Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Masochistics Anonymous

I've come to the following conclusion:

The New York Jets will never participate in a Super Bowl in my lifetime.

I'm not sure of the exact moment that this happened on Sunday. It could have been during Brett Favre's first interception. Or his ill advised screen pass for his second interception. Perhaps it was the moment that the Jets were down by only a touchdown late in the game, and they had their heads hung on the bench as if they were the Detroit Lions or something.

More likely, this epiphany came to me the moment that I looked up from my seat in a near empty Meadowlands to see a stadium usher standing in the aisle looking at me waiting for me to leave 20 minutes after the game had ended while I was watching the SNY postgame show on the big screen. The usher didn't have the heart to tell me it was time to go. She just waited until I came to the conclusion myself. Heck, I had to leave eventually ... after all, there's a playoff game the Stadium has to prepare for. Of course, the Jets will not be at that game without tickets.

Or maybe it came to me while waiting 40 minutes for the bus to go home ... shooting nasty looks to people as they tried to sneak ahead of me in line prompting one guy to say to his friend "don't cut this man dude, he will shoot you down!" I guess that 40 years of this team will put even the most mild mannered bloggers in the foulest of moods.

But the reality of the situation hit me so let me repeat it: The New York Jets will never ... ever ... participate in a Super Bowl in my lifetime, your lifetime, and possibly your children's lifetime.

(I threw that last part in just in case somebody thinks that the solution to this problem would be to kill me.)

Now, don't mistake that statement for me abandoning the Jets ... rooting for another team ... putting my fandom up on eBay (passe) or anything else that involves me washing away the football team that I started rooting for when Scott Dierking roamed the backfield, and I was cutting pictures of Richard Todd out of the newspaper and using them to create a Jets crest to hand in to my second grade teacher as a homework assignment. I am not abandoning the Jets. I am fully aware that I'm attached at the hip with this team for better or for worse.

But I am now fully accepting of the irrefutable fact that this team isn't sniffing the Super Bowl without some sort of massive and severe food poisoning that inexplicably hits 28 NFL locker rooms. And now that I have come to this realization, I will be a happier fan going forward, and can finally enjoy Jets football.

How do I know that the Jets will never make the Super Bowl? Because things that work for other franchises don't work here. You tell me that the Jets would have been better off drafting Joe Flacco and handing him the reins because of what he did with Baltimore? Yeah, the Jets tried that rookie quarterback route. Broadway Browning Nagle didn't work out so well, did he? (Heck, he didn't even work out so well with the Buffalo Destroyers.)

The Jets have also failed with older players ... whether it be this season, or whether it be in 1993 to try to cover up Nagle's stench. Brett Favre, Kris Jenkins, and Calvin Pace didn't work in much the same fashion that Boomer Esiason, Ronnie Lott, and Leonard Marshall didn't work. Two eras, two completely different groups of people, same result.

It works for other teams ... Reggie White worked for the Packers after he guilted the Jets into signing Esiason ("you know, if you went and got yourselves a better quarterback I might sign with you ... psych!") But it doesn't work here.

Build a team of no-names and let a Bill Belichick disciple coach them? Oh, yeah. Let's do it like the Patriots do it. That'll work.

No, you just become a cheap carbon copy from Kinko's which loses color and texture because a cheap imitation is just that.

(And speaking of Belichick, I'm beginning to think he's the smart one)

Rookie head coaches seem to work for other teams. Here, we only prepare coaches for their true dream job ... since the Jets can't possibly be anyone's dream job. The Jets are the DeVry of the NFL.

Build through the draft? Ha!

Instead of going through the litany of Jet draft picks gone down the toilet I'll only say this: I know for an absolute fact that there was an NFL team that considered Vernon Gholston a late second/early third round pick on their draft board this past April, and labeled him as a possible "bust of the year" candidate. The sad part: the team in question isn't exactly known for getting out of its own way much less success ... and they had Gholston down as a bust.

I knew Gholston was a bust.

So what do the Jets do? Draft him sixth overall. Of course.

