For better or worse, my sporting fandom is inextricably linked to New England. Growing up in New York, going to school in Massachusetts, and now working for a bunch of Massholes, the NY-NE rivalry rubs up against everything I do. When the owners of the Red Sox bought my favorite soccer team, I cried tears of joy and sorrow. I locked myself in the bathroom because I didn’t know what else to do.
That’s the worst Jets loss in 24 years. Yet, this is supposed to be the best Jets team in 24 years. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t add up. Or maybe it does.
The 9-2 Jets weren’t the Jets. The Jets don’t play as favorites—let alone play well. This is the team that passed up Dan Marino for Ken O’Brien. This is the team that employed Wayne Chrebet, the undrafted, gloveless mini-mite. Their franchise quarterback for the better part of the last decade had a weaker arm than Gumby.
The Jets look for reasons to be underdogs.
The always-brilliant Chris Jones riffed on this over at his blog. Although he’s Canadian-born, Jones actually watches football without two 50-yard lines. And he’s drawn to the Jets because they’re so bad at being good:
The Jets, though, have always been my football team, because they’ve pretty much always been a disappointment. There was a comfort in knowing that I could pledge my allegiance to a succession of loveable losers; Curtis Martin remains my all-time favorite Jet, because he was good, even capable of greatness, but ultimately doomed because of his fragile knees and green-and-white jersey.
At 9-2, it didn’t feel right.
Wait, we actually have a good quarterback? Did someone just call our offense “explosive?”
Winning the nail-biters against the Lions, Texans, and Browns didn’t make sense. The Jets don’t win close games. Who were these guys?
Thankfully, the Patriots put the world back on its axis last night:
Monday night’s “performance” was just what I needed to find room again for Rex Ryan’s Snackables in my heart. Blown coverage, blatant pass interference, wildly missed field goals, a twelve-yard punt … In their most anticipated game of the season, against their arch-rival New England Patriots, the Jets showed the rest of the country how, exactly, they will answer the loudest of bells: They’ll throw up all over themselves.
Oh, how I’ve missed them.
So, Pats fans, you might be in first place, you might have home field in the playoffs, and you might have humiliated us, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
That’s what I’m telling myself.