By Conor Green
This season the New York Football Giants have a chance at winning the NFC East. In the same breath, the Giants also have a good chance to win the NFC as a whole. Big Blue enters 2017 with a top-ten defense from the year before, alongside an offense capable of putting up big numbers across the entirety of the season. The G-Men have all the makings of a legit Super Bowl contender.
On the other hand, the Jets have a chance to be historically bad. Now there have been some awful teams in football since its inception. But after the cake is baked following the conclusion of the 2017-2018 season, the Jets could be in the discussion.
And I couldn’t be more excited.
You see mediocrity is a pox on humanity. And as Ricky Bobby’s Dad once said in the movie “Talladega Nights”, “Ricky if you ain’t first, you’re last!”. And that’s the reality of the situation here for the Jets. If you’re not going to contend for the Super Bowl, which the Jets haven’t for almost 50 years, then why bother middling around .500?
Picture: Columbia Pictures
The sad truth is, there has been just one season since 1968 in which the Jets had good preseason odds to reach the Super Bowl. That was in 1999. A year that saw Vinny Testaverde rupture his achilles in the season’s first game, destroying fans’ souls at a record rate.
But, that’s the only time outside of their 1968 Super Bowl campaign in which the Jets had championship expectations entering the year. The only other season that would possibly be in the discussion is 2010. But even then, many had the Patriots as AFC East favorites.
So, there’s been just one year since 1968 in which the Jets entered the year with a real shot to win the Bowl. That’s about as pathetic a franchise you’ll find in sports.
However, the Jets, at least since the hiring of Bill Parcells in 1997, have avoided being terrible. Including 1997, 20 full NFL seasons have come and gone. The Jets went at least .500 in 14 of those years. That means Gang Green has won at least half of its games (or more) 70% of the time since 1997. Still, they are widely regarded as one of the biggest dumpster-fires in sports. The numbers though say otherwise, at least over the last 20 years.
Photo: NY Post
Let’s take some truly bad teams for comparison. The Bills since 1997 have gone .500 just 35% of the time. The Lions in that span have gone .500 just 30% of the time. And the Browns since 1999 (they were out of the league from ‘96-’98) have gone .500 just a staggering 11% of the time, happening just twice in 18 years.
So, despite the Jets’ awful reputation, they’ve been far from the league’s worst team over the past two decades. In fact, by all metrics, the Jets have been above average.
But I argue that what they’ve done is worse….far worse. Over the last 20 years the New York Football Jets haven’t been great, but they also haven’t been terrible. Instead they’ve been incredibly average. An ordinary collection of mediocre mediocrity…..It’s as if they are caught in limbo, like Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception. Or Leonardo DiCaprio as he awaited his first Oscar.
And again, as Ricky Bobby’s Dad said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last!”
You see the Jets have been a borderline above-average team, but what has that given fans? It’s given them heartache, while also probably heightening their blood-pressure as they scarf down $50-dollar hot dogs at the stadium.
All this so-called “success” and Jets’ fans have gotten nothing in return. No star quarterbacks, no genuine excitement, nothing but PSLs and increased ticket prices.
In sports, you’d rather be great or awful. Being average doesn’t bake the cake. If you ain’t first, you’re last.
That’s why the upcoming Jets season is the most excited I’ve been since 1998. The Jets have finally thrown in the towel and waved the white flag. They’re going to, at long-last, tank. This in a truly glorious way. They might win just a measly two or three games… Oh what a wonderful world!
But you know what, that’s not enough….. Not quite. “How about one game Conor?” No that’s not enough either.
For me this season won’t be complete until the Jets walk off the field following Week 17, heads held high to appreciate their monumental achievement. Something done once in the history of the sport.
We’ll all marvel at the perfection of their awfulness. This as we check the final standings and see…..
That the Jets have gone 0-16.
If you ain’t first, you’re last. So by God, let’s be last.