Tag Archives: New York Jets

AFC Championship Reaction

First off, apologies to all the Jet fans torturing yourself reading this post game recap of the Jets loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

IF it makes you feel any better, Brian Schottenheimer is coming back as offensive coordinator according to Rex Ryan.

Oh, that didn’t make you happy?  You’re going to do WHAT with that knife to your arm?

Oye.  Yes, all the air of the Jets bandwagon tires have been sucked out and suddenly the party is very much dead but there are a few reasons to be optimistic and I’ll give you two:

Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan- they don’t appear to go anywhere.  I agree with Rex- you don’t get to two AFC Conference Championship games without being good.  In fact the last team to accomplish such a feat were the 2006 and 2007 New England Patriots.  The team that lost to the Manning brothers in the AFC Championship game in 06 and Super Bowl in 07.  Of course since then, they haven’t won a playoff game.  Ok so that news didn’t make you feel better either, but Mark Sanchez’ performance should make every single Jet fan proud that they have a 25 year old QB who ONLY has better days ahead of him.

Unfortunately yesterday’s performance wasn’t enough.  Lets get to it shall we?

– The Steelers set the tone for the game with their opening drive.  The Steelers went 66 yards in 15 plays and held the ball for 9:02 seconds.  Incredible.  Also remember that on that drive Markice Pouncey, their rookie Pro Bowl Center, had his leg rolled over and was taken out of the game and never returned.  On that drive, it went 10 running plays and 5 passing plays.  Also, add to the fact that Ben was injured on said drive and you have everything you need to know about the Jets first half ability to stop the Steelers.  No matter what ill fell upon the Steelers, they seemed to overcome it and get stronger.  The Jets couldn’t stop a single thing the Steelers were doing.

– The hero of that drive, which is also the drive of the game was Rashard Mendenhall who ran like a man that got called out by Rex Ryan in a press conference.  Every single time he ran the ball in the first half, he got met 2 yards in the back field and yet managed to always eke out 5 yards or more every single time.  Twisting, stopping in full stride, changing direction, just a lot of tackles being broken.  The Jets just could NOT stop Mendenhall who ran behind a very inconsistent offensive line and played the same way.  I’m not going to say that ALL 22 teams that drafted ahead him in the 2008 NFL draft will regret letting him pass by but THIS is the kind of game breaking ability the Steelers expected when they got him.

– Heath Miller’s blocking was an underrated aspect of the Pittsburgh offense that was missing from the previous game.  His presence was more important to this game than Troy Polamalu’s which may surprise those of us who sat and watched that long drive of the Jets that resulted in 0 points.  We will get to that drive in a minute.

– Last week after playing a terrible first half, the Steelers completely turned the momentum of the game by opening the second half by forcing the Ravens into a fumble, punt, INT and Fumble which led to 17 points- all off turnovers.  The Ravens had drives of 3, 3, 1, and 2 plays during that 3rd quarter for a grand total of -4 yards.  Yup MINUS four.

Last night, during a crippling 2nd quarter the Steelers scored 2 touchdowns in 47 seconds.  This after the Jets had held them to a field goal to go up 10-0 only.  I say only because if you saw how easy it was for the Steelers to go up and down the field you’d agree.  In a manner of 47 seconds the Jets lost the game.  The deficit jumped from 10 to 24 in the blink of an eye and you just knew that the Steelers were NOT going to lose this lead.

The game was a tale of two halves.  The first half the Steelers domination really was on old school Steeler football: defense and running the football.  They scored more points in the first half (24) than Jets had run plays (22).  One rushing yard by the Jets compared to 135 for the Steelers and the most telling stat of them all: Time of Possession in favor of the Steelers: 21:04 to 8:56 thanks to that opening 9 minute drive.  Thankfully the Jets shut out the Steelers in the second half and played alot better to make a game of it but the Steelers made the plays when they had to.

Missed opportunities were plenty for the Jets and there are three that I want to highlight that could’ve changed the complexion of the game.

1. Second quarter and the Steelers are once again driving down the field with relative ease.  The Steelers call a timeout after getting to the Jets 2 yard line and its 3rd and goal.  Roethlisberger is in shotgun formation and looks for Emmanuel Sanders who runs an inside slant.  Eric Smith makes a terrific bat of the ball on first glance but replays show that had he NOT touched the football, Darrell Revis would’ve made the interception and who knows with his athleticism if he could’ve ran the field to score a touchdown.  The replay clearly shows that the ball’s trajectory would’ve landed right into Revis’ lap because Revis was initially on Hines Ward who came on motion to the right side of Big Ben.  Revis sniffed out the inside slant and guessed correctly as usual and got off Ward and went to Sanders.  Instead of the interception, the Steelers get 3  and go up 10-0.  The Steelers momentum was slowed but only momentarily.  With the ebb and flow of games like this- the bounce of the ball NOT going the Jets way was more evidence that the football gods did NOT want the Jets to win this game.  Would that have stopped the strip sack and fumble and run in for the touchdown?  Who knows, but if Revis gets the pick, the Jets start off on the 20 and its only 7-0 if Revis doesn’t get a single yard on the run back.  That’s a huge swing of momentum for the Jets defense which up until that point had NOT been good.

2. 3rd and 2 with 10:41 left in the 3rd quarter.  The Jets have JUST scored a touchdown to make it 24-10 and they are slowly building momentum.  Bruce Arians, the offensive coordinator of the Steelers inexplicably decides to go empty backfield on 3rd and short since, you know their running game was so atrocious in the first half.  Roethlisberger tries to zip one in to Antonio Brown who doesn’t fight through the Jets rookie corner Kyle Wilson and the ball smacks Wilson right in the face.  The pass went right to Wilson because he stepped in front but never made a play on the ball and it hit him in the face.  If he makes the interception there’s a great chance he goes to the house and suddenly its 24-17 and just as quickly as the Steelers scored two touchdowns, the Jets have a chance at matching them and making this a game.  With the way the Jets were driving on the Steelers in the second half- who knows.  Can’t drop those passes son.  Ya just can’t.

3. 4th quarter 7:44 at their own 1 the Steelers take the ball after holding the Jets on fourth down.  Last time these two teams played the Jets got a safety in a similar scenario and then went on to win the game.  This time, Roethlisberger mishandled the snap and he pins the ball to his leg and goes down and takes the safety.  If the ball had just bounced, one more time the Jets players may have had time to recover it and it would’ve been the touchdown they needed.

– The drive of the game on the Jets side is probably the one that’s most difficult to revisit but we will.

Start of the drive: on the NYJ 19- :50 left

1st-10, NYJ19 0:50 M. Sanchez passed to B. Edwards down the middle for 18 yard gain- That was Braylon Edwards FIRST catch of the game.

