Do you want to know why baseball is the best sport? Because its professional league is the only one to complete its season entirely in one calendar year. So you never have to say something like “the 2012-13 Cleveland Indians.” And there’s never any confusion which year you mean when you say “the 2008 World Series champions.” Fuck the other sports and their bifurcated seasons.
Maybe I’m just feeling particularly bitter toward the NFL this season because I’m a Jets fan.
It’s fitting that the Jets’ nickname is Gang Green, because according to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of gangrene include:
- Severe pain followed by a feeling of numbness
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
Sounds about right.
We are all that crying baby.
I’m excited for the upcoming football season. I think? For fantasy football, at least.
As a Jets fan, though, I’m wishing that we could just skip this season altogether. And maybe the next couple as well.
Just one year ago at this time, life was good for Jets fans. The team was coming off back-to-back AFC championship game losses, seemed to be on the upswing, and expectations were high for perhaps even a Super Bowl appearance. Just seven months earlier, the Jets had beaten the Patriots on the road in the second round of the playoffs, the signature win for the franchise since their victory in Super Bowl III. Hope existed in some form that Mark Sanchez would become a viable NFL starting quarterback. Rex Ryan appeared to be the rare football coach who could both strategize and inspire without being a complete cunt.
Now, the Jets are searching for love in a hopeless place. The “Super Bowl contenders” went 0-5 against teams with winning records last season, submarining an 8-8 campaign that disappointed in almost every conceivable way. Sanchez regressed. Rex Ryan lost the clubhouse. The vaunted defense underperformed. The offensive line resembled a sieve. Even the kicking/punting game was a disgrace.
GM Mike Tannenbaum and Ryan took a confusing path in the offseason, retaining most of the team, gambling that last season was a fluke rather than arbiter of lackluster talent. The brain trust did nothing to shore up the offensive line, meaning that even if Sanchez improves, he’ll be on his back too often to show it. Their draft class, which didn’t address all of their needs in the first place, ended up with three of the eight picks cut in training camp. The Jets have no number two receiver. Tannenbaum seemed to nap through the spring and summer.
Oh no wait, he did do one thing. That’s right.
Unable to land an upgrade over Sanchez at quarterback, the Jets executed two seemingly contradictory moves: they gave Sanchez a contract extension to placate him after trying to land Peyton Manning, and then they sabotaged Sanchez’s season by bringing in Tim Tebow to be his “backup.”
The move never made sense on any level: Tebow has shown he’s an inept NFL quarterback who fans inexplicably love. So the best case scenario is that he stays on the bench while fans boo Sanchez all season, the Sanchize’s confidence stricken and his play suffering (even more than usual). The best case scenario is a full-blown quarterback controversy, with Tebow eventually taking over and throwing passes at running backs’ feet for the final half of the season.
So there is no joy in our half of Giants Stadium this year. Jets fans find themselves staring into the abyss of another half-decade of irrelevance, a place the franchise knows all too well. There’s a lot of bad football teams whose fans should not expect any enjoyment from this season, don’t get me wrong. But Jets fans have to contend with:
- The disappointment of a franchise that seemed so close to the pinnacle so recently, now poised to spiral down the drain
- A pretty unlikable bunch of guys
- Having to contend with The Sports’ Biggest Douchebag, now that Tebow has officially taken the mantle from Brett Favre (also a recent Jet)
- Watching many of our own fanbase — which is not exactly rife with intelligence and wit in the first place — rally around The Holy One and actively harm their own team
- The fucking Wildcat
- Tony Sparano, recently fired from one of the league’s worst teams, somehow now running the offense and amassing significant power?
For the record: I still love Rex Ryan, and I think it would be a massive mistake to fire him if the Jets have a shitty season. And watching Darrelle Revis is a delight every week. But the 2012-2013 NFL season is going to be a depressing slog.