It’s okay to switch teams after so much incompetence

Nov 13, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets fan reacts during a NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets fan reacts during a NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the cardinal rules of sports fandom is that fans owe their sports teams complete unwavering loyalty. However, the current New York Jets present a prime example of when it’s okay for fans to switch teams. 

What I am about to say goes against one of the most sacred unwritten rules in sports. It is so controversial, so offensive, that I expect many readers to tune me out after the next paragraph. Just the same, it needs to be said, especially with the current state of the New York Jets.

Fans, it is okay for you to switch what teams you root for. It really is.

Before going any further, I should note the following. I have loved and passionately supported the Jets for over a decade. From the very first football games I watched, they were my team. I have watched more losing seasons than I care to remember, and I have never for a second doubted my commitment to them.

And while I would never say that I enjoy watching losing teams, their poor records and playoff droughts are not why I’m considering leaving the Jets. It actually has nothing to do with it at all.

I’m considering leaving the Jets because I’ve finally come to the conclusion that the franchise does not care about me. From their ownership to the management to the players themselves, the Jets organization does not care about its fan base in the slightest.

Last year was by far the most brutal, painful, and miserable season of Jets football I have ever endured. It wasn’t because the Jets were losing, it was because the players openly did not try.

Longtime respected NFL exec just texted to say the Jets might be giving the worst effort he's ever seen.

— Ian O'Connor (@Ian_OConnor) December 6, 2016

In between the public fighting between players and the pregame Snapchats, the Jets players found the time to play some of the poorest, laziest, most uninspired football I have ever had to endure.

The Cleveland Browns may have been the worst team in football last year but at least their players cared. As is noted in an ESPN article, Browns long-time star Joe Thomas broke out into tears following their lone victory last season. You can say a lot of negative things about the Browns, but you can never question the team’s heart.

But perhaps bygones should be bygones. The 2016 Jets are not the 2017 Jets, and maybe fans should forgive and forget? Jets fans are certainly used to that.

Unfortunately, nothing has changed at One Jets Drive. The franchise has kept the same incompetent leadership. They purged their roster of almost every veteran, including Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and David Harris. While cutting salary is a natural part of rebuilding, the Jets’ last minute releases of Harris and Decker were incredibly disrespectful to those players and also deprived the team of well-needed veteran leadership.

Meanwhile, the remaining Jets players still have not learned. Sheldon Richardson continues to publicly criticize other players, and Darron Lee and Lorenzo Mauldin have also been caught up in recent scandals. The fact that every single headline concerning the Jets this offseason has been negative is a bad look for an already floundering franchise.

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Loyalty is a wonderful thing, but it cannot fix every problem.

I once dated someone who did not care about me or the relationship in the slightest. Fortunately, I had the self-respect and wisdom to see what was happening and to end it.

Okay, she broke up with me, but that isn’t the point.

The point is that loyalty is a two-way street, and people should not wholly commit themselves to any person or thing that does not care about them. That includes football teams.

All that said, the Jets will always be my first love. No matter how many times they cheated on me, I suspect I will find my way back to them sooner rather than later.

We’re just on a break right now.