Despite a devastating loss to the New England Patriots at home, New York Jets fans should be extremely proud of the tenacity and resilience that their team has shown this season.
Alright, my fellow New York Jets fans, you win.
It is no secret that the following writer has been rather critical of the Jets lately. Before the season began, I may have suggested that fans should give up on this pathetic franchise. I own those word and all the negativity and hostility behind them.
However, when the season actually began, the Jets quickly surprised me. A team that was supposed to be the worst in the league surged to a 3-2 record. While I admired the fight in the Jets’ players, I doubted that the Jets could perform well against playoff-caliber teams.
The Jets proved me wrong yet again. Although they made plenty of mistakes (3 turnovers and an inability to establish a running game among others), they played the Patriots close down to the final minute in a 24-17 loss.
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Before continuing, I have to briefly address the elephant in the room. Or perhaps I should say the zebra in the room.
The fumble and touchback call against Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins cost the Jets a touchdown and a chance at upsetting the Patriots. The call was egregious and an insult to the integrity of the NFL.
Like the rest of Jets Nation, I was outraged by the call. “Outraged” may not be a strong enough word. Suffice to say, I don’t recommend scheduling a first date after a controversial Jets-Patriots game if you’re a Jets fan. I’m speaking “theoretically” of course.
On a completely unrelated note, excuse me for a second. I have an apology text to send.
All that said, my colleagues here at The Jet Press are more than capable of breaking down that infamous call. For a change of pace, I’d like to focus on something positive.
I have written and deleted quite a few tweets since that call. As any of them might get my account suspended. What a disgrace. #Jets
— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) October 15, 2017
The Jets may have blown a 14-0 lead, they may have turned the ball over three times, they may have lost a heartbreaker at home to a division rival, but they also gained the respect of their fans.
Throughout all of last season, the Jets’ lack of effort was far more disgraceful than their poor win-loss record. The Jets players visibly quit on the field. When things got tough, they publicly bashed their teammates as opposed to holding themselves accountable.
Let’s contrast the Jets’ disastrous 2016 season with their most recent game against New England.
The Jets were trailing 24-14 into the fourth quarter. They strung together an impressive touchdown drive that was negated by an atrocious call.
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Even after being cheated out of a touchdown, the Jets refused to quit. The defense responded, forcing a three-and-out on the Patriots. The Jets offense then put together a 6 play, 55-yard drive that resulted in a field goal, making the score 24-17 Patriots.
The Jets defense again forced a three-and-out. The team got the ball back with one final chance to tie the game. Although the offense ultimately fell short on the final drive, it was abundantly clear that the Jets refused to be defined by their underdog status or trying circumstances.
After the game, Seferian-Jenkins held himself accountable for his alleged fumble, saying that he needs to work on his ball security. His admirable display of discipline and personal accountability contrasts heavily with the finger-pointing and excuse-offering Jets from last year.
Regardless of their final record, if the Jets continue to play with this same grit, fight, and integrity, fans should wear their green and white proudly. I know I will be.