Jets Waste Opportunity. “Nick & Brick” Window Now Shut.

By Jason Klein

Today, the Jets look towards the future without a very important piece from their past.

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills

Mangold’s Jets Career Could Be Over.

Bryce Petty gets his second start at quarterback just days after the team placed center Nick Mangold on season-ending injured reserve. The move could signal the end of Mangold’s 11-year run with the Jets. Even if he returns, this season’s injury woes proved that his best days are behind him.

One of the most dependable and talented centers in NFL history, Mangold has only one season left on his contract. He’ll turn 33 next month, and will carry a large salary cap charge of $9.1 million into 2017 – both reasons why the Jets could decide to move on.

If they do, it would be a wasted opportunity for a franchise that wastes a lot of them.

In 2006, the Jets drafted Mangold, and left tackle, D’Brickashaw Ferguson in the first round. Over the next decade, they would anchor a dominant offensive line and stabilize the team’s core. In all that time, the Jets failed to find a true franchise quarterback for them to protect.

Inexplicable.

It’s been almost 50 years since Joe Namath wagged his finger atop football’s highest peak. The Jets haven’t been able to replace him since. Perhaps most frustrating of all – the star-crossed franchise wasn’t able to do so within the 10-year “Nick & Brick” window.

Imagine a baseball team boasting an elite pitching staff, all healthy and in their prime, but unable to secure any top hitters to score any runs.

ferguson

Ferguson Retired in 2015.

A waste.

Aside from quarterback, a center and left tackle are arguably the most important positions on a football team. The Jets haven’t had to worry about filling those holes for a decade now.

Before this season’s ankle issues, Mangold had been a rock at center, going to 7 Pro Bowls and missing only 4 games over his first 10 years. Ferguson retired in 2015 after a 10-year career with the Jets. He went to 3 Pro Bowls and played in all 160 regular season games, only missing one play. One play!

The only thing more reliable than these two has been the team’s lackluster play at quarterback.

The Jets thought they found their man in 2009 when Mark Sanchez took them to the first of back-to-back AFC Title Games. That was as close as they would come, though. Sanchez fizzled and the search continued.

Today, Petty gets his shot.

It’s too early to tell if he’ll be the answer.

It’s too late for him to do it behind “Nick & Brick.”

Wasted opportunity.

 

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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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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,

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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Not Easy Being Green on Super Sunday

By Jason Klein

As Seen in In New York Magazine  – 2/3/12

Wait, there’s a game this Sunday?  Who knew?

OK, I admit it; I’ll watch the Super Bowl.

I don’t want to, but I will.

Let me explain.  This native New Yorker has the fanatical misfortune of rooting for the wrong team in town.  As a Jets fan, I admit that my allegiance is misguided.  I’ve accepted my role as a second-class citizen within New York’s football fandom.

Over the years, I’ve watched Jets teams lose games, seasons, and their minds in ways that would make the Bad News Bears blush.  I’ve witnessed Super Bowl dreams, seemingly within reach, decimated by injury, ignorance, and ineptitude.  This franchise is a bigger tease than a Kardashian.

A Giants/Patriots Super Bowl Will Be Tough for Jets Fans

Kermit the Frog had it right: It’s not easy being green.

Despite my eternal pessimism, I continue to passionately support them and hold out hope that one day, my Super dream of a championship might be a reality.

Until then, I’ll watch other teams compete for a Lombardi Trophy each February.  On Sunday, I have the distinct displeasure of watching New York’s more successful team, the Giants, battle the Jets’ biggest rival, the New England Patriots, for a Super Bowl Title.

It’s like being forced to watch your school’s bully and most popular kid fight to the death over the girl you have been chasing your whole life.

Yeah, I’m bitter.

I don’t dislike either team.  I really don’t.  I respect what the Giants and Patriots have accomplished this season, and in previous campaigns.  Yet, the perennial dysfunction that seems to infect Jets seasons past and present leaves me green with envy over the successes of my team’s two biggest rivals.

Even Jets Pro Bowl Center, Nick Mangold admits, “No matter who wins the game, it’s going to be a bad outcome for us as players and for the fans.”

It’s my obligation as a football fan to watch the Super Bowl.  I get it.  I’ll be more interested in the wings and beer than the game itself, but yes, I’ll watch it.

