated.

Yet, for these New York Jets, who many expected to flock among the NFL’s biggest turkeys, it’s something to be thankful for.

Start by thanking Rex.

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Sanchez Bamboozled Again

By Jason Klein

It fits.

You know, Mark Sanchez reportedly losing his job the way he did.

One final indignity for the man continuously bamboozled by his own organization.

Inexplicably thrown to the wolves during his 4th quarter preseason appearance against the Giants, Sanchez was done in, again, by the very team he once led to two AFC Championship Games in a row.  This time, he sustained an injury that could ultimately derail his career in New York.

Once again, Sanchez was done in by his own team.

Once again, Sanchez was done in by his own team.

Bruised Shoulder.

Broken Career.

It’s not shocking, over the last two seasons, that Sanchez has regressed.  It can’t be easy to succeed in the NFL when you have to battle an opponent, and your own team at the same time.

Seemingly on a weekly basis, Sanchez has been given every opportunity to fail.  After his first two successful seasons, Jets decision makers left him with a diluted supporting cast, flirted with Peyton Manning, and publically humiliated him when Woody Johnson told the world “You can never have too much Tebow.”  It was a statement, and a personnel decision, that divided the Jets locker room and fan base.

Then, Tebow left and Geno arrived.

They drafted Geno Smith and privately hoped he’d unseat the incumbent Sanchez.  New GM, John Idzik, ultimately got his secret wish…by default.

When Rex Ryan decided the Snoopy Bowl was more important than the wellbeing of his Week 1 starting quarterback, Sanchez sustained a hit to his throwing shoulder.  He now finds his status with the Jets more questionable than a Miley Cyrus performance.

Bottom line is, they haven’t treated Sanchez like a franchise quarterback, and consequently, he hasn’t played like one either.  He’ll never be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but Sanchez has certainly proven he can win in this league when surrounded by capable talent.  Plus, it’s easily forgotten, he played only one season at USC, and is only 26 years-old.  He’s still a kid.

To be fair, Mark hasn’t done himself any favors either.  In buttfumbling fashion, he’s turned the ball over 52 times over the last 2 seasons and proved to be mistake-prone at the most inopportune times.  Opponents have undressed the inconsistent Sanchez on the field.  Frivolous, camera phone-carrying party girls have undressed him off it.  Poor decisions during, and after, games haven’t helped Sanchez.  Again, he’s still a kid.

If this is the end of his stint in New York, it will mark a stunning fall from grace for the kid from SoCal.

It’s just a shame there was nobody from the Jets organization there to catch him on the way down.

For a team who always seems to handle things with complete ineptitude…it fits.

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Dear Mr. Woody Johnson

By Jason Klein

Dear Mr. Woody Johnson,

I needed an escape.

I’m a life-long fan, and season ticket holder, and typically, the New York Jets are my escape.  While I can’t escape the inclement weather inside your inexplicably roofless stadium, I do rely on your team to help me seek refuge from life’s everyday stresses, drama and nonsense.  Unfortunately, this season, your team stressed me out with a lot of its own excess drama and nonsense.

So, I needed an escape from my escape.

I wanted to personally thank you for providing me that retreat.  By going into hiding for nine days, you’ve given me the much-needed opportunity to cleanse my mind of the filth that was the 2012 New York Jets.  When you resurface, Tuesday morning, I hope you begin to show some accountability.  On the field, your team was bad.  Off the field, they were worse.

Just two short years after reaching back-to-back AFC Championship Games, your club has become an attention-seeking, controversy-creating, butt-fumbling disaster of a franchise.  Following some questionable offseason decisions, this season was dead on arrival.  With every day that passed, the stench of a decaying Jets carcass seemed to intensify.

Your roster was filled with no-name players and your staff was filled with unnamed sources.  When Peyton Manning passed, you couldn’t pass on a quarterback that can’t pass.  Hey, “you can never have too much Tebow,” right?