1st-10, NYJ37 0:15 L. Tomlinson rushed to the left for 5 yard gain

4th Quarter
2nd-5, NYJ42 15:00 M. Sanchez passed to D. Keller to the left for 19 yard gain- I can’t say enough about what a great TE Dustin Keller IS- not becoming.  The guy is a match up nightmare and continues to be one.  He’s overlooked in so many of ways but the guy makes important catch after important catch and is crucial to this offense.  Very underrated portion of his game that has improved by leaps and bounds: his ability on the running game.
1st-10, PIT39 14:32 M. Sanchez incomplete pass to the right- Went for the homerun ball with Braylon Edwards having single coverage on him.  But Randall Gay gave him very little space.
2nd-10, PIT39 14:26 M. Sanchez passed to J. Cotchery to the right for 6 yard gain
3rd-4, PIT33 13:53 M. Sanchez passed to D. Keller down the middle for 6 yard gain- ANOTHER huge catch for a first down.
1st-10, PIT27 13:18 S. Greene rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain
2nd-9, PIT26 12:38 M. Sanchez rushed up the middle for 6 yard gain- The Giant fan in me was yelling DONT SLIDE HEAD FIRST!
3rd-3, PIT20 11:53 S. Greene rushed to the left for 2 yard gain- Toughest two yards I’ve seen in a while.  Clearly this was a helmet to helmet on James Farrior yet it wasn’t called despite the fact that it was right in the referee’s face.  If the NFL is to enforce this rule then clear cut examples of it should be called.  This is also the point that I knew that LDT was NOT the man for this game and Shonn Greene had to take over and his physical presence is what the Jets were without in Indy last year.  Greene ran tough and showed that he was the better back in this game.
4th-1, PIT18 11:19 S. Greene rushed to the right for 2 yard gain- First of all this is the right decision and I think 99 out of 100 football fans would agree so let’s end the argument right here about whether the Jets should’ve gone for it or kicked the field goal because saying field goal in hindsight is stupid.  Here is what irks me about this drive.  4th and 1 and WHO is in the backfield?  That’s right- Shonn Greene.  The more physical runner for a grind em out play that needed toughness.  He got the one yard they needed.  Remember this later on in the drive.
1st-10, PIT16 10:31 M. Sanchez rushed up the middle for no gain. M. Sanchez fumbled. M. Sanchez recovered fumble
2nd-18, PIT24 9:57 S. Greene rushed to the left for 16 yard gain- Toughest run to date.  Greene once AGAIN runs over Ryan Clark which was like watching the same scene over again whenever those two met on the field.  Clark got run over and Polamalu got hit too but he held on to the leg to slow him down in time for reinforcements to come and hold him from any more gain.  If he slipped past that tackle he would’ve had room for maybe 3 more yards and a first down.  Greene looked like Rashard Mendenhall in the first half- tough, physical- and it took multiple Steelers to bring him down and multiple tackles seemingly were broken with each run.
3rd-2, PIT8 9:20 M. Sanchez passed to J. Cotchery to the right for 6 yard gain

AND HERE Is where the Jets lost the game.  I have NO problem with the first two play calls by Brian Schottenheimer.  None.  This is four down territory.  IF you take all four downs you want to pass on ONE of these downs and the safest down to pass is second because now you’ve put the element of surprise into the defense’s mind: we are a running team but we WILL pass on you if necessary.  But if you throw it on second down from the two and you dont make it, you run on the next two.  You don’t pitch it or do anything fancy: you give it to your most physical back who’s been the steadying hand throughout the drive: who was that?  Shonn Greene.  You put all your fattest guys in there and as a top 5 running team with a very good offensive line you trust that your guys can get that one yard.  So let’s see what the Jets do:

1st-2, PIT2 8:39 S. Greene rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain- Absolutely correct play call.

Prior to the next play call, Sanchez was having problems getting the play into his head set which was something he complained about after the game.  By the time he lined up there was four seconds left on the play clock and without any time to spare, the Jets snapped and the play got off.

2nd-1, PIT1 7:56 M. Sanchez incomplete pass to the right- Don’t get me wrong, Keller could’ve caught this.  But the entire feel of the play was very shaky with Sanchez being unable to hear the play call and just the rushing up to the line and Sanchez not having anytime to do any pre snap reads.  It was just a messy play call and yet you feel as though if this were run in normal game speed without the rushing or hurrying, Sanchez would’ve hooked up with Keller who had been stellar till that drop.

Prior to this play- Phil Simms even said it “If I were the Jets, two running plays.”

3rd-1, PIT1 7:53 M. Sanchez incomplete pass to the right- The pass was nearly intercepted by Lamar Woodley who was playing coverage the whole way.  First of all, Shonn Greene was out of the game, but LDT should’ve still had an opportunity to try and punch it in but again, terrible play calling by Schottenheimer.
4th-1, PIT1 7:44 L. Tomlinson rushed up the middle for no gain- Did you expect any other result?  When I saw LDT in the backfield on this play I knew they wouldn’t get it.  You need your young horse in there.  Why on EARTH do you have a 30 something year old running back in there?  Experience?  Its one yard and you need someone who can push the pile into the end zone, not someone who can finesse his way in.

All in all it was four crushing downs, two of which were absolutely crushing.  Here’s what I’ve never understood about Schottenheimer’s play calling: you have the horses to play the game one way and yet you continue to want to play it a totally different way.  Why?  What’s so wrong about your running game in that situation?  All year you’ve been one of the best and yet you decide you’re not only going to throw it on two of the four downs that you’re going to have Shonn Greene you’re best option at the goal line on the bench for the critical fourth and 1.  Call it fourth and season.  THIS is where the Jets lost the game.  They matriculated down the field in Jet fashion for 8 minutes and 12 seconds with a punishing running game that had on 9 plays been fantastic.  Their ratio may have pleased stat mavens but in the end it should’ve been 10 running plays and 7 passing plays.

The entire season THIS was my biggest complaint: why are the Jets and specifically their offensive coaching staff running away from their identity?  They are a running team.  They RUN the football very well and yet on the most crucial two downs of their season they pass and run.  It should’ve read run and run and this is not based on hindsight.  If the Steelers had stuffed them on both then fine give them their kudos.  But I contend and so will Jet fans that if they had handed off to Shonn Greene with Tony Richardson leading the way for two straight downs, ONE of those would’ve resulted in Shonn Greene in the end zone.  Yet for some reason, once again the Jets decided to PASS UP their strength.  Good job Schotty.

Isn’t it ironic that the second generation of Schottenheimers are killing their teams with the pass instead of the run?  I bet the Jets would love to see Marty Ball on that sequence.  Marty Ball would’ve gotten us the touchdown.  But then again I suppose that NO Schottenheimer coached team will get to a Super Bowl- its their curse to endure.

-Consensus opinion after the NFC Championship game was that Jay Cutler quit on the Bears after leaving the game at the half with a knee injury.  That wasn’t the case with the Jets and their franchise QB Mark Sanchez.  Before the Patriots game the knock on Mark was that he was a California kid who didn’t play well in cold weather games but after two consecutive performances in cold weather games, we can put that conversation to rest.  On the fumble, Sanchez definitely injured his arm and surely every Jet fan must’ve felt a sense of surrender at this point.  But for Sanchez to come back and lead his team down for a field goal and get his team SOME kind of points before the half and before they got the ball back, Jet fans can say proudly that their QB has some guts and heart.  His stat line won’t make your eyes pop but consider that prior to his field goal drive to get the Jets on the board he was 3 for 9 for 24 yards with a sack and a fumble.  He went 17 for 24 for 209 yards the rest of the way, including two touchdowns.  He outperformed Ben statistically and was much more comfortable as the game wore on.