The cathartic viewing will tweak my pigskin inferiority complex, but ultimately build character.  When it’s over, I’ll emotionally hit the reset button, and await a new beginning in 2012.

There’s always next season.  The optimistic cliché represents all that is great about sports.  Especially in the NFL, a league predicated on parody.

Before that new beginning, there must be an end.

Apparently, the Giants and Patriots will do the honors on Sunday.

At least that’s the rumor.

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Lack of Team Unity, Not Ryan’s Mouth, The Jets Problem

By Jason Klein 

Originally Written For JetsTwit.com – 1/3/12

Rex Ryan needs to keep talking a big game.

Ryan is a lot of things: he’s blusterous, boisterous, and at times, obnoxiously confident.   But, he is not the problem.

The New York Jets sputtered to the end of an underachieving 8-8 season Sunday in Miami, and now a long offseason littered with difficult decisions looms larger than Ryan’s ego.  Their performance down the stretch was uninspired and their lack of team unity was embarrassing, but the blame shouldn’t rest entirely at Ryan’s feet (no pun intended).

Rex Ryan & The Jets Finished at 8-8 in 2011

Sure, as head coach, Ryan is responsible for a lot of what goes on.  He certainly made his share of mistakes in 2011, but his overzealous approach with the media is not one of them.

All NFL coaches believe they are capable of leading their team to a Super Bowl.  Ryan just chooses to consistently communicate it to the world.  What’s wrong with being confident and letting people know about it?

What should he do?  Lie and tell the press that he doesn’t believe in his team and they’d be lucky to win 8 games?

It’s possible that his big mouth pins big expectations on the backs of his players, but the attention he deflects away from them is also invaluable.

In his first two seasons in New York, his methods were successful, allowing the players to just focus on football and get within 30 minutes of the Super Bowl…twice.  There’s no doubt, 2011 was a setback, but it shouldn’t define Ryan, or the Jets.  Instead, how they rebound in 2012 will serve as a better barometer.

Those begging for Ryan to tone it down next year should take a second look at what the real problem is: team unity.  Extracting selfish players like Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie would be a good place to start.

Holmes has been nothing but a liability since signing his 5-year, $45M contract in the offseason, bringing shame upon himself, and the captain’s “C” he wore on his chest this season.  His childish antics on the field, in the locker room, and in front of the media fractured the team, destroying all the harmony built during Ryan’s tenure to date.  His spat with Quarterback, Mark Sanchez in a recent team meeting was also counterproductive and harmful.

Cromartie’s inconsistent play proved detrimental to both the defense and special teams in 2011.   His selfishness as a player, and immaturity as a person also became very apparent with his damning post-game comments on Sunday, openly questioning the efforts of the offense in front of the media.

Santonio Holmes Mopes on the Sideline Sunday

The Jets can do without both Holmes and Cromartie moving forward.  Instead, they need to focus on taking care of true team leaders, respected veteran players who are passionate about their team, their job, and let their play on the field do the talking.  Letting go of former Jets like Kris Jenkins, Tony Richardson, Shaun Ellis, Thomas Jones, and Alan Faneca proved costly.  Current guys like Ladainian Tomlinson, David Harris, and Nick Mangold now fit the bill.

Importing prima donna players like Holmes and Cromartie threatens team unity, creating a dysfunctional group of players rather than a strong unit fighting a common battle together.  Ryan has always prided himself on his ability to coach even the most insubordinate players.  Perhaps it’s time for Ryan to check his ego at the Florham Park doors and build his team around good players with even better backgrounds and attitudes.

Some players are describing the Jets locker room this season as a “zoo.”  It didn’t get that way because of the culture Ryan creates with his rants.  Everyone loves playing for Rex, but not everyone can handle the freedom and player-friendly atmosphere he creates.

Rex Ryan’s mouth is not the problem.  His words are harmless, intended to fire up his players and deflect pressure.  Instead, the Jets must worry about finding more high quality individuals this offseason, guys who will play hard for 60 minutes each week and leave all the talking to their head coach.

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Hard Knock Jets Get Knocked Out in AFC Title Game…Again.

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 1/25/11

His eyes were bleary.  His voice was filled with uncertainty.  The New York Jets had just fallen to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game and Jason Taylor was addressing the media.