You're starting to get the picture now? Nothing works. Nothing has worked, nothing will work. Certainly not as long as we have an owner who is content with letting his core fan base in Queens and Long Island erode by moving the practice facility out of Hofstra and going out to Florham Park in Jersey, and sharing a stadium with the Giants for the next hundred years. You thought you saw a lot of people wear Giants, Cowboys, Bucs, Steelers, and XFL jerseys at a Jets home game now? Wait until the core people in Queens and Long Island no longer want to take two, three hour drives to your stadium when it starts costing $5,000 per seat for their precious personal seat licenses. That new place will be teeming with nomad fans mixed with the wine and cheese crowd making a Jets home game look more like a tourist group passing through the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Oh, we may get to an AFC Championship or two ... maybe even three or four. But something will happen to mess it up. Something always happens.

Your response to me might be that instead of looking at the past, you'd be better served to look towards the future. Yeah ... the same future from August when the Jets traded for a Hall of Fame quarterback who, during week 17 in a must win game, threw a screen pass to a defensive lineman who returned it for a touchdown. At this point, what makes Brett Favre different from Bubby Brister?

Future? Okay. Let's draft a big time quarterback so he can get sacked 93 times.

Or, let's sign a big free agent defensive lineman so he can promptly forget how to play football (I'm looking at you, Kimo von Oelhoffen.)

Maybe the Jets can get some help for the secondary in the draft so he can be caught with five pounds of weed and three hookers in the back room of a Roy Rogers at the Dolly Madison rest stop. Because things like this happen to the Jets.

You tell me that the Jets had the chance to draft Dan Marino, Emmitt Smith, and Jerry Rice? I'll tell you that if that had happened, Marino would have retired as a rookie with multiple concussions, Smith would have blown out his knee, and Rice would have written a book called "Gimme The F#$%ing Ball!" (then been traded to Tampa to win a Super Bowl there.)

Bill Cowher? If I ever see Bill Cowher on the street I will tell him ... for his own sake ... to steer very far away from this franchise. A legacy doesn't need to be ruined here. Because once Cowher puts on that green windbreaker, it will make him do crazy things like, for example, punt after his kicker hits a 45 yard field goal with a good 15 yards to spare because your team was brain dead enough to commit a delay of game penalty on a field goal attempt. Or perhaps kick a field goal on fourth and an inch from the three yard line with 45 seconds left in the game. Or call all his timeouts in the third quarter.

The Jets could exhume Johnny Unitas, charge him back to life with the hard drive of a used iPod, and he'll still throw an interception at the goal line in the waning moments of a wild card game.

The Jets could draw DNA from Deacon Jones, use it to create a test tube baby, and draft him in 23 years. Once he puts on that Jets green, he's still a prime candidate to rough the passer on fourth down during a divisional playoff game to keep a Browns drive alive.

The Jets could play an AFC Championship in a domed stadium, and still find a way to wind up playing on a field of mud while their quarterback throws three interceptions to a defensive lineman.

It could be worse, you say? You could be a Mets fan, you say? I am a Mets fan! I was at Shea for the final game of '08, and I lived through the '07 collapse, the Yadier Molina home run, and the Subway Series. And I tell you that the New York Jets make the New York Mets look clutch. Hell, this year's Jets make the '86 Jets look clutch ... and they lost their last five down the stretch! But they didn't lose to the 3-11 Seahawks, the 4-8 Niners, or the soon to have their own collapse Denver Broncos. Mets collapses? Please. The Mets are a reasonable facsimile, but you can't reprint a Picasso. The New York Jets are the Picasso ... the Beethoven ... the Albert Einstein of EPIC FAIL!!!

You could be a Rangers fan, you say?

I'm a Rangers fan too. I root for the Hat Trick of Horror (as penned by Joe Queenan). And I'll say this: You know when a guy has a hitting streak going, but nobody really pays attention to it until he hits 40 and people start to take his chances of breaking DiMaggio's record seriously?

Well 40 is extremely close to 54. It's time to start taking this streak seriously. And as long as the Jets continue to be the Jets, 54 will be here before you know it.

It's inevitable. So I say ... embrace it. And when you get those fleeting moments of success like going to an AFC Championship game, or ending another team's perfect season to go 8-3 and be talked about as the best team in the AFC and on a collision course to meet the Giants in the Super Bowl, enjoy it. Then, turn off the television. Because it isn't going to get any better than that. I know this now, and I accept it.

See SPORTSTALKNY every Wednesday night live from 9 PM to 11 PM est at www.sportstalknylive.com. Check out past shows on the archive page and download all past interviews in the iTunes store, keyword "sportstalknypodcasts".