Trying to understand what has happened to the Jets, I went to a fake therapy session to look back at what has happened during my Jets fanhood.
Me: Hi, my name is Thomas Rende and I'm a New York Jets football fan.
Counselor: Why are you here today, Tom?
Me: Where to start? Well, I guess I can put some blame on my father for putting me in this position. You see, in my family you have to stay true to your team, regardless of the pain, suffering, or success. Doing otherwise will cut you off from Sunday night dinners, which are just divine. You should really try my mom's meatballs. She does this thing where...
Counselor: Can we stay on topic?
Me: Yea, my bad. Well, the first traumatic experience that I can remember is when the Jets blew that lead in the 1999 AFC championship game. It was merely a 10-point lead but turnovers would end up costing us the game as Vinny Testaverde threw 2 INT's and Curtis Martin was held to just 14 yards. After the Broncos finished thrashing the Jets, I cried and vowed to leave the Jets forever, as they had left me waiting for the spectacular. I think that is when I first understood the pain of a loss and what it means to leave your heart out on the line. Bringing passion and energy to every single game and getting good results gives you a return on the emotional investment you've made. Not getting an adequate result is what we all fear and that is the first time I was unable to fully cash in on something I put time and energy on. As a child you can't do much in a productive sense, so when you feel that your rooting interest can affect a game you feel power in a life that feels controlled and thought out for you. The loss signified I held no control. And I lost it.
(Of course I returned the next season and I was put under the same spell as the year before.)
Counselor: It’s good to bring out the painful memories, but let’s try to contain it to a select few.
Me: I’ll try. The Jets game against the Steelers still hurts. How in the hell do you miss two field goals in the playoffs? That is a game that will haunt me until the day I...
Counselor: What was the kicker’s name again? Was it Doug Brien?
Me: Yes. Yes it was. The year was 2005 and all I remember was a lot of shameful crying…and banging from outside of my Uncle’s bathroom door for me to get the hell out. Anyway, after that game the Jets would go on a one-year break from the playoffs before returning with a 2007 matchup against the Patriots. Coach Eric Mangini had restored faith back into the franchise, so I was happy that the Jets had gotten that far, but whenever you lose to your rival it hurts.
Counselor: Are the Patriots a major reason for some of the pain you feel?
Me: Let me do some math for you, doc. If I told you that you were the person that opened your own Pandora box full of hell, would you be pissed?
Counselor: I’d say yes.
Me: Well, that’s how I felt when the Jets knocked Drew Bledsoe out of a game and brought in the Tom Brady era. He may never have started if it weren’t for Mo Lewis. The Patriots have killed us ever since that game. We’ve won only one AFC East divisional title in that time and have beaten Tom Brady in Foxboro only twice. The beat downs that we’ve suffered at their expense are the worst. They make you feel like the little brother that slowly starts to get up from a fight but gets kicked in the ribs, forcing him to go back down.
Counselor: What the hell kind of relationship do you have with your brother? Never mind. Let’s stay on topic. Do you want to talk about some of the more recent problems that the team is facing?
Me: I can’t comment on the Brett Favre era?
Counselor: I think it’s best to leave those memories to yourself.
Me: The funny thing is Favre had a lot of trouble keeping stuff to himself, especially pictures of his…
Me: Maybe, we can talk about the golden years of the Rex Ryan tenure?
Counselor: Didn’t they lose in the AFC Championship twice in a row?
Me: I kind of saw that as progress…
Counselor: Isn’t the point to WIN the Super Bowl?
Me: Before I throw you into the wall, I suggest you stop saying that. We’ll move on to the Jets current situation. I start every preseason envisioning the Jets players playing at their highest. They don’t suffer drop-offs, rather they improve or play at the same high-level that I’ve come to expect. Let’s just say things didn’t go according to “Tom’s perfect Jets fantasy”. Darrelle Revis tore his ACL, Santonio Holmes threw a ball to the opposing team while crumpling to the ground with a season-ending injury, the offensive line has lacked consistency, the Jets’ running backs are playing poorly due to sucking or an inability to read the new blocking scheme, the defense has failed to get consistent pressure on the QB, and we are making a lot of special team mistakes. Tony Sparano has not delivered on his promise of executing the offense. I was promised less three and outs, but I’m getting the same amount! The depth at wide receiver is appalling and I haven’t even complained about the whole QB situation yet…
Counselor: How about we save that for the next session?Back to the New York Jets Newsfeed