Jonathan Vilma’s Statement a Microcosm of the Perception of the Jets


December 16, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Jonathan Vilma (51) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Buccaneers 41-0. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets were again in the news, this time by no fault of their own. In New Orleans, an article came out where several “anonymous” sources came out against Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, ripping him and calling for his firing. They spoke to things such as Steve having “no personality”, and things of that nature. Well, Jonathan Vilma was asked about the article, and he took great offense. But, he added to it the following comment, “We’re not the Jets.”

Was it necessary? Of course not. Out of line? Absolutely. I mean, it seems like a bad idea to throw the team that drafted you under the bus. The subject of the article had nothing to do with the Jets, why bring them up? No reason to do that. He could have addressed his problem with the article, dealt with it, and moved on. He didn’t have to bring up the Jets, and rightfully so, he received a great deal of grief from Jets fans. They went after him on Twitter, and some even had the distinction of being blocked by Vilma.

Well, as unnecessary as it was, it also tells us something. The fact that Vilma felt the need to say that, gives us a disturbing look into how the Jets are perceived. It’s a perception that needs to be fixed, and quickly. That perception?


The Jets are not highly regarded around the sport, and this is just a microcosm of that position. Oh, it didn’t start yesterday, it has been this way for a while. Since all of the boasting began about how great the team is, from the head coach right on down, the Jets have been looked upon poorly. But, the first two years of the Rex Ryan era, the Jets backed up their boasting with wins. 2 AFC title appearances can take away from the fact that you don’t run your organization very well. People tend to ignore an “animal house”, when the result on the field is good. So the Jets moved along into 2011.

Dec 24, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress (17) is tackled by New York Giants cornerback Corey Webster (23) during the game at Met Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

The Jets began to feel that they could do no wrong. In the 2011 offseason, Rex Ryan boasted that he had his best team so far. Too bad, the Jets were in the middle of a lockout at the time. He didn’t know what his roster was going to look like, yet he made the statement. The league looked at the Jets, and laughed, folks. Then, they felt they could coach anybody. So, they bring in Plaxico Burress, coming back into the league off of his legal troubles. Yes, he had some TDs, but he couldn’t get separation if Francesa was defending him, and was not worth the trouble. He was a bad influence in the locker room, which is ultimately why the Jets didn’t bring him back.

The league notices these things.

Then this year. Whether you like Tim Tebow or not, the league was hysterical when the Jets brought him in here. Stevie Wonder knew that this move was going to be a problem. Bringing in a popular backup to “push” a mentally fragile quarterback, and then give him some money to make him feel better. Seriously? And then again, it’s the “best team he has coached”. You really can’t make this stuff up.

As the team fell apart, you know the story from here. Sources rip this one, sources rip another one….”anonymous” this, and “anonymous” that. The Jets organization leaks more than the strainer I use to make spaghetti. You don’t think the other franchises are aware of this? They sure are. And they likely joke about it in staff meetings. There are reports from around the league where executives wonder when the last time was that Woody Johnson made a good decision?

That’s the perception of our beloved New York Jets, ladies and gentlemen.

The point is this, there is no good reason for Jonathan Vilma to have said what he said. It was out of line. However, it is a small taste of how the league views the Jets. The Jets need to fix that opinion, and do it quickly.