NY Jets: A season that just wasn’t meant to be
The NY Jets had control of their destiny to punch their ticket into the NFL Playoffs with a win in their season finale but this was the season that just wasn’t meant to be.
This was the year. This was the time. This was our chance. On Sunday, the Jets could’ve given all of their demons the ultimate coup de grace by biting the hand that once fed them. The combination of things that had to fall into place for the Jets to make a run in the playoffs already happened.
Tom Brady suddenly looks mortal. The Giants are the NYC football franchise that are labeled as “dysfunctional.” Other teams in the AFC playoff picture are banged up or have had their share of slip-ups down the stretch. Through this last third of the season, the Jets have looked like the team that has been in this position before. All of these good feelings and “meant-to-be” thoughts would vanish with a loss when everything they want is in front of them. That is exactly what happened on Sunday.
Teams riding momentum are often the favorites going into the playoffs. Needless to say, the Jets would’ve been categorized as one of those teams primed to make a deep run into January and possibly February. The teams in the NFC have looked mortal as well. The Jets may not get a chance like this again for a long, long time considering the individual seasons produced by some of their players.
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Calvin Pryor burst onto the scene as the Jets “hitman,” possibly a next-generation Ed Reed. Ryan Fitzpatrick had arguably the best regular season of any quarterback in team history.
Brandon Marshall had the best season a wide receiver has had in team history. Chris Ivory ran for 1,000 yards. The Jets played this season with four linemen who are all Pro Bowl quality. The Jets have also been lucky (before Muhammad Wilkerson broke his leg) with respect to the injury bug compared to their AFC counterparts.
The Jets also had one of the easiest schedules in recent memory, with the Patriots being the only legitimate playoff contender they played all season. The team could’ve completed a unique trifecta by defeating the Patriots, Giants and Bills all in one season. Of those three teams, the easiest game you’d expect out of them would be against the playoff-averse Bills.
These are just many of the things that make this season incredibly disappointing. It is not disappointing from a win-loss perspective, or a character-building perspective. It’s because the stars aligned for the Jets this year and the only ones responsible for crushing their own dreams were looking at them in the mirror.
This team had fight, played hard and played to win until the final whistle. Even with hopes dwindling faster than Mark Sanchez could down a hot dog in Oakland, the Jets gave us this spirit-breaking finish that could have been the perfect ending to a storybook regular season:
#Jets WR Kenbrell Thompkins had the touchdown and a playoff spot in his grasps, #Bills Mario Butler denied him pic.twitter.com/PXRmq3TmqW
— The Sports Daily (@SportsDailyBlog) January 3, 2016
As that pass went up, I jumped out of my seat and subsequently crumbled to the ground. After the euphoria that we all experienced that made us believe that fate was on the Jets’ side last weekend, fans were left with the same old line to say: Same Old Jets.
These Jets were not the same old Jets though, and that’s what makes the premature ending to our season even more disappointing. They made you believe, right until the final 30 seconds of the season.
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The Bills could be better next year, Tom and the Patriots will be back healthy, the Dolphins will likely have a new regime in place and the rest of the NFL will not be surprised by the Jets next year. Their schedule will be harder and the opponents will have a little better of an idea on what to expect. The Jets were in a once-in-a-generation situation here and I’m just not sure they’ll have as good of a chance as they had this year for a long time.