The Jets do not deserve a fanbase

Avert your eyes and save your brains

In a life with a limited timeline, why waste a single moment caring about the New York Jets? The Jets do not care about you.

Take this week’s big news. The Jets and their 32nd-ranked offense released Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell.

Bell came to New York as a rarity in New York for the last five seasons; a bonafide offensive talent in his prime. He relished the opportunity to start a new chapter with the Jets, building a relationship with then franchise cornerstone Jamal Adams and embracing the Jets fanbase with open arms. In response, their head coach Adam Gase routinely misused the star back and started a petty feud in training camp over his touches. Gase failed to improve Bell’s utilization in 2020, allocating touches to a 37 year old Frank Gore at the expense of Bell and the Jets’ rookie back.

Ultimately, Bell demanded a way out of what appeared to be an untenable relationship.

Every fan should demand the same escape.

The Jets tell you how they feel about you every single day they employ Adam Gase. They show you the urgency of their solutions by maintaining the status quo of the worst franchise in sports, and pray on your optimism by punting any improvements into some hypothetically competent future.

Every day, the team demonstrates an abject lack of interest in improvement, and fails to earn the attention of their fanbase. The Jets do not care about their fans, and show that every week.

The Jets barely care about their players

After starring in his first few games, Jets rookie Mekhi Becton injured his shoulder. Reports before the Jets-Broncos game hinted at a potential Gase dismissal if the Jets lost.

Next, Gase then played a hurt Becton in that game, and as expected, Becton soon reaggravated his injury. Former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz summarized the situation well.

Again, Gase risked the long term health of his foundational rookie to increase his chances for a meaningless win at home, and doubled down on this callousness mid-game.

A Denver defender slammed his team’s most important player, Sam Darnold, into the turf. 

Darnold got up gimpy and in clear pain. Much like Becton, Darnold needed competent leadership from the franchise to protect him from himself and further injury; mitigate future risk for your most important player by playing Joe Flacco, the veteran backup you signed for this exact purpose.

The Jets lack that leadership.

Instead, their franchise quarterback and cornerstone left tackle ended up more injured while the Jets lost to a winless team and their third string rookie quarterback by two scores. Both Becton and Darnold missed the next game, without a clear understanding of when they will return.

Gase’s mismanagement extends beyond player injuries.

The Jets do not care about winning

Every major publication ranks the Jets dead last in their recent power rankings. ESPNThe RingerThe Athletic, and all found 31 other franchises more daunting, more successful, more worthwhile. Meanwhile, a morbid Jets fanbase nods masochistly and prays for a bittersweet release of 0-16. 

In this season alone, two vastly more successful NFL coaches lost their jobs before Adam Gase. Atlanta fired Dan Quinn after an 0-5 start, while Houston canned head coach and GM Bill O’Brien after a similar 0-4 start. 

Quinn brought the Falcons to the Super Bowl but, much like that loss to the Patriots, could not escape a series of improbable collapses. O’Brien won the AFC South with the 10-6 Texans last season, but his cataclysmic mistakes at roster building and a poor start in 2020 ended his tenure.

Even with these drastically more impressive resumes, Quinn and O’Brien could not outlast the still-employed Adam Gase. Gase lost every game this season by two or more scores. His average margin of defeat wildly outpaces O’Brien and Quinn in 2020.

Somehow, the Jets look at a coach who loses by more than two touchdowns on average and see no need to change course.

How do they get away with this? The Jets do not care.

Ignore the rebuilding sales pitch

You’ll feel the itch to keep informed as they tease a bounty of future assets, the lure of a potential new coach next season and the promise that this is finally the rebuild that will stick.

Ignore that. 

Today marks 3,553 days since the last Jets playoff appearance. In that time, the team tried to sell you on four head coaches and three general managers each running their own rebuild into the ground. 

First, Rex Ryan and Mike Tannebaum built a contender one half away from Super Bowl glory, and collapsed in the spasms of Tebowmania.

Next, Rex Ryan and John Idzik preached fiscal conservatism as one of the biggest franchises in all of sports. They went 12-20 in two seasons, and nearly every Idzik draft pick no longer plays in the NFL. 

Then, Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan went 10-5 thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick but lost in week 17 to miss the playoffs. Again, Bowles missed the playoffs but merely coming close earned him three additional seasons of 14-32 football.

Somehow, Mike Maccagnan stayed, hired Adam Gase, ran the draft and free agency, and then got fired before the season started. His marquee free agent signings have either opted out, gotten released unceremoniously after regressing, or cut midseason. 

The draft is not our friend

Every time, they collapse just enough to acquire and ruin a top draft pick. Here’s how the drafts have gone since their last playoff appearance for high value players, per Pro Football Reference.

Jamal Adams may be the only true star drafted in the first round by the Jets, and he forced a trade after three seasons. Coples, Milliner, Pryor, and Lee failed to produce in their short stints with the team. Wilkerson and Richardson performed well as Jets, but also found themselves traded or jettisoned.

Draft misses happen for the best franchises, and it might be unfair to expect many years of production from your first rounders. However, I include them here only as a warning for future optimism. The Jets may have picks, but that draft collateral often failed to produce the necessary ROI. Assets in theory must become assets in practice.

I know the counter argument: Joe Douglas hit on Becton and can do it again! I implore you, let them prove it first. Save your Sundays, watch NFL RedZone—I promise the Jets barely show up there—and wait for the evidence of tangible progress.

The Jets do not care about you

Attention, adoration, and loyalty must be earned. Fandom develops from different origins. You could root for a team inherited by your parents, or chose your squad thanks to an affection for a certain player from your childhood, but the impact remains the same.

I loved the Jets for most of my life because of my grandfather and my father, because of players like Curtis Martin and Wayne Chrebet.

Now, I just don’t see the point. Apathy kills fandom better than anything. Years past, I could name the majority of the Jets roster, sketch out the starters on both sides of the ball, and point to a collection of young improving talent as evidence that next year will be better. 

Today, I have nothing. 

The Jets destroyed their fanbase by hiring a universally panned coach in Adam Gase and then doubled on their mistake by gifting him another season. The team fired their general manager after he made all of their draft picks in 2019. Every game this season ended with a multiple-score loss in an uncompetitive and brutal slog. No player shows improvement or growth; a fandom cannot be limited to Mekhi Becton pancake videos.

Our most prized commodity, even in lockdown quarantine, is time. 

The Jets earned none of yours. Stop giving it away.