In Week 1 of the NFL season, the NY Jets' present and future meet its recent past. It's like the Jets version of 'Back To The Future'. One quick trip back to January of 2019 in Doc's DeLorean, when the Jets interviewed Matt Rhule in Waco, Texas, could alter the space-time continuum forever.
In an alternate timeline, Matt Rhule is coaching Gang Green with Sam Darnold as his quarterback, throwing passes to Robby Anderson.
It almost happened, and if Christopher Johnson had hired longtime Jets fan Matt Rhule, who used to hang up pictures of the infamous Sack Exchange on his wall, there's no doubt that Rhule would've retained his former Temple receiver Robby Anderson and put his chips into the middle of the table with Sam Darnold.
Rhule would've attempted to rule the roost in New York. And that's what he wanted. The Jets brass didn't want to give him the power or authority over the franchise; if they had, Joe Douglas might never have become the Jets general manager in the summer of 2019.
So, for the people, who are looking for a positive spin on Adam Gase's disastrous two-year tenure with New York, if it wasn't for him, Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh wouldn't be here.
In the present reality, Rhule has set up 'Jets South' in Carolina instead. And the Jets are responsible for it. They didn't hire Rhule, they lowballed Robby Anderson and lost him to the Panthers, and then this offseason, the Jets traded away their previous franchise quarterback Sam Darnold to Carolina.
On Sunday in Carolina, Rhule and his former Jets will be opposing the franchise that didn't want them. This is the quintessential revenge game scenario for Rhule, Darnold, and Anderson.
They will be staring across the field at the new-look Jets led by Robert Saleh and the franchise QB who took Sam Darnold's place in Zach Wilson.
For all the analytics and talent matchup breakdowns, sometimes motivation, emotions, and intangibles can ultimately decide who wins the day.
The 2021 Jets mantra is 'All Gas No Brake,' but their road ahead can get bumpy for Gang Green in a hurry on Sunday. Let's take a look at their three keys to a Jets victory in the season opener.