Think about what that opening drive on the second half and scoring a touchdown on a great rollout and throwing off balance to Santonio Holmes for the touchdown must have done for the Jet sideline.  After being thoroughly dominated during the first half for Sanchez to pull that off- it was one of those moments where Jet fans were the proudest.  Watching a young QB doing what he needed to do.  Credit Sanchez for coming back and keeping his team in the game.  There is no one in the Jet locker room that doubts him.  Like I said, he’s 25 and he’ll ONLY get better.

 

At the end of the day, the Steelers had to make ONE play the ENTIRE second half to end the game.  That’s all.  They had built up such a big lead and had such a good defense that all they had to do was make ONE play and there it was 3rd and 6 with 2:00.  Jets are out of timeouts.  Sure, they can run it and then give the Jets the ball back with a little under 1:20 left.  That’s plenty of time.  The Jets have to score a touchdown remember, but its still plenty of time and this season there’s been evidence that Mark Sanchez can lead game winning drives when called upon to do so and if I’m a Jet fan I’d like to think fear played a little bit into the Steelers decision to have Ben throw the football to get a first down.

The Jets had played stellar defensively in the second half.  They put up a goose egg in the second half but too much damage had been done in the first half and all it came down to was ONE play.

Having the two minute warning helped so that the Steelers could pick the perfect play out but even in the back of their minds, they knew this was typical Ben scrambling out of the pocket and making a play.  This is why he won’t ever win an MVP or be in the discussion of greatest QB’s in NFL history just like Terry Bradshaw, another proven Steeler QB won’t.  They dont wow you with stat lines, and in fact this playoff game was probably his worst since Super Bowl 40, but that ONE play made you forget about that.

Ben scrambled out of the pocket and found one of his young rookie receivers, Antonio Brown and just like that the game was over.  This was about the game being placed in Ben’s hands and Ben once again, whether you like him or not, proving he was a winner and making a play.  That’s all the Steelers had to do in the second half.  MAKE A SINGLE PLAY and they won.  Consider the risk involved: if its incomplete the Jets get the ball back with 1:51.  I’d like to think however that Roethlisberger would’ve taken the sack and let the play clock dwindle.  He’s a smart guy and more importantly a winner- he knows not to tempt fate by trying to make a play when its not there.

–  How crushing a loss is this?  Consider that the Jets have 8 players of importance who will become free agents and without any knowledge of the new CBA it will be difficult to say who will be brought back.  If Rex Ryan is so beloved by his players imagine the fall out if the team doesn’t invite certain players.  Is this the end for guys like Jason Taylor and LaDanian Tomlinson?  Taylor sounded unsure about his playing days while LDT said he would love to come back.  What about Shaun Ellis?  The longest tenured Jet had a huge week last week against New England and has been here for it all- it would be injustice if the Jets reload and win a Super Bowl without him on the roster.  What about Antonio Cromartie?  Do the Jets dump him and go after Nnamdi Asomugha who has already put the Jets on his rumored list of teams he’d love to join which would form the greatest corner tandem the league has perhaps EVER seen.  Think Rex is having hard ons about having those two guys?  What about Santonio Holmes?  He threw Schottenheimer under the bus after the game complaining about his lack of touches.  He caught two passes and one of them was for a touchdown.  What about Braylon Edwards who’s inconsistency is still an issue but not to the extent that you would automatically dump him?  This was their year if the rumor is true that there will be a cap.  Woody Johnson spent a lot on this team and the Jets were unable to bring it home.  How will Mike Tannenbaum recover and regroup?  No one knows until after the labor process clears up and things become clearer.

Till next year, its another long offseason for Rex who seemed emotional after the game, naturally.  A guy like that always leaves everything out in the open for the world to see.  Not everyone has the stomach for him but if you’re a Jet fan you love him.  He gives an emotionally scarred fan base more swagger than they’ve EVER had.  They are a good football team but consider how well this team played WITHOUT Kris Jenkins their beast of a nose tackle who will be eligible to come back next year but who knows if the Jets will.  Again, there are more questions to this team than answers, answers which will only come once the labor process is cleared up.  Either way, does anyone doubt Rex when he says that he won’t ever stop chasing that ring?  Does anyone doubt that at some point he will reach the mountain top?  Jet fans hope to see that day soon.

Until then its another year and another long offseason.

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The Jets win postgame reax!

A few observations from the Jets divisional playoff victory over the New England Patriots.

-Go ahead Jet fans, get excited.  You deserve it.  You do.  Rex Ryan deserves a ton of credit for a few reasons.  First, the game plan on Tom Brady was excellent and make no mistake, the game plan was against Tom Brady.  Take out the head and the rest of the body basically crumbles and that’s precisely what the Jet defense did.  Peter King reported that the Jets dressed 11 defensive backs.  Prior to the game the Jets injury report had Drew Coleman and Brad Smith on it.  Coleman was declared active by game time and I thought that not having Brad Smith would be a much bigger loss than having Drew Coleman in the game but turns out, for the game plan to work, they needed the extra corner out there.  We’ll get to the game plan later.

Second, much has been made of Rex Ryan and his press conferences, but give the man credit.  An underrated part of coaching is going beyond the X’s and O’s and being able to motivate his team and making them believe in what you’re preaching.  Rex has the undivided attention of his players and their undying loyalty and by making all of the pre-game bluster about him and his antics, it takes a lot of the pressure off his second year QB who may have too much expectations heaped on him now that he’s entering his second consecutive AFC Championship game.  On a defense that he’s constantly called the best in the game.  On an offense that he thinks is Super Bowl caliber.  All of the pressure is put mainly on his wide back.  Good thing he’s built the way he is, that’s a ton to be carrying around on the lonesome.

Interesting side theory that was brought up recently on the Bill Simmons podcast where Cousin Sal said perhaps the whole foot fetish video was staged so that the opposition would use it to tease the Jets which in turn would motivate the Jets more to catch their coach’s back which actually worked.  Wes Welker’s backhanded shots at Rex Ryan’s expense was not received well by the Jet locker room (Bart Scott replied by saying his days in a uniform were numbered) OR the Patriot locker room (Bill Belichiek held him out of the first drive of the game).  I don’t think it was that underhanded but if years later Rex writes a book and admits to it, just know that I acknowledged the actual person who made the suggestion.

– Brady’s discomfort was so evident all day.  Every single drive had no fluidity to it.  They weren’t marching up and down the field like they were during their 8 game stretch where they looked unbeatable.  Watching the game for a second time I came to one conclusion: a major reason the Patriots lost was because of Tom Brady.  He saved his worst throws for the most important times.  Check this out:

8:02 left in the 1st quarter-  Brady on a double fake tries to throw a screen pass to the law firm, BenJarvis Green-Ellis and shoots it about 4 feet over his head.  Phil Simms, like most broadcasters will do in his position so I won’t kill him for it, said that Calvin Pace’s arm being raised made Brady re-load and throw it higher, but I watched it and No it didn’t.  I’m not going to kill Phil Simms for 3 reasons: he’s a former Giant, he’s one of the best in the business at getting right to the point, and in the midst of action I’m sure that’s what it looked like.  But Brady just straight overthrew the football to a cutting David Harris who was going for the tackle until he realized the ball was coming to him.  He caught the pass and if he had any kind of speed- the Jets would’ve been up 7-0.  Also if you look at the pass, Ellis immediately gives up on the play and just watches the ball sail over his head not even trying to make an attempt at the catch which tells you how high the pass was- so Brady just threw a terrible pass.

