This has been a pretty strange football season, and heading into week 15 leaves us Jets fans wondering what to expect from our team.
O' to be a fan of the beloved green and white, where at one time we were 8-3 coming off 5 straight wins. Three of those wins were against quality teams in their house. Teams like the Bills, Patriots and Titans were the quality opponents that the Jets needed to beat to prove they deserved some attention around the league, and thats exactly what they did. Jet fans were aglow with pride and there were even whispers of head coach Eric Mangini as a nominee for coach of the year. After all, the Jets were 4-12 last year and now they were leading the division after filling a bunch of holes in the off-season. There were a couple stumbles earlier in this season, but the team fought on and grew stronger. Whenever one aspect of the team struggled in a particular game, another one picked up the slack and responded. Ah yes, things were good. Some fans were even daydreaming of a superbowl appearance, and I am guilty of pondering that scenerio a couple of times myself. I mean, why not us this time?
Its seems that the boys out on the field wearing the green and white uni's were daydreaming too. The division leading Broncos were coming to town, but how was their defense going to contain us? We were riding high on the hog, how dare they come here and expect to compete with the self annointed AFC superbowl representitives? Well, they didnt get the memo. They came to play ball, and they came to prove they were deserving of some attention too.
It was a tough loss to a scrappy Denver team, but it also raised some doubts as to how good the Jets really are. Some fans went back off the deep end with their patented "the sky is falling" tantrums and believe it or not were calling for the coach to be fired. Yeah its crazy I know, but some fans just need to hate to feel human.
Then comes the 3rd trip to the west coast of the year to play the 49ers. Well Im not going to lie, I thought this was the game where things turned around for the Jets and the hangover would be medicated. Didnt happen. Im not sure, but this couldve been our worst showing of the entire season. Sloppy mistakes, bad execution and questionable gameplanning are phrases that pop into my head at the moment. There are others, but they are in no way PG-13.
Now the fanbase is in turmoil. They are on ledges and cliffs the world over, either trying to make sense of it all or ripping the organization to shreds while typing their last will and testament. This is proof!! The sky IS falling!!
Run Chicken Little, run into your underground bunker and hide your head.
The loss in San Fran did suck, and it was like a punch in the guts with an empty stomach. Why? Well it was supposed to be the return of the almighty NY Jets to superhero status, but I guess they are mere mortals. That is what sucked so bad, I wanted to see the hero and all of the Jets fans did too. I wanted to see this team progress from where they were, to fight like mighty warriors, to give all they can give out there while playing with flawless perfection. This team has too much talent to play like a bunch of high school dropouts and dammit I expected more.
Well you know what? They did play like mere mortals of the high school dropout variety. It was crushing. Actually, it was more than crushing, it was dream crushing. The dreamy images of this team that were conjured up in our heads, the ones that put this team on a higher pedestal than they belonged were invaded by harsh reality.
The harsh reality that this team still has some significant holes in it.
The harsh reality that this team cant just sleep-walk through the majority of a football game and expect the other team to hand over a victory.
The harsh reality that this team is still working out some bugs in nearly every aspect of itself.
The harsh reality that this team has got to fight for every square inch of real estate for the next 3 weeks to even make the post season.
The harsh reality that we as fans are on a roller coaster named the Jets, and that we will all get back in line after every ride so we can have daydreams again to escape the harsh reality.
It wont be easy for the Jets, but then again it shouldnt be. This is football and you have to play like you want it more than the other guy or you wont succeed. If the Jets are going to be mere mortals, then at least be mere mortals who realize they still control their own destiny. Maybe along the way they will discover how to look like superheros again.
It wont be easy, but it has never been easy being green.