18 December 2012

Wasteland: The Burial of the Jets

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The first section of T.S. Eliot’s poem Wasteland is subtitled The Burial of the Dead. As a Jets’ fan, the entire season has been a slow, agonizing demise. After last night’s debacle, the Jets’ death was officially official. Now it’s time to bury the carcasses.

Making fun of the Jets is too easy that it’s almost becoming taboo, like making fun of the special ed kids who ride the short bus to school. Insecure small-minded bullies love to pick out an easy target… and there’s not an easier target in the NFL (and possibly all of pro sports) than the New York Fucking LOL-Jets.

I’ve been a Jets fan from as early as I can remember. My brother and I had alternative teams; he liked the Dallas Cowboys and I liked the Pittsburgh Steelers because my mother bought us those cheesy wool hats with the puffy ball on top. Mine was black and gold (Steelers). My brother’s was grey and blue (Cowboys). In the late 70s, those were the top two teams in the NFL and it’s what Macy’s was selling on 34th Street the day my mom went shopping for Christmas presents. Neither of us would be caught dead wearing actual Jets gear. We grew up a few miles from Yankees Stadium and most of the kids in the neighborhood were Giants fans. Had we jumped on the neighborhood band wagon and backed the Giants, we wouldn’t be miserable whenever the NFL season rolls around. The Giants have won four Super Bowls since I picked a side. The Jets? None.

I’ve been drowning in a hearty stew of misery. The head coaches were past their prime, just before their prime, or never lived up to their potential. Walt Michaels. Joe “Joe Must Go!” Walton. Bruce Coslett. Pete Carroll. Rich Kottite. The Tuna. Al Groh. Herm “You Play to Win the Game!” Edwards. That fucker Mangini.

The Jets got Bill Parcells but it was a time when the Tuna was truly burned out. The Jets almost hired Bill Belicheat and they royally fucked that up. Jets fans don’t like to think that they could have had Belicheat and Tom Brady… but instead we were stuck with Mangenius and Chad Pennington.

How good of a coach is Rex Ryan? The greatest trick Rex played was fooling the world into thinking Mark Sanchez was a potential Super Bowl QB.

In the first two seasons as head honcho, Rex took the Jets to the AFC title game, but the team was anchored by a top-notch running game and a menacing defense that even gave Tom Brady migraines. Both the running game and defense were powerful enough to hide Sanchez’s liabilities. In the last two seasons, as the running game diminished and the defense got old/banged up, Sanchez should have stepped up his game to help cover his teammates liabilities, like they did for him in his first two years in the league. Yet, that never happened.

So what did the Jets do to bolster their sketchy QB situation? They threw money at Sanchez and traded for Tim Tebow. Hilarity ensues.

Rex and his brother Rob are among the top defensive minds in the NFL… they will always have a job. Defense is in Rex’s blood. Rex is the son of legendary coach Buddy Ryan. He’s been around the block enough to know that you don’t need a hall of fame QB to win the Super Bowl. When Rex was a kid, his old man was the D-coordinator on the Bears team that had Sweetness Walter Payton, a monstrous D, and a crazy-wacko QB named Jim McMahon. Rex took Ditka’s formula to heart…  build a team around a power running game and an iron curtain D, then you can be a playoff contender with an average QB.

At this point the Jets don’t have a running game. Their defense improved over the season even without Revis. But their QB situation has been disastrous. Sanchez has regressed to rookie status. He botched blitz coverage. He threw into double coverage. He looked like a deer caught in the headlights of a Mack truck.

The NFL is a business, but the product the Jets have on the field had been nothing short of atrocious. Tickets for the Jets game this weekend are selling for pennies on the dollar. Superfan Fireman Ed walked away. This is a guy who was a real fireman for two decades and got paid peanuts to run into burning buildings to save people, and he couldn’t stomach the horror of showing up watch a shitshow after shitshow after shitshow.

Then again, what would you do if your Rex Ryan? You have an overpriced QB and man-child in Mark Sanchez that you have to play otherwise you’re wasting a drug-kingpin’s fortune (don’t get me started on Woody Johnson’s day job… he’s just a legalized dope pusher). Or you have a rube rookie in McElroy, whom you cannot play by basis of being from the old school of hard knocks (rookie QBs hold clipboards and should be seen and not heard). Or you play Tebow, a guy with a horrible arm who claims his best imaginary friend is the son of God?