2nd quarter- 8:58 left- 3rd and 2-  The Jets just scored and now lead the game 7-3.  Pats are on their own 34.  Brady only has a 3 man rush and can’t find a man open.  Looks for Gronkowski after he comes out of his blocking assignment and he throws it 3 yards behind him.  Terrible throw on a sure-fire first down which would’ve extended the play, instead its a 3 and out.

2nd quarter- 1:24 left- 3rd and 4- Jets show 7, bring three.  The Pats run their patented pick play but Dwight Lowery wisely goes over the top to pick up Rob Gronkowski as the pass sails right by him by about four yards.  There wasn’t pressure in Brady’s face, Brady just hurried the throw and made a terrible throw.  This led to the miffed fake punt play.  No one has yet to take credit for making the call here to run this play.  Its one of those if it works then we’re geniuses and if it doesn’t we’re idiots so I’m not going to completely crap on the Pats for making the play call with such little time, but the Pats aren’t usually this sloppy in execution.

4th quarter 5:30 left on the Jets 34-  Brady looking through his progression not once but twice (That’s how much time he had- of course Shaun Ellis being out of the game and the Jets going with max coverage may have had something to do with that) and patting the ball 5 times throws it into triple coverage for Woodhead and it went in complete.  Just a terrible decision.  He had Brandon Tate going on an out route and he could’ve not only caught the pass but stopped the clock which for some strange reason the Patriots had no interest in doing considering they were down 10 with about five minutes left to play in a game that they had been outplayed up until that point.

4th quarter 5:18 left on the Jets 34- They go for it and forego the opportunity for a 52 yard field goal into the wind which I understand.  Revis is not in on this play and the person he’s been covering all game Deion Branch has Cromartie on him, so naturally on such a crucial play Brady is going to go to his safety valve, the guy he knows can make a play and he would’ve converted had he made a good throw.  The pass goes to the wrong shoulder- a terrible read by Brady who normally converts that pass.  Brady was blitzed on the play, but it was the cumulative effect of the entire day- receivers not being open, the Jets getting pressure with just three guys and the overall lack of sync on offense-  The Jets never let him feel comfortable and he just could never get anything going.

– I always kill Brian Schottenheimer for terrible play calling but beginning with the 3rd quarter of the Wild Card round against the Colts, he has been very good.   Now, I’m not going to say that he’s been a genius because he went to a game plan that I think 90% of the fan base was yelling at him to go to anyway: GROUND AND POUND.  But credit Schotty for putting Mark Sanchez, his second year QB, into manageable situations.  Sanchez faced a 3rd and long (over 10 yards) only ONCE in the game.  That was in the first quarter after the Jets had taken the interception down.  Initially I criticized their third down play call of running the football on 3rd and 18 as typical unimaginative Schottenheimer, but it being early in the game, the Jets did NOT want to rattle the young QB’s confidence and allowed him to be comfortable fro the rest of the game and not force him into a situation where he felt the onus was on him to make a play.  Smart decision.

To go further consider the 3rd down plays that Mark Sanchez, Brady’s counterpart DID make:

2nd quarter- 3rd and 5 with :39 left- Sanchez shoots it right to Braylon Edwards and he does the rest, muscling Devin McCourty AND Brandon Merriweather into the end zone.  Two of the Patriot Pro-Bowlers by the way.

4th quarter- 3rd and 4 with 13:00 left- Sanchez lofts a beautiful pass as Holmes does his now patented toe tapping corner of the end zone touchdown catch.  That’s a huge TD pass after the Patriots score and make it a field goal game.

–  The Jets did a fantastic job of answering EVERY single swing of momentum the Patriots had.

1st Q- 1st and 10 on their own 22- Brady gets sacked by Shaun Ellis for the first of his 2 sacks on the day.  This immediately followed the Jets losing any momentum after getting the interception by missing the FG attempt by Nick Folk.  Ellis played like a man possessed.  Loss of 8.  Were it NOT for a facemask penalty that would’ve been a likely 3 and out but the Patriots were able to move down the field like they seem to always do when given new life.  Shaun Ellis comes in and sacks Brady for the second time on the drive to force them to kick a field goal which is huge because the Pats were on the doorstep of scoring and had an opportunity go right through Alge Crumpler’s finger tips.  Sometimes luck is necessary, but the majority of this rally stuffer was provided thanks to Shaun Ellis’ fantastic performance.

4th quarter- 15:00- After the Patriots score and convert the two point conversion, Sanchize throws to Jerricho Cotchery who sits in the hole of the zone defense the Pats were playing and he goes for 58 yards putting the Jets deep into Patriot territory.  Three plays later, Sanchez connects with Santonio Holmes for his third TD pass and yet another clutch catch by Holmes.

– Many people want to assign specific heroes to this Jet victory and will likely gawk over Santonio Holmes’ catch or Sanchez’s numbers (3 TD’s, 0 Picks) or Bart Scott’s interview with Sal Paolontonio.  But Eric Smith, the guy who took over for Jim Leonhard, had a huge game.  I agree with Peter King that he made some of the most crucial tackles in the game.

2nd Quarter- 1:14- Smith lines up on the left side of the formation and comes off the edge and Jim Nantz opined that Patrick Chung was perhaps distracted by Smith’s presence speeding around the edge and he took his eyes off the ball long enough for it to shoot off his stomach, land on the floor, and destroy any chance of it succeeding.  Of course Smith’s role doesn’t end there because as Chung is trying to get the first down, Smith spins past his defender and smacks Chung down short of the line of scrimmage for a loss and gives the Jets fantastic field position.  Position they would use to score and go up 11 heading into the half.  So credit Smith for the fumble AND the tackle.

2nd Quarter :33 left- Jets kick off to the Patriots and Brandon Tate, gets the ball and gets a seam, and he’s a full head of steam and he just needs to beat one man to take it to the house.  Eric Smith of course is that one man and he tackles him at the 45.  Consider the change of momentum that might have occurred had Tate beaten Smith.  The Patriots score a touchdown in the final 30 seconds of the first half.  They shift all of the steam back on to their side and they get the ball back to start the second half.  Suddenly the Patriots have negated a first half full of idiotic moves so yeah, HUGE save by Smith.

Drive of the game:

I loved the opening drive of the 2nd half by the Patriots being stuffed by the Jets especially after a first down play netted them 8 yards making it a 2nd and 3rd and short.  The Jets came up huge but my drive of the game goes to the final drive of the first half by the Jets.  They force the second turnover of the game thanks to a rare miscommunication from the Patriots and they get the ball at the New England 37.  They forced Brady’s first interception in 405 pass attempts earlier in the game and hadn’t turned that into points.  In fact, they gained 0 yards in 3 downs and Nick Folk missed a 30 yard field goal.  With the Patriots giving up the ball a second time on a mistake, the Jets HAD to score on this drive and they did just that.

