I have been a fan of the New York Jets since 1981, when I was 6 years old, and Richard Todd was the quarterback, Freeman McNeil was the running back, and they went all the way to the AFC Championship game before losing to Miami, 14-0, and A.J. Duhe intercepted Todd about 32 times that day. That was my first Jets heartbreak, and of course it was followed by 4,328 more.
I have watched Jets games in many states, physically (and I believe in 2-3 other countries), and in many states, emotionally (often sad, depressed, questioning my life choices as the third quarter bleeds down and the Jets are losing 31-6).
I didn’t think any new feelings or emotions watching the Jets could still be had, but here we are 36 years after my first becoming a fan, and something new and weird is happening.
I’m watching the 2017 Jets, and part of me wants them to lose. And another part of me yells at the part of me that wants them to lose and screams “Are you crazy?”
This hasn’t happened before. Oh, there have been games where, for the purposes of playoff matchups or something like that, I’ve been like “OK, fine, whatever, they lost, it’s better they’re now playing Team X instead of Y)
But not for an entire season. But here’s the deal: The Jets have done everything possible to be terrible this season. They’ve traded or cut just about all of their talented veteran players, in the hopes of being so bad, they’ll get a shot at a No. 1 pick and one of the many highly-rated college quarterbacks who are expected to be available in the next NFL Draft.
This is how you have to do it in the NFL, if you’re bad but not bad enough to get a top pick. You don’t “tank,” per se, but you strip your roster down and expect the worst.
Which is what is supposed to be happening to the Jets this year. Right now they are supposed to be 0-4, looking feeble on offense, defense and in coaching. And I mentally prepared myself for that before the season. Look, they haven’t had a franchise QB in forever, even if you count Chad Pennington and that was 15 years ago!
So I was totally prepared to suck it up, lose interest a little this year, and watch them go 2-14, or even better, 1-15.
And yet… they are tied in the standings today with the New England Patriots. How much money in Vegas you could’ve won if you’d taken that bet five weeks ago, I can only imagine.
But this ragtag bunch of nobodies, led by a 38-year-old quarterback who remembers renting VHS tapes as a kid, has won two straight games, including 23-20 over Jacksonville Sunday.
And as I’m watching this, I’m secretly happy my team is winning, because it doesn’t happen that often, but I’m also pissed because they’re blowing their chance to finally get what so many other franchise’s fans have gotten: A truly amazing QB. Who the hell wants to go 6-10 (which is where they’re headed this year) and get a left tackle or a defensive back? Let’s be horrendous, historically awful and get the next Peyton Manning or Drew Brees!
It’s a weird, weird feeling to kind of hope your team loses, because you know long-term, that would benefit them the most.
But hey, the Jets have 2 wins, and the Giants have zero. And that’s something to smile about if you’re me today.
Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts:
— The Patriots defense is bad. Really, really bad. Maybe as bad as it’s been under Belichick. They’ve given up the second-most points in the whole league (128). Figures the year the Jets decide to try to lose, is the year New England finally falls back a little.
— The Rams are 3-1 and still aren’t any good. The Giants are 0-4 and I can’t believe they’re this bad. They play next week, so maybe I’ll be right about one of those things.
— Hey Chargers owner Dean Spanos, how’s that move to L.A. working out? Your team is 0-4 and can’t fill a 27,000 seat stadium.
**Next up, “Saturday Night Live” had its season premiere on Saturday night, and as expected, had a field day with the actions and Tweets of the 4-year-old currently occupying the Oval Office. The whole “Weekend Update” segment on Hurricane Maria was fantastic, but here’s just a small snippet of Michael Che, saying what so many of us are saying, but not on national television.
I know I’ve said this before, but can the man get any lower than calling the Puerto Rican people lazy and saying “they want everything to be done for them,” before claiming the Democrats instructed the San Juan mayor to be “nasty” to him and then continually bringing up the territory’s debt?
As Charlie Pierce aptly said on Twitter this weekend, “Don’t know what the metric is for measuring how much of a heartless, soulless hellbat a POTUS is, I’m pretty sure we broke the meter today.”
**Finally today, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is back! I’m super, super excited to see what the funniest show on TV has left after a six-year absence, though one should never doubt the insanity that lurks inside the mind of Larry David.
The season 9 premiere was Sunday night, and I haven’t watched it yet, but someone on the Internet gave me a good idea: They were telling someone about “Curb” and wondered if you had to show them one scene to sum up what it’s about, what would you show. They chose this clip, which is great, but I like this one: Larry and Cheryl, on a road trip to her sister’s husband’s baptism in the river.