As I watched the sports reports on TV last night and listened to the news this morning I was annoyed to see how the Jets loss yesterday was being portrayed. Everyone was saying that the Jets loss yesterday knocked them out of the playoff. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since New England and Baltimore both won their games the Jets would not have made the playoffs even if they won their game.
As a real Jets fan I realize the exact point in the season when the Jets fortunes changed. In November the team won back to back games against New England and then unbeaten Tennessee. The wins were not what did them in. It was the media claiming that they were the team to beat. Real Jets fans know that historically the Jets always lose when they are viewed as the team to beat. beat. Unlike most teams when you talk about the Jets in this manner the wheels come off and the season comes undone.
As proof I offer the Jets schedule and results after those wins. They went 1-4 in the final 5 games of the season. Three of those games were lost to teams (Denver, San Francisco and Seattle) with sub .500 records. Of those three teams only Denver ended the season with a .500 record (8-8). It was at the point yesterday where they couldn’t even make the playoffs with a win.
As part of the skewed (uninformed?) reporting the media played up the role that former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington played in the Jets demise. The fact is that he played no role in the Jets being knocked out of the playoffs yesterday. But he did play a large role in helping his new team, the Miami Dolphins, improve as the year went on and make the playoffs when they beat the Jets yesterday.
As I’ve been writing this post the Jets held a new conference in which they announced the firing of Eric Mangini. While the search for a new head coach takes shape the questions will linger about Mangini’s firing. Should he have been fired? I don’t know for sure but the team definitely underperformed in the later part of the season and a coach needs to be accountable for that. The big changes to the team for this season were a beefed up offensive and defensive line as well as the change in quarterback from Pennington to Brett Favre. General manager Mike Tannenbaum was responsible for that, not Mangini.
I’m going to make an obvious bid for Bill Cowher to be the next head coach of the Jets. He’s the best coach I can think of who is currently available. He can rejuvenate the defense that is full of talent but seemed to fade late in the year.
A more important hire may be offensive coordinator. Brian Schottenheimer’s game plans didn’t change very much with the quarterback change. I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say the Jets offense would have performed the same with Pennington as it did with Favre.
At the news conference Tannenbaum was asked about Favre. Tannenbaum said he wants Favre back to complete the last year on his contract. I’ve had mixed feelings about Favre all season. As much as I liked Pennington the team definitely needed a change at QB. And when they got Favre they accepted everything that comes with Favre. Even the negative things such as interceptions. I wasn’t surprised by the number of interceptions he threw this year. What surprised me was how many of them were bad interceptions. Balls thrown into double and triple coverage. Balls thrown to spots where there were no receivers. Balls thrown badly.
Late in the season rumors began to surface of of an injury to Favre’s throwing arm. The rumors were fueled by Favre himself. He’s going to be having an MRI on it this week.
It’ll be another fascinating offseason for the Jets as they look to settle the coaching staff and figure out what to do at QB.