1st-10, NE37 1:06 L. Tomlinson rushed up the middle for 16 yard gain-  Huge to start off the drive by moving the ball on the ground like that.  LDT shot out like a cannonball and gained 16 yards.

1st-10, NE21 0:50 L. Tomlinson rushed to the right for 6 yard gain- A great run to the right edge to gain 6 yards and make it a manageable down and distance.

2nd-4, NE15 0:45 M. Sanchez incomplete pass down the middle.  Bad decision to throw here when the running game was working so well and clearly momentum was going the Jets way.

3rd-4, NE15 0:33 M. Sanchez passed to B. Edwards to the right for 15 yard touchdown.  This was all Edwards after the catch as he muscled his way into the end zone but great read and throw by Sanchez.  McCourty was ALL OVER Edwards, but being 6’5 and that big can be a useful weapon on those inside slant routes that the Jets offense uses so much and New England, thus far into the game, had done such a great job in negating.

Jets needed points here to take advantage of the New England turn over and they did just that.

What I thought was the most crucial play of the game:  1:57 left in the game- Patriots onside kick the football down the middle.  Perfectly executed, the Jets had only Darrelle Revis who almost made a disastrous play by trying to scoop up the football.  Due to the tackle on him by the Patriots special teams, the ball gets kicked all the way out to Antonio Cromartie who had been a special teams demon all day on kick returns and he takes it 23 yards to the New England 20.  Now, of course all the Jets needed to do was to run the clock out at this point.  The Patriots had two time outs.  Shonn Greene runs it in for a TD.  Most people suggested that Greene should’ve downed it at the one, forcing the Patriots to use their timeouts and still be down 7.  The Jets would have the first down, the Pats would be down to one timeout.  The clock would’ve been stopped at 1:41.  Now if the Jets just kneel with the football and force New England into their final timeout, they could’ve wasted about max 3 seconds so it would’ve been stopped at 1:38.  You kneel down the rest of the way and the game is over 21-14.  Which of course brings up did the Jets run up the score by scoring that final touchdown when strategy wise it would’ve made more sense to down it at the 1?  I think when you consider how soundly the Patriots beat them, the Jets deserved to rub it in a little.  Of course, the Patriots made a go of it and as any proud champion would do, made one final push but it was too late.

The unsportsmanlike conduct provided us a perfect opportunity to bring up the constant argument that goes on between those in the rigid conservative sector of football who scoff at any kind of emotion being shown after scoring a touchdown (Jim Nantz) and those who don’t mind a bit of celebration (Phil Simms).  Nantz talked about how the penalty gave New England some sort of life (which he was absolutely correct about)

Nantz: “I’ve never understood the absurdity of all this self aggrandizing, now your’e going to cost your team 15 yards on the kick and you’re going to give Brady and his unit a little something.”

Simms: “I’ll tell you this, there’s a time to celebrate and Jim- that was it.  What a job by the Jets.  Sometimes you can’t control yourself.”

Two polar opposite viewpoints on the subject and I must agree with Simms.  Forget the fact that Nantz is absolutely correct in the point he was making.  Strategy wise, like I said before, its a poor decision by Shonn Greene to go in for the touchdown and something his coaches should’ve been telling him about.  Should he get the opportunity, his role was to bleed the clock to :00 left.  But given the circumstances and given the nature of the rivalry and the fact that they were blown out by 42 points and had their noses rubbed in by the Patriots who everyone viewed as the classier organization because they seemed to hide their evil nature better (see Spygate for more information).  The Jets came in as the loud mouths with their chests poked out for no reason, and they left with a huge smile and vindication most importantly.  For their belief in their game plan and the joy of leaping over a huge hurdle: the Patriots.  A team for so long that had blocked the path is now just another victim of Rex Ryan’s bunch.

Look at the numbers since Rex has come into this rivalry:  Jets and Patriots have won 23 games.  The Jets have won 4 playoff games to New England’s 0.  This must be an alternate universe in which Bill Belichiek, the master of his domain is being outsmarted by a loud mouth coach who only gets credit for his wit on a stage in front of a microphone.  What we learned this weekend is that he’s more than just feet and a mouth.  He designed two excellent defensive game plans to effectively shut down the two best quarterbacks this league has.  CBS showed us a ridiculous statistic: NO TEAM had ever defeated Manning and Brady in consecutive weeks since 2001 when Tom Brady graced us with his magnificent presence.  Of course since 2001 only two other teams had the opportunity to accomplish such a feat, and that would be the 2007 San Diego Chargers but if you’ll remember, Brady and Co. were on a historic run through the playoffs that year and the 2009 Baltimore Ravens.  Indy knocked out the Ravens that year after they destroyed the Patriots at Foxboro.

What does this all mean for Belichiek and Brady’s career if they haven’t won a Super Bowl since the Spygate Scandal broke?  Does it offer up some kind of evidence of wrong doing on their part?  That perhaps their success was a byproduct of all their underhanded dealings?  That there is no genius residing in that brain of Belichiek’s?  That Brady’s post season success is built upon an unfair advantage that he had?  Is it a coincedence that since the Spygate scandal, the Patriots are a very human 2-2 in the playoffs?

I don’t think you should read much into all of that.  Belichiek’s coaching job this year will get him a Coach of the Year Plaque and Brady HAD to play lights out for this team to be 14-2 like they were.  Tom Brady played perfect for almost an entire season throwing for only four interceptions  and in the one game that he cracked under the pressure, it just so happened to be the one game he’ll most likely regret losing.  Because he didn’t lose to some non-divisional team, he lost to the team he hates the most.  The team that won’t shut up and the team he now CAN’T SHUT UP.  God forbid this team wins the Super Bowl; will Tom Brady lose it?  What will he do?  Who knows?  This Jet story has some legs and let’s see how far it runs.  If it runs to Dallas, Brady may need some psychological counseling for all the mistakes he made that led to this ugly loss to the hated Jets because make no mistake, Tom Brady lost this game with his ineffectiveness.

I’m no Jet fan or claim to be, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t end this off with THIS CLIP and THIS ONE to close things out with THIS CLIP.

BRING IT HOME JETS!

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Do you know Rex Ryan?

Rex Ryan knows who he is.  Son of Buddy and brother of Rob.  Husband and father.

He’s the coach of the New York Jets.  He’s a quiet fellow that keeps to himself and doesn’t like that much attention.  In fact, this being his first head coaching opportunity, he had to be talked into taking the job.

The Jets have had a pretty ho-hum off season.  They realize that perhaps they don’t have much of an opportunity this season to make any noise so they took their time signing their best player, corner back Darrelle Revis, to a contract.

Rex however is guardedly optimistic of his team’s chances.  He thinks his defense kind of, might be, good.  He’s also a health nut, surprising folks when he went way out of character raising his voice  ending with a exhortation to his team to get a snack.  If you’ve seen the guy he barely eats.