Your staff single-handedly sabotaged the season by bringing in, and then misusing, Tim Tebow.  It was a distraction that divided your locker room, and your fan base.  Things got so ugly in the stands, iconic super fan, “Fireman” Ed Anzalone, hung up his fireman’s hat and “retired” as the symbolic head of Jets nation.

I know Coach Rex Ryan’s stomach is stapled, but it was clearly in knots all season long as he uncomfortably answered Tebow questions each week.  He looked tired and beaten during his weekly pressers and did everything he could to avoid answering questions directly.  Tebow certainly has all the character in the world, but he was obviously the wrong character to play the role of “back up” quarterback for your club.

Constantly looking over his shoulder at a cult figure, Mark Sanchez regressed and seemingly lost all the confidence he had shown early on in his career.  I guess that was to be expected, considering he was provided the necessary tools to fail.

Your offense was “grounded” during the pre-season and “pounded” during the regular season.  You lost your best defensive and offensive players to injury, and Coach Ryan became defensive when offensive players anonymously ripped your “back up” quarterback.

I left a table full of warm turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving to sit in your cold stadium, and watch your Turkeys get stuffed by the Patriots.  Then, amid an uncomfortable and mismanaged quarterback carousel, I watched your team lose their last three games in embarrassing fashion, finishing up at 6-10.

You disrespectfully relieved your General Manager of 16-years by releasing a lame memo to the media and then let your Offensive Coordinator twist in the blustery Meadowlands wind.  Then, you allowed Coach Ryan to flee to the Bahamas, to reveal his ridiculous Sanchez tattoo, and leave an irate, confused and abused fan base left in his wake.

To top it all, it was apparent to every devoted Jets fan that you would have rather seen Mitt Romney elected President of the United States than see your football team hoist a Lombardi Trophy.  How do we know this?  Well, you told us, live, on Bloomberg TV in October.

Please, don’t mistake my harsh words for those of a Jets-hater.  I am a glutton for Jets punishment each and every Sunday.  I’ve been doing it since birth.  I’ve just reached a point of uncharted frustration, the depths of which Rich Kotite didn’t even navigate towards.

Over the next few months, as Jets fans, like myself, look to escape the carnival-like atmosphere surrounding your team, I hope you re-dedicate yourself, and your resources, towards building a winning product.  Go chase Super Bowls, not headlines!  The best way to sell through your precious PSL’s and win the back page is to win football games.  Win a lot of them!

Please, no more controversies, no more half-truths, and no more circus attractions to grab eyeballs and credit cards.

No more stress, no more drama, and no more nonsense.

Just give me a football team I can be proud of, not embarrassed by.

Give me an escape.

Sincerely,

Jason Klein

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Jets Look Like Clowns as Tebow Circus Comes To Town

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For JetsTwit.com – 3/22/12

Tim Tebow can’t pass.  As it turns out, neither can Woody Johnson.

Rex Ryan, always talks about “chasing Super Bowls.”  Woody only chases headlines.  He can’t help himself.  Green with envy after watching the cross-stadium rival Giants win another Super Bowl last month, Johnson needed to make his New York Jets relevant again.  What better way to do so than trade for the most polarizing player in professional sports, Tim Tebow.

Congratulations, Woody.  Once again you own the back page, but not the city.

With Tebow, Johnson Right Where He Wants – In Spotlight

The Tebow acquisition will sell a ton of jerseys, maybe even a few of the PSL’s Brett Favre couldn’t in 2008, but will it win games, or titles?  Sometimes, Jets fans have to wonder if that’s even a concern of their attention-seeking, PSL-obsessed owner.

If Tebow is such an important piece, why were the Jets and the attendance-deprived Jacksonville Jaguars the only two teams interested in his services?  Why was John Elway so quick to ship him out of Denver?

Now he comes to a city where a fickle fan base will be chanting his name the first time incumbent quarterback, Mark Sanchez throws an incomplete pass on third and long.  It will be difficult for Sanchez to move forward when he’s consistently forced to look back, over his shoulder, at Tebow.

