Will the Jets Soap Opera Ever End?


Sep 25, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson (center), coach Rex Ryan (left) and general manager Mike Tannenbaum on the sidelines before the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The last 3.75 years have been interesting in Jets land, haven’t they? If it’s not one drama, it’s another. One distraction, another distraction, a fine, a fight on the field, an emotional quarterback, an over-popular quarterback,…it could be anything. The Jets have been like one of those daytime soap operas. Will it ever end, and the Jets can focus solely on winning, for once?

We got a preview of the soap opera years ago, during the “Spygate” situation, but that was more of Patriots vs Jets, than it was of our own deep soap opera. It truly started with the entry of Rex Ryan. He brought a culture of winning, but he also brought a brashness never before seen with the New York Jets. He wasn’t going to “kiss Belichick’s rings”, and the drama begins. Picking fights with the Patriots, instead of just concentrating on BEATING the Patriots. Instead, we have confrontations, public debates. It’s taken off the football field, instead of being settled on the football field. DRAMA. “We’re going to win the Super Bowl.” Drama. We aren’t actually DOING it, we are just SAYING we are going to do it. Manufactured drama. I think this happens on General Hospital.

2010, and “As the Jets Turn”, continues. “Hard Knocks”. Everyone goes with the mantra that they just wanted to show the world how great an organization the Jets are. Remember what we saw? We saw a group strutting around like the best football team ever. We see the workings of a holdout, Darrelle Revis. The Revis holdout was the perfect addition to the plot of “As the Jets Turn”. But all of it is par for the course, as the Jets have become more interested in showing their drama to the world, than winning football games. I’ll bet Giants fans are real disappointed that they haven’t been on “Hard Knocks”, they can cry on their Lombardi trophies.

But to their credit, the Jets did enjoy success during those two years, as we all know. The trouble is, they let it get to their heads. From that, we hit the next two years, where it all started to come apart.

Dec. 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan smiles before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

2011 arrives, and the drama starts again. The owners lock out the players, but Rex Ryan talks about how it’s again, a team that is going to win the Super Bowl. That’s an interesting comment to make when you don’t know what your roster looks like yet, since the CBA hasn’t been signed. Drama. Talk about the team, make it public, but don’t concentrate on winning. “As the Jets Turn”. Guarantees that the team cannot make good on. Why? Because not enough concentration is put ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD. They are concentrating on drama. Making headlines, and showing the inner workings of the team. Talking about winning rather than winning.

The team starts off badly, and they start fighting within themselves. How do we know? The team talked about it publicly. See? Drama. If the team concentrated on winning, they wouldn’t have opened their mouths to talk about their problems. But the culture of a soap opera lends people to say these things. Why not? They are important to upper management, why shouldn’t they be important to us? So we hear about the locker room problems. What does coach Ryan do? Talk about how he knows it’s going to be OK, when what he should have been doing is actually FIXING the problems. So, it builds and builds, until it explodes into week 17 in Miami. Fighting amongst themselves on the field. More drama. Less winning, more drama.

2012, and we all know the problems that the Jets have. The roster needed serious upgrading heading into this season, and what happens? Tim Tebow is acquired. Whether you are a fan of his or not, the fact of the matter is, he comes with distractions. Has another backup quarterback had a major press conference to announce their signing? A private plane to bring him to town? Of course not. Distraction. The Jets didn’t make the playoffs in 2011, but instead of really making moves to bring the roster back up to par, they bring this guy in. Headlines, not winning. “As the Jets Turn”. Rex doesn’t guarantee a Super Bowl, but says it might be the best roster he has had. Why? Why not just get them to perform that way, instead of talking about it? Forget about making statements, make statements ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD.

“As the Jets Turn”. Will it ever stop?

We move through 2012, and the offense struggles, culminating in the benching last week of Mark Sanchez. Most teams, it’s not a headline when someone is replaced, but not the Jets. We see the emotional discussion in the locker room. The questions, the wondering. Who will be the QB? Instead of just making an announcement, we drag it out. He doesn’t know yet, I’ll tell you on Wednesday. We are making headlines, not concentrating on winning football games. We are the champions of the newspaper, but we want to be champions of FOOTBALL. Too much drama, not enough football.

Will it ever end? No matter what happens during the rest of 2012, the off-season, and the draft, this is the biggest question that needs to be answered. Whatever the Jets do to this roster now, and going forward, it won’t mean anything. If the drama continues, it won’t mean a thing. Until the Jets stop winning the headlines battle, and concentrating on winning the battles between the white lines, we might as well get used to what we are seeing.

It will never change.