That was on “Hard Knocks” the HBO award winning docu-series which captures the sights and sounds of an NFL training camp.  For some reason HBO picked the Jets and for some unknown reason the Jets accepted.  Rex, ever so shy, devoid of personality, came across as boring and uninteresting.

Its a wonder that the Jets, being the city’s team and all, have taken such a step back from the spotlight this season but perhaps they take after their coach.  His dad, Buddy, was also painfully shy, modestly successful leading average defenses like the 85 Bears or being a coach on that forgettable 69 Jets team.  Two teams that aren’t worth mentioning again.

*******  *******  ********  ******

Rex Ryan has entered the season as the most fundamentally misunderstood coach.  His bravado and confidence has infected his players and injected life into an organization that was void of it in the Mangini years and prior.

No matter what he says, hyping his players up, talking his players up to a media that patiently waits their downfall this season, will be taken with a raised eyebrow and articles about Rex’s arrogance.

Is Rex Ryan arrogant? It depends.  Is it a crime for a coach to love his players and talk so highly of them?  Worse, is that living in New York the microscope bears down on you more as a burden and every quote is remembered by a media paid to make kings look like fools and fools look like morons.  There is no hero in this city, only a possible idiot to kick.

Rex, doesn’t mind this one bit.  His most endearing and enduring characteristic perfectly captured in Hard Knocks is his honest.  Brutal and unhesitant.  Rex doesn’t have a filter, he speaks his mind.  Like his pre-snack classic speech.  His opening lines in the first episode which had national columnists counting curses as if it were some crime for a person to be themselves.  Or in the last episode, with the Revis negotiations going nowhere with just a week and a half before the season beginning, Rex leaving the room cursing up both the Jets and Revis’ reps capped off by GM Mike Tannenbaum looking around the room and asking “what does it say in the negotiating handbook for this?”

Some may think that his personality has been an act for TV.  Of course, if that’s the case, he’s been reading for this role since he became the head coach of the Jets.  But every time I’ve seen him in front of a camera, or with a mic in his hand his personality doesn’t just stand out, it smacks you in the face.

Its a trademarked ability that so few have.  He interacts with an ease incapable if he were anything but 100% truthful with himself.  But success can bring you new friends and more enemies.

Since the Jets made the playoffs thanks to gift wrapped W’s from the Bengals and the Colts (though there’s a HUGE asterisk next to that Cincy victory because the Jets beat them decisively in the playoffs), they have had people suddenly take notice and get caught up in Rex’s act.

Its time the media stopped playing this Rex is arrogant card and stopped playing stupid.  Rex never changed, he’s been the same guy that refused to kiss Belichiek’s rings.  There’s an innate confidence that can’t help but exude from a man finally given his shot at being someone, something.

No wonder his players talk about running through a brick wall for him.  No wonder Revis or anyone that knows him, would take offense to being called a “slap dick” player.  It doesn’t take an “expert” with a press pass to see him for what he is: a players coach.

The dreaded term that most can’t stand.  It attacks the old regime’s sensibilities to see a coach be so loud and boisterous as if he were one of them (them being the players).  There may be a divide between employer and employee but is it a wonder that Bart Scott picked Rex Ryan as the guy he’d bring to war with him?

Nobody likes to be misrepresented or misunderstood, other than the clowns who like being the mysterious person in the group. But Rex isn’t hard.  My only question is why so much criticism on Rex as if this were some gimmick or role he’s playing up to justify his team.  Or maybe to sell PSL’s.

Haven’t we seen enough of Rex to know who he is by now?  We know Rex.  If you’re foolish to be taken aback and surprised by Rex’s confidence then maybe you’re dumb enough to believe the first half of this article.

Now let’s eat a f%*#’n snack!

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NFL Season Preview 2010

For the record, I’m not a fan of prediction pieces whenever one comes up.  It doesn’t make any sense.  Pardon the reference but anything can happen any given sunday so how can one possibly hope to tell the future?  But there’s a clause in the sportswriting rulebook that says I have to so that’s why I’m doing one.
What’s worse is that sports analysis has become a science run by nerds, breaking down every play and keeping stats for every possible situation.  Why does that make much worse?  Because the information overload has made it difficult to pick one stat to pay attention to and thus we’re more confused than when we started.

So I’ve decided to go back to the old gut feeling.  My pick for each division, each playoff and each award including my super bowl picks and the winner.

NFC West:
1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Arizona Cardinals
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. St Louis Rams

The Niners are everyones pick to win the division and I don’t see why I should deviate from that thinking.  They returned the most amount of key pieces that gave them success last year and with the Cards losing Kurt Warner and the Seahawks giving Pete Carroll the reins of the franchise.  The wild card is the Rams.  Sam Bradford is clearly the answer at QB, but their number one receiving threat went down for the season and Laurent Robinson won’t scare anyone.  The Niners won’t win more than 9 games and that’s all it will take to win this division: the worst division in football.

AFC West
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Oakland Raiders
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Denver Broncos

What’s a bigger surprise? That I picked the Raiders to place second in the division or that the Broncos will finish last? I love that the most surprising part of the Raiders draft was that their picks actually made sense.  Every few years Al Davis’ sanity comes back and this past offseason, it did in a way that even Raider fans had to be happy about.  They have a sneaky good defense and they got rid of Jamarcus Russell and upgraded to Jason Campbell (yeah, I said upgrade).  With the Chargers going the first few weeks without Vincent Jackson it seems like and LT Marcus McNeil, there’s no telling whether Ryan Mathews will emerge like everyone figures he will though with both those guys in tow it wouldve been an almost certainty.  Don’t be surprised with 2 and 3 switching slots, the New England crew is 3/4 complete and can help speed up the team in its current rebuilding phase.

NFC South
1. New Orleans Saints
2. Atlanta Falcons
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Tampa Bay Panthers

This is again a highly unoriginal pick but the Saints have a lot of things going for them coming off a Super Bowl year.  They have one of the leagues most potent attacks on offense and with Drew Brees and Sean Payton they have the most stable pieces at the two most important positions on a football team.
The Falcons are the sexy pick in the division that routinely flip flops the last place team from the previous year with the first place team but I’m all but guaranteeing that it will not happen, which if anything counts as a surprise shocker!

AFC South
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Tennessee Titans *
3. Houston Texans
4. Jacksonville Jaguars

There are two things I’m willing to bet comfortably with this division: the Colts will win atleast 12 games and no team will be a walk over in what’s quickly becoming the toughest division in the AFC.  The top 3 teams are legit playoff threats with the players capable of getting them deep into the playoffs.  In fact I think the wild card is coming out of the South.  The Titans started off last year 0-6, made the switch to Vince Young and reeled off an 8-2 finish.  Most would tell you that you should be careful about picking a team based off a hot finish but the Titans have the core of a team that has consistently done well and with Vince Young and Kenny Britt (I’m expecting him to take a huge leap forward), they should be a really good team.  As for the Colts, when they don’t do it, let me know and I will pick against them.

On a sidenote, the Colts are one of the teams that would be a reason to NOT have an 18 game regular season.  They are annual tankers, resting starters after having the division wrapped up by week 15 and you figure with a few extra weeks, whatever preseason games Colts fans will lose on the schedule they will get back in the later weeks when NBC is forced to run Colts games starring Curtis Painter.