The Jets say they brought Tebow in to serve as a backup and run Tony Sparano’s Wildcat formation.  They continue to pledge their allegiance to Sanchez.  They will also tell you about the positive impact Tebow will have on their dysfunctional locker room.

Here Comes The Circus

It’s all nonsense.

Having Tebow on the roster inherently creates a quarterback controversy on the field, and adds another distraction off of it.  How will the overly religious Tebow react the first time he hears his head coach drop the Lord’s name in vain, followed by a flurry of expletives?

I doubt the two will discuss it over a God Damn Snack.

Frustrated Jets fans pray that this new “Meadowlands Messiah” can figure out a way to fit in and help win the franchise their first Super Bowl Trophy since man walked on the moon.

Though, just by signing him, Rex and the Jets finally get their ring.  Three rings, in fact.

Welcome to the circus.

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Peyton’s Not the Right Manning For New York

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For JetsTwit.com – 2/1/12

New York is only big enough for one Manning.

Baby brother, Eli, has already claimed Gotham as his own while playing for the Giants.  The Jets would be smart to avoid the temptation of signing his older brother, future Hall of Famer, Peyton.

I know, Peyton is a once-in-a-generation type of player, a Super Bowlchampion, and a 4-time league MVP.  He’s perhaps the greatest quarterback any of us will ever see.  It would be an absolute privilege watching him represent the city of New York on the field each week.

The Jets Would Be Wise to Pass on Peyton.

But…the Jets should not sign him.

This Sunday, Eli will lead his Giants in Super Bowl XLVI – his second trip to the big game as Big Blue’s general.  Meanwhile, after a disappointing 8-8 season, Rex Ryan’s Gang is Green with envy over the Giants’ success.  With a locker room in turmoil, and one Giant inferiority complex, Jets owner Woody Johnson might be eager to make a splash this offseason by signing Peyton.

Don’t do it, Woody.

It’s a mistake that could set the franchise back for years.  There is no guarantee the bold move would help the Jets take over anything more than the back pages of the local tabloids.  It would be a circus act reminiscent of Brett Favre’s failed attempt to sell PSLs in 2008.

Let’s be honest, Peyton Manning is 36 years-old and recovering from multiple neck surgeries.  Even if declared healthy enough to play, there is no way to know how he would physically hold up under actual game conditions.  If he did manage to navigate through the season unharmed, at best, he has 2-3 seasons left of service in him.

By contrast, the Jets would prematurely close the book on their 26 year-old franchise quarterback – with his entire career ahead of him – Mark Sanchez.  Yes, the “Sanchize” has taken tremendous heat this offseason for his poor production in 2011.  Media members, frustrated fans, and disgruntled teammates have also been quick to jump off his bandwagon.

Be fair though, he just completed only his third year in the league.  That’s it.  Just three seasons!  In that time, the Jets have won an impressive 28 games and played in back-to-back AFC Championship Games (2009, 2010).

Not bad.

Carrying both Peyton and Sanchez is not a feasible option.  It would be both financially irresponsible and a knock at Sanchez’s bruised ego.  Having Peyton play the role of teacher sounds like a smart plan on the surface, but it’s unlikely Mark would willingly defer his starting role without any lingering animosity towards the franchise.

This week, when asked what he would do if he were running the team, Jets legendary running back, Curtis Martin, declared he would immediately snatch up Peyton.  He called him “one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game,” and as a result, would be “interested in taking that chance” despite his advanced age and questionable health.

Martin should go speak to Jim Irsay.

The Indianapolis Colts Owner told ESPN this week, “Your responsibility is to make sure you’re not making decisions on a sentimental aspect.  This isn’t fantasy football.”  The Colts are expected to cut the face of their franchise before forking over a $28M roster bonus on March 8.

But don’t expect Peyton to file for unemployment.  Despite the tremendous risk, there will be multiple teams looking to quickly scoop him up.  The Jets ownership will be very tempted to get in the mix and land a Manning of their own.

Proceed with caution.  This town’s already got a Manning, and he has a very big day ahead of him.

Even if healthy, Peyton’s best days are behind.

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