Taylor and his Jets teammates had the rug pulled out from under their magic carpet ride towards a Super Bowl appearance, and he was discussing the harsh reality that awaited them in the offseason.

“This team as you see it tonight will never be together again,” he said. “Whether Jason Taylor’s back, or anybody else is back, it will not be the same football team again.  It just can’t be.  It’s sad in its own right.”

The Jets will huddle up this offseason to regroup for a 2011 Super Bowl run.

It’s sad, but that’s life in today’s National Football League.  Teams looking to maintain a certain level of success each year must contend with factors like expiring contracts, salary caps, injuries, and age – all of which play a role in shaping a roster.

The 2010 Jets were built to win now.  They acquired veterans entering the final year of their contract, and although their hand was stacked, they folded in Pittsburgh.  Now they must deal with the ramifications after pushing all their chips to the center of the table.

Tough decisions will have to be made on key free agents like Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, Brad Smith, Shaun Ellis, and David Harris, among others.  Both kicker Nick Folk and punter Steve Weatherford are free agents too.  Gang Green will also have to reach a verdict on the futures of aging superstars Ladainian Tomlinson and the aforementioned Taylor.

The Jets were presented with an opportunity in 2010, a once-in-a-lifetime shot to play for a Lombardi trophy.  So what will it take for the Jets to get this chance again?  It starts with another draft, mini camp, and grueling training camp two-a-days.  They must endure another four-game pre-season and sixteen-game regular season.  Along the way, they have to avoid potential pitfalls like key injuries, treacherous weather conditions, and any off-the-field issues that could prevent a player from performing.

If they manage to surface with a playoff-worthy record in January 2012, they’ll have to win at least one postseason game (at most two) just to get back to the same exact position they already had on Sunday morning.

It’s possible.  After all, they’ve now done it two years in a row.  They have a young, and now experienced quarterback in Mark Sanchez, and a passionate Head Coach in Ryan. One would have to believe they are set up well in those two key areas for years to come.  As long as Ryan is leading the Jets, the mission statement won’t change either.  He expects the Jets to be chasing a Super Bowl every season, starting with 2011.

In truth though, chances like the one the Jets just had are rare.  Just ask Taylor.  It took him fourteen seasons to get to this point, and he had to join the hated rival of his former Dolphins to do so.  Taylor gave it everything he had, invested in Rex Ryan’s scheme, and believed his career would come to an end with him hoisting the Lombardi trophy in a green and white uniform.

Long-time suffering Jets fans also had dreams of green and white confetti raining from above.  It will be 43 years and counting since Joe Namath led the Jets to glory in Super Bowl III, the franchise’s only appearance on the big stage.  After all the hype, the free agent additions, Hard Knocks, Ryan’s bluster, the 11-5 record, and road playoff victories over Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, the fans believed this 2010 Jets team would be the one special enough to end the drought.

The Steelers had other ideas.  The sobering reality left Taylor, his teammates, his head coach, and all fans bleary-eyed, filled with uncertainty, and forced to accept that this team, as constituted, will never be together again.  It just can’t be.

A missed opportunity.  It’s sad, in its own right.

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Same Old Jets Advance to AFC Title Game…Again!

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 1/18/11

Just End The Suffering.

The always-candid Head Coach of the New York Jets stood at the podium Sunday night in Foxborough, MA.  His team had just knocked off the top-seeded New England Patriots 28-21, earning them a spot in the AFC Championship Game for the second consecutive season.  Rex Ryan looked out at the throng of reporters before him and punctuated the evening with his usual bravado, giving positive meaning to a phrase once dripping with negativity.

Sanchez Celebrates in Foxborough, Now 1 Win From the Super Bowl.

“Same old Jets,” he said, “Back to the AFC Championship Game.  The only difference is, this time we plan on winning.”

It’s rare in sports that a team gets a shot at a do-over, but that’s exactly what awaits Gang Green this Sunday in Pittsburgh.  Just twelve months removed from their last shot at an AFC crown, the Jets defied the odds, backed up all the talk, and are once again just sixty minutes away from the Super Bowl.

It’s only the fourth time in their, at times, tortured past, that the Jets have advanced this deep into the playoffs.  They have only won the Conference Championship once, the same season they won their only Super Bowl, in January 1969.