Rex Ryan must have the patience of a Zen monk because he got through this season without having a heart attack or breaking both fists by punching the walls in his office.

Bill Barnwell wrote an article for Grantland… It’s Time for a Jets Intervention.  He thinks the Jets need to just clean house, eat Sanchez’s contract, and keep Rex but get rid of everyone else. If that doesn’t work and the Jets stick with Sanchez, then Barnwell suggested the Jets hire Norv Turner as an O-coordinator. Turner is a horrible head coach, but might be one of those guys who is best suited to be a coordinator (e.g. Wade Phillips in Houston). However, we have a policy here at Ocelot Sports… always fade Norv Turner.

The best plan of action? Reboot everything. Control. ALT. Delete.

I like Rex Ryan so keep him and sack everyone in the front office, trim all the payroll fat, trade away as much as you can for future draft picks. I’d accept a 2-14 season next year if the Jets were truly rebuilding. Yet, the Jets won’t do that. They’ll probably fire Rex and bring in Andy Reid and make a play to get Ryan Leaf out of retirement to play QB.

How bad was it for the Jets last night?

The Titans’ punter shanked a kick and gave the Jets the ball of the 25 with 47 seconds left on the clock. Down 14-10, the Jets needed a TD to secure a win and keep the playoff hopes alive. All Sanchez had to do was hand the ball off to one of their hyper-efficient backs (a triumvirate of Greene, Powell & McKnight which sounds like a litigation firm in Midtown). Instead, the Jets attempted a pass play and from a shotgun position, Sanchez fumbled the snap… off his toe! Yes, we had a butt-fumble against the Pats and now a toe-fumble.


The Jets (minus Sanchez’s scrambles) were averaging 5.38 yards per carry all game. McKnight looked unstoppable with 29 yards on only four touches.
J. McKnight - 7.3 
S. Greene - 5.2        
T. Tebow - 5.0 
B. Powell - 4.7   
One anonymous Jets player told the press, “Sanchez lost his confidence.”

Sanchez’s QBR against Tennessee was a paltry rating of 6.8. He’s been under 7 at least four other times this season and posted a QBR under 10 in five instances.

Rex’s alchemy worked wonders for a few years and had fooled Sanchez into thinking he was a professional QB. Rex had the entire sporting world convinced the Jets were on the cusp of going back to the Promised Land for the first time since Joe Willie Namath pulled off an upset against the Colts in Super Bowl III. Then again, if you talk to enough sports conspiracy theorists, they’ll tell you about how that game was fixed for the Jets. Yeah, even deep down I have doubts on whether or not the Jets were a legit Super Bowl champion. Of course, none of that matters because it happened before I was even born.

I’m glad I didn’t bet the Jets. How bad was the game on paper? Vegas sportsbooks took in its lowest handle for the year on Monday Night Football, which is usually the most heavily bet game of the week.

I picked the Jets in my pick’em pool and during the game I refused to check ESPN to see who everyone else picked, because I was convinced that everyone faded the Jets and took the Titans. When the game ended, I was surprised to see so many people took the Jets in my pool. These are intelligent people…. Wall Street banksters, lawyers, programmers, academics, journalists, professors, a CIA analyst, pro poker players… and they all took the Jets like me because they thought that the Titans were going to lay down while the Jets were fighting for a playoff berth.

If you were keeping an eye on potential rigged games… think about this… Titans kickers played like shit (missed FG and a shanked punt in crunch time) and the zebras whistled the Titans for 14 penalties and 111 yards, while the Jets were the AWAY team and only got 4 penalties. Yeah, even the damn officials were trying to gift the Jets a victory and all they had to do was tie their laces correct and could have stolen a cheap win in Tennessee. Alas, Mark Sanchez royally fucked up a potential fix.

The Jets’ season is dunzo. McElroy will probably get the start on Sunday, but it doesn’t matter. I thought I would be bonging out on my brother’s couch in NYC while watching the Jets continue to fight for a wild card berth, but instead I’ll return home for the holidays with a cloud of despair looming overhead.

It’s time for me to sever my ties as a member of Gang Green. I need a new team to root for… one that will not break my heart time and time again.

Oh, we had a good night in the NBA that was the only thing that kept me off suicide watch. But I’ll save that hoops discussion for tomorrow. I cannot believe I used up my allotted time to rant about the LOL-Jets.

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