No way. Not now. You, ESPN.com, absolutely do not get to relinquish your reserved seat on the New York Jets bandwagon.
For months, you’ve pushed your hype on readers, forcing them to digest headline after headline about Mark Sanchez, Darelle Revis, the Jets in general, and the collective dominance that the franchise would unleash upon the football world in 2010.
So, no. You may not retract or modify a single solitary bit of your Jets-love. You are firmly ensconced as groupie numero uno. Worse, really, seeing as how you’ve elected to try and make news as often as report it.
I realize, friendly reader, you might be wondering where I’m going with this. Let me explain.
I direct you to this recent post by Johnette Howard. Now I’ll apologize to Ms. Howard up front: I have idea what her opinions are or have been with regard to the Jets, and it’s entirely possible that this column is not a reversal of any previously held position she might have had.
But the piece was published under the ESPN banner, and that organization, along with most of the other major sports media outlets, has been cramming the Jets down our throats with intolerable regularity.
After hearing about Rex Ryan and his big bad defense all through the off-season, after predictions concerning their upcoming AFC success, after reading quote after classless quote from the windbag himself, I have absolutely no desire for ESPN to tell me that maybe, just maybe, the Jets should tone down their rhetoric until they perform as well as they yap.
The right to pen such commentary is the sole province of those who haven’t been drinking the green Kool-Aid. You know, we non-Jets fans who actually know that what you do means more than constant boasting? We’ve been warning of the dangers of Ryan’s showboating even as we suffered through Hard Knocks updates, and weekly columns, and story upon story celebrating the new Jets attitude.
So if anyone gets to be the ones to say “told you so”, it’s us. Not you.
Am I dismissing the team after one week? Certainly not. For all I know, the Jets might roar back and finish 15-1. But until they do, I don’t want to hear one single peep out of Ryan, his players, or the media that coddled his antics. The guy should be ashamed of the havoc he’s wrought, and those who would defend his actions as motivational are clearly not seeing the big picture.
Case in point: the pre-game shenanigans between Baltimore and New York that ended with Bart Scott firing the football at Ravens players like an angry child on a playground. Ryan started that with his trash-talk. He stirred the pot and let the chips fall where they may, and for those of you who may not have noticed, on Monday night the chips fell right into Baltimore’s lap.
The jibber-jabber succeeded in firing up the Ravens’ D, and to paraphrase Ray Lewis, Ryan, the former Baltimore defensive coordinator, should have known better than to create a monster only to come back and taunt it in primetime.
To quote Mark Viera of the New York Times:
“All off-season, the Jets were bold and brash, broadcasting to whoever would listen that they were destined to become champions. But they did not resemble the championship football team that the players and the coaches had made themselves out to be.”
Well said, Mark. But remember that you media folks were lapping that nonsense up and spitting right back out.
The game is but one example; a microcosm of the larger issue. And while Ms. Howard’s post is indisputably accurate, her employer is in no position to back that point of view now.
Now that the Jets have lost, now that they’ve shown some weaknesses, ESPN wants to tell us what we already knew, adopting it as their own stance? I suppose we should just forget all of that previous pandering, but frankly I find that difficult.
Reading this post was only slightly less galling than having ESPN explain to me why I shouldn’t worship LeBron.