That year, the legendary Joe Namath guaranteed they would win the Super Bowl, Ryan has repeatedly predicted the same outcome for this year’s squad.  Is there any reason to doubt him anymore?

In two seasons with the Jets, Ryan has transformed the culture within the organization and the mindset of its fan base.  His confidence is contagious, his personality is infectious.  He has delivered on every single thing he has promised to date, except one thing – a Super Bowl.

He can take another step towards cashing that check on Sunday at frosty Heinz Field.  It’s something this team shouldn’t take lightly, despite their overwhelming confidence.  Though it only took them one season to get back to the Title Game, there is no assurance they will ever return again.  Plus, with labor unrest, and a potential work stoppage in 2011, now is the time for Ryan to end the misery and capture the team’s first Lombardi Trophy in 42 years.

In order to get to Dallas, home of Super Bowl XLV,  the Jets will have to beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh for the second time in a month.  It’s a tall task, but it’s a game they must win.  There are no moral victories for just getting back to the Title Game – not when your mission statement is a Super Bowl victory or bust.

Make no mistake about it, defeating the Patriots on Sunday was a great accomplishment, but there is no relief for Jets fans.  That won’t come until Mark Sanchez is picking green and white confetti out of his curly mane.

Back in August, during the first episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks, Ryan announced their goal in 2010 was to win the Super Bowl.  He then famously bellowed, “I want to lead the league in wins.”  Two more victories would accomplish both goals, a Title and a 15-5 overall record – good for most wins in the NFL this year.

Before then, the Same Old Jets are headed back to the AFC Championship Game.  The only difference is, this time they plan on winning.

It’s been 42 years in the making.  Get it done.

Just End The Suffering.

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Like Namath, Rex Ryan Intends To Keep His Promise

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 1/12/11

Joe Namath once guaranteed Super Bowl triumph, and delivered.

Rex Ryan pledged the same thing two years ago.  His quest continues Sunday in Foxboro against the Patriots in their AFC Divisional Playoff Game.

Rex Ryan Looks To Deliver a Title for the Jets

Forty-two years ago today, January 12, 1969, “Joe Willie” made good on his promise, defeating the Baltimore Colts16-7 in Super Bowl III.  Not since then have the Jets had a personality quite as colorful or brash.

Since his arrival in New York, prior to the 2009 season, Rex Ryan hasn’t been coy with his intentions.  He doesn’t just want to win a Super Bowl.  He plans on it.

During his introductory press conference, he assured Jets Nation of a pending trip to the White House following a title run.  This summer, he even hand signed an ESPN Tour Bus with an inscription of, “Soon to be Champs.” Ryan is ultra-confident and doesn’t care who he offends.

“I’m not apologizing,” he said this past August.  “I just know what’s going to happen.  My crystal ball, I’m seeing a Super Bowl trophy in there.  I could be wrong, but that’s what I see.  But every time I go to work, that’s what I look at.”

Ryan can thank Namath for the trophy he ogles over each day in Florham Park.  For forty-two years, that Lombardi Trophy has stood alone.  Ryan insists he is the green & white Messiah to add another to the collection.

He faces, perhaps, his biggest challenge this weekend.  Coming off of an embarrassing 45-3 Monday Night Football thrashing last month, Ryan knows this rematch with New England will not be easy.  However, he’ll tell anyone who will listen of his plans to pull off the upset and even out-coach the former HC of the NYJ, Bill Belichick.

His bluster might seem dumb, or even reckless on the surface, but Rex Haters must understand one thing:  he just doesn’t spew anything without purpose.

Right or wrong, and always controversial, Rex Ryan takes calculated risks with each bold statement he dangles to the media.  His intentions are almost always targeted at taking pressure off his players and coaches, and putting it squarely on his own shoulders.

It’s hard to argue with the results.  In two years, Ryan has posted an impressive 20-12 regular season record, made an appearance in the AFC Championship Game, and won a total of 3 playoff games (so far), more than any other Jets Head Coach in history.

Love him or hate him, Rex Ryan delivers.  If he can pull three more victories out of his Jets cap this year, and make good on his promise, he’ll own New York.

Just like “Joe Willie” did, forty-two years ago today.

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