NFC North
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Minnesota Vikings *
3. Detroit Lions
4. Chicago Bears

The Packers are the “it” team and it wasn’t hard for them to make a statement early on by eeking past the Colts 59-24 where Aaron Rodgers threw for 3 TD’s in a half against the first team defense of the Colts.  The Vikings won’t be the same team and won’t win the division and I want to say they won’t  make the playoffs but that would be just to please the growing legion of Favre haters of whom I am one.  I see them being the other NFC Wild Card.  The Bears were the off season champs signing Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor and bringing in Mike Martz to run their offense.  Unfortunately Mike Martz hasn’t coached a really good team since he inherited the Rams from a retiring Dick Vermeil.  Cutler will only have an identical season as last year because I just don’t think Mike Martz will be any good.  The big surprise I can see is the Lions who are putting pieces together that will translate to more success.  They still are a draft away but getting a franchise defensive tackle in Ndamakong Suh and perhaps a franchise RB in Jahvid Best who already is penciled in as the starter in the first round means they are getting better at that drafting thing that Matt Millen always had problems with.  They will give the rest of the teams in this division fits.

AFC North
1. Bengals
2. Ravens *
3. Steelers
4. Browns

If you’re a fan of Peter King and Sports Illustrated, he recently picked the Steelers to beat the Packers in the Super Bowl.  As you can see, I don’t have the Steel curtain even making the playoffs.  Surprised? I think people are under estimating the challenge the first four games present in which they will be without Ben Roethlisberger whom everyone believes will automatically come back to being the Pro Bowl QB.  Their offense will have problems and without Santonio Holmes, they may need a year to adjust.  I loved what the Bengals did this year and their drafts just keep bringing in winning DNA which is important when you are trying to build on what they accomplished yesterday.  The Bengals have the best corner combo in the NFL with respect to the one in Green Bay and the one that will premier in New York with the Jets.  They also have TO and Ocho Cinco forming quite the pair and while many assume that the pairing will bring chaos, it ca, only happen if Carson under performs.  Along with Jermaine Gresham (who I predict will have a huge year), the offense will take a step up and ensure that the team will have more good headlines than bad.
I know a lot of people have the Ravens in the super bowl, but their secondary will be ripe for the picking and I’m still not ready to give all the props to Joe Flacco despite him having the ultimate QB name which has to count for a few wins all by itself.  As for the Browns, oh Mangenious.

NFC East
1. NY Giants
2. Dallas Cowboys *
3. Washington Redskins
4. Philadelphia Eagles

There is no shame in being last place in a division where 9-7 might not be good enough for 3rd place.  There were only two logical teams for me to take the division: the Giants and Cowboys.  Those were the two that had the least amount of major turnover.  The Redskins changed their QB and coach and the Eagles went away from the certainty of Donovan McNabb (though if you talk to Eagle fans, what they would be guaranteed is something of dispute), and I think the Giants and Cowboys are better than the two latter teams who are going through bigger changes than either will admit to.  I think the Giants are in for an 11-5 season or 12-4 based on nothing more than gut thinking.  Their defense will be markedly improved and as always a Wade Phillips team will come down to earth from its lofty expectations.  Though looking back, most teams will regret not taking Dez Bryant.  He will be this generation’s Randy Moss.  The Redskins could be a sneaky group because their defense was far better than what the record showed from last season thus leaving 8-8 Philly in last place.

AFC East
1. New York Jets
2. Miami Dolphins
3. New England Patriots
4. Buffalo Bills

Aside from what could truly be a brutal year for the Buffalo Bills, the AFC East could join its brethren in the NFC as one of the toughest divisions where any of the top 3 could be a playoff team.  The Jets are the obvious choice, getting all the hype and hoopla and now with Revis back in tow, they should be Super Bowl favorites.  Or should they? Preseason doesn’t mean anything but the offense left much to be desired considering the eliteness of their defense. Tom Brady is in his second year after knee surgery which in most instances when a player is actually back to 100%, but their defense will be a mess and with no running game again, there will be very little balance to the Patriots.  I love what the Dolphins did in the offseason and GM, Team President/cZar Bill Parcells clearly sees a team built for now and attacked in bolstering what is clearly the weak link in the offense: the passing attack and got a top 5 receiver just about in his prime.  They have a very good QB in Chad Henne and watch out for Ricky Williams who has been running like he means it.

AFC playoffs:
(WC)
Titans def. Bengals
Ravens def. Chargers

(Div)
Jets def Titans
Colts def Ravens

(Champ.)
Jets def Colts

NFC playoffs
(WC)
Giants def San Fran
Cowboys def Vikings

(Div)
Green Bay def Giants
Cowboys def Saints

(Champ)
Green Bay def Cowboys

Super Bowl
Jets def Green Bay

Jet fans, I don’t know if I completely destroyed your season or made it, but I am very high on them.  They have done enough to make me believe that their defense will make two scores enough to win almost every game and keep them competitive in every single one.

As for the individual awards:

NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

NFL Defensive Player of the Year: Darrelle Revis, New York Jets

NFL Rookie of the Year: Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions

There’s a good chance I could be wrong on everything but what would I be if I depended on facts and numbers to guide what my gut probably does a better job at?  Enjoy the NFL SEASON!

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“The Ten Year Rule” and how it affects the Jets.

I don’t like to broadcast my lack of access to a lot of the players I write about.  The lack of access, to most, means lack of credibility and to those who say that, I’d understand where you’re coming from.*  But in some matters you don’t need high level access to see when something is just fundamentally wrong.

*= after you walked away, I’d probably say something about you and your momma though.

This was originally intended to be a “hey Jets, don’t be stupid, pay Revis” kind of article.  The garden variety of which you probably don’t need to read another one of.  But I thought I’d use this space to attack an even bigger enemy threatening all of us sports fans: bad ownership.

Which of course brings me back to the lack of access.  I don’t need access to know bad ownership when I see it.  In fact, two teams I root for are owned by two of the biggest dolts when it comes to owners that its easy to see why their teams are where they are.

Bad owners can ruin sports for fans in so many ways.  They can tank seasons.  They can not care to pay anyone and allow good talent go to other teams.  They can sit back and collect gate profits while you suffer through another dreadful season.  Bad owners, worst of all, can make sports bad and that is the worst crime of all.

Watching sports is a hobby, I get that and those who tell me to pipe down at games probably are doing so to offer me a dose of perspective I need.  But I do know this.  There are plenty of people like me who live and die with every play.  Recently I was asked a question: why am I a Met fan?  I answered by saying that I chose my fate when I decided to go to a Met game in 1992 against the Cubs (Which they won) as opposed to waiting a day to go to the Stadium to watch the Indians (which the Yankees lost).  At that point I had no historical idea of who the Yankees were and what they meant to the sport sport.  I thought Babe Ruth was a candy bar.  But after going to the Met game and having the rules of fandom explained to me by others, I decided to stubbornly stick to my pick.  That other team has won 5 titles in the last 18 years and my team has seen the World Series once.  The world series they lost to that other team.

Needless to say through it all, I stuck with the Mets.  But why the dramatic response to such a simple question?  Because its that serious for me.  I love the Mets.  People who don’t like baseball wonder how I can sit through a 3 hour baseball game that ends 1-0.  I, in return, ask them how they can sit through whatever it is they enjoy doing?  Its a simple analogy.  We love it, so we sit through it.

My feeling is, the owners don’t have that same love.  Some do.  Don’t get me wrong.  The late George Steinbrenner had that zeal and passion for the Yankees, despite the fact that he wanted to own the Cleveland Indians first.*  Mark Cuban has that same love for his team.  You just know that some do, but the truth is, MOST don’t.

*= I’m sorry to anyone from Cleveland who has to be reminded again of how bad their city has it.

Owners for the most part are billionaires.  Part of an exclusive membership of society that 99% of the world will never achieve.  Its just fact.  So its tough for them to associate with us common folk who have this zealot like love for their home teams.  They look at owning a sports franchise as another goal, another victory, another win for them.  Its a trophy that they put on the shelf.  Many collect dust, some come out and clean it once in a while but most don’t.

Two of New York’s teams are run by idiots such as these.  Fred and Jeff Wilpon and James Dolan own the Mets and Knicks respectively.  Their businesses and their daddy’s money, have given them the opportunity to run two of the most wealthiest clubs in all of sports and yet they’ve done nothing to enhance its value.  Fred and Jeff continue to deny that after being swindled for a still undisclosed sum of money (but many believe it to be around $300-$500 million), that it won’t affect how they conduct their business despite roster moves that say the opposite.  Then there’s James Dolan who recently brought back a guy who disgraced the organization publically with a sex scandal all while destroying any chance of it being a competitive unit by taking on horrendous deals for washed up/overrated veterans.*

*= I’m not going to sit here and bash the guy completely because all his moves weren’t terrible, but the ones he made that were completely overshadow any good move he did make so it makes sense to go overboard.

So I sat back and thought how could we possibly do something about this?  I came up with an idea that I believe all four major sports should implement immediately.  Its called the “Ten Year Rule.”*  The “Ten Year Rule” is simple, it gives owners ten years to get the organization going in the right direction.  In ten years, it will come to a vote, and this is the best part, all season ticket holders will get a vote.  They will have a say as to whether the owners get to keep the organization or they have to immediately put it for sale to another owner who would be willing to buy the franchise at whatever value it is up to that point.  If the team stinks, then the value will go down and some rich guy can come in and swoop a franchise out of the doldrums and get a bargain.  Teams with new stadiums, ten years down the road will hit a brick wall like the Mets are eventually going to do.  They had the biggest drop off in attendance and this is only year two of their new stadium.  If they continue to see a drop off in attendance, the Wilpons, with their burgeoning debt will be forced to relinquish the franchise in a few years.

*= notice the business like, get-right-to-the-point nature of the name.  I didn’t want it to be flashy because I didn’t want anyone to confuse it and no other 10 year rule that I saw really came close to being as important.  Also, I couldn’t come up with anything clever so I figured, let’s keep it simple stupid.

A question some of you may have is, how do you know another owner will pop up and buy a team?  Because that’s what they do.  They love bragging about this kind of stuff.  Its a status symbol.  Owning a sports team is the dream of alot of these yucks.  They will jump at the opportunity to make pay in the franchise.  Now imagine a team like the Royals who continue to be in rebuilding mode or the Peter Angelos run Baltimore Orioles, could in ten years get new ownership?  Imagine how much the fans would be rejuvenated by that idea?  Also, think about it this way: imagine what it would do for season ticket holders.  Those who may want to have a say will buy season tickets and want to be one of those on the voting panel when time comes to make a change.  Its the greatest form of democracy in sports that I see.  This will give the owners that they send packing a little extra pocket change.

The other thing it does is, is it brings accountability to these owners.  Imagine them not being able to hang their hats on just owning a franchise.  Imagine them having to actually run it.  To be competitive.  To be smart.  Imagine them having to put some time in at the office instead of just showing up at the owners box.  It would be different and it would certainly make some owners wake up to the harsh reality that their team sucks and its because no one was held accountable.  Perhaps teams like the Mets would have owners who cared to spend because they were afraid that their team would be taken away from them.  Imagine the absolute humiliation a billionaire would face having a franchise taken from them?  This rule has to happen.

Now, I know it can’t happen and will NEVER get passed as long as owners are voting on this, but if a rule was made in Arizona to harass every single Hispanic resident there without any warning or any real evidence, I don’t see why someone would be crazy enough to pass this in the Supreme Court?*

*= I know I sounded like a twelve year old bringing in the Supreme Court, but I don’t know where else we could go with this?

Which of course, finally brings me to Woody Johnson.  Who apparently wants to join the list of jokers we have in New York sports ownership with his latest comments on the Darrelle Revis contract negotiations.  Woody thinks there’s a distinct possibility that Revis won’t play a down in this upcoming season.

For the record, I think this is just posturing by the Jets and not allowing Rex Ryan’s mouth to do any more damage for their side.  After all it was Rex who called Revis the best player in the game.  Not the best corner, the best player.  But the Jets can not afford to go into the season with Revis holding out.  In weeks one through five they face the Ravens, Pats, Dolphins, Bills and Vikings.  Two of those five (Pats and Vikings) were in the top 5 in offense last year and the Ravens and Pats just made trades to get big time WR’s who will be able to stretch the field.  So if in fact there is some truth to Woody’s comments, the Jets will be put to the test early and teams will gun for their secondary early and often which  will leave them severely shorthanded without a shut down corner like Revis.  If contract negotiations go into the season, which in my opinion they can’t let that happen, either Revis or the Jets will have the advantage based on how they play.

The Jets have legit Super Bowl chances this year and are in jeopardy of putting all that to waste by allowing Revis to stay on the sideline.  Revis has three years left on his contract and obviously doesn’t have much but his pride to stand on at this point and the Jets realize this.  It will come down to who blinks first.  The August 10th deadline came and went, which was the deadline for a player to report to camp to be able to accrue this upcoming season as one for free agency purposes and with the new upcoming labor talks a lot of the rules will change.  So Revis has sent a clear message to the Jets that he is willing to let it play out until the Jets come to their senses and sign him.

The Jets have a new stadium opening up.  They have the super bowl hype, the Hard Knock cameras following them and all the build up that they themselves created and are now facing a potentially embarrassing situation with their star player, and the world watching.  The Jets can NOT let this drag on and must do whatever they can to give Revis what he craves because at the end of the day, a Super Bowl, bragging rights and more importantly Woody’s reputation as owner will be on the line here.  If Woody can’t pay the man cash (which he’ll eventually have to), the Jets will be forced to deal with the fact that at age 27, Revis will certainly pack up and take his services elsewhere and imagine the possibility of Bill Belichiek waiting by Revis’ door at 12:01 waiting to sign him and send another blow to the Jets?

I know it sounds dramatic but I’m a fan.  That’s what we do.  Woody, do the right thing.  Pay him.  Do what it takes.  Just pay him, or else, you may end up on the cutting block yourself if the “Ten Year rule” ever takes effect.

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