It’s not about the foot jokes, or the trash talk. It’s about heart: The New York Jets 2010-2011 season

Wow. So our season goes up in smoke, thanks to a first half where I think we hired a JV high school team to play for us. Thoughts?

  • Sanchez will be a top ten quarterback next year. Mark my words. In every way he will get better. More TDs, less INTs, more 4th quarter comebacks.
  • Going to two straight AFC Championship Games is a significant accomplishment. We beat out 28 other teams two years in a row. I am immensely proud of the players and staff for that.
  • That being said… damn. No one remembers the Philadelphia Eagles of the mid-2000s. You know why? They never took the final step. This is two straight years where we did absolutely nothing in half of a playoff game. That cannot happen.
  • We straight didn’t show up the first half. I don’t know if it’s coaching, or if there was a hangover from New England. But that was ugly.  The killer was, of course, the fumble and return to make it 24-0. Three touchdowns in a half is manageable. Four is incredible. Just too much to overcome.
  • I don’t know if Tomlinson’s contract runs out or what. But get him out of here. Shonn Greene can do everything LDT can do and better. I’m sorry,  but this is two straight years of LDT completely choking in crucial games. I didn’t believe all the jokes about him being a choker in the playoffs. But it’s true. I don’t know why; maybe age, maybe cold weather. But he just doesn’t get it done.
  • Next year, I want the keys of this offense in Sanchez’s hands. Greene and McKnight in the backfield. Keller, Cotch, Braylon and Holmes (re-sign them both). Keep the offensive line intact. Slauson was great at LG – he definitely earned the position for next year.
  • Re-sign David Harris. This defense is really good. All we need is playmakers. Look for a blitzing linebacker/defensive end in the draft. Try to grab a playmaking safety. I have mixed feelings on Cromartie. He does well but he commits idiotic penalties. Revis is shutdown on one side. Pool, Smith, Leonhard (could’ve used him tonight…) are all solid. Drew Coleman can make plays. Kyle Wilson… eh. I don’t know. He could’ve made a huge play with an interception right after our first touchdown.
  • Weatherford is fine. Folk? He was alright. His mistakes were overblown. If there is a better alternative go for it. If not, hold on to him.
  • Re-sign Brad Smith. He adds a whole new dynamic to this team.

From day one of Hard Knocks, until tonight, a lot of people talked down to the Jets. Because we’re the Jets, we have no chance. For a solid middle section of the season, we were arguably the best team in football. We beat Peyton Manning, in Indianapolis, in the playoffs. We beat Tom Brady, in New England, in the playoffs. We came within a few plays of beating Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, in the playoffs. This team was amazing. Possibly infuriating at times, but amazing. From Sanchez’s development in to a franchise quarterback, to Shonn Greene’s emergence as a number one back. Revis was ridiculously consistent and solid. Keller blossomed as well. Our offensive line was a rock. Shaun Ellis just keeps doing his damn thing. Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha playing spectacular, if unnoticed, football. Brodney Pool quietly playing well in the defensive backfield. David Harris is the best linebacker no one knows about.

Rex? I love him. I’m sorry but he is the best head coach we’ve had in years, bar none. Better than Parcells. Better than Herman Edwards. Better than Kotite. He has injected us with a confidence, and passion that we have never had. No one will ever laugh at the Jets again. Ever. Make jokes about his weight, or about the foot fetish. But he is a top five head coach in the league. Belichick and Tomlin are better. You could argue Caldwell. But who else? This team loves him. They worship him. They would run to Hell and back for him. That means something. In football more than anything you need a team that believes in its coach. And this team believes in Rex Ryan. When he leads us to a Super Bowl championship next year, or the year after, or the year after, he will stand on the podium and bask in it.

I am not someone who hates on Schottenheimer. I think overall he does a good job. But he needs to go. I hope he finds a head coaching job somewhere. But his coaching style doesn’t fit our team. He is too tricky, and refuses to play to our strengths and/or play to the opposing team’s weakness. That fits for certain teams but not us.

I love this team. God damn it I do. Winning this game would’ve been the three toughest games to win in playoff history. They played with heart. Say what you will about trash talking and bashing, but you ALWAYS knew that this team cared. They gave everything they had. No one on this team, from Mark Sanchez to a newly-signed DT, would EVER leave a championship game unless he was stretchered off the field. Jerricho Cotchery got taken out from behind (I think on purpose) by a Steelers special teams-er. He played the next series. Nick Mangold got his knee rolled on by Sanchez and some defenders. He was back in the next series. This team CARED. Ask Jay Cutler fans how that feels.

I hate to do this, but: where was the late hit on James Harrison on the Sanchez scramble midway through the fourth quarter. Hit him after Sanchez not only slid, but came to a full stop. You are told to pull up as soon as you see the QB start to slide. He hit him a full second late. Where was the flag? Again, I think the hit on Cotchery was intentional. Replay looked like the player ignored Brad Smith (who had the ball) and dove in to the back of Cotchery’s legs.

Other than that, the refs were alright. A couple questionable calls but nothing awful. Thank god. If we lost this game because of the refs I’d be off the wall.

The Steelers beat us. They are really good. Credit to that defense. Credit to Mendenhall who played out of his mind. Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t amazing but he made the plays when it mattered. You can’t expect to come back from a 24-0 deficit. The fact that we got it to 19-24 is awesome. A lot of teams would’ve given up and lost this game 35-10. We came out and fought. And yes it was WE. I don’t know about other teams, but with the team, the fans are part of it. Look at my tweets. I live and die on every play. I’m not the only one.

This team played with pride. They stood up and fought to the death. We have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in terms of heart and pride. In five years, fresh off multiple Super Bowl wins, we might look back on this year (and last year) as turning points in this franchise. The years we went from mockeries and jokes to legitimate NFL contenders. A team that when you see us on your schedule, you curse under your breath. We don’t go down easy. We don’t give up.

On a personal note: I want to say thank you to everyone I interact with on Twitter. I know I can be absolutely insane during football season. I know I rage and I flip out too easily. I know I take stuff personally when you guys are just having fun. I’m so defensive when it comes to the Jets. Thank you for sticking with me and I apologize if I seriously offended anyone. I know I did at least once (wishing a car accident on Brady during the 45-3 shellacking) and I probably did it again at some point.

This year was amazing. The Texans win. Beating the Pats early on to set the tone. Coming back against the Browns. Jerricho Cotchery making a first down catch, on a full body dive, with a torn groin. Stealing a win at Denver. Beating the Steelers in week 15. Crushing the Bills in week 17. And of course, the playoffs. The Colts win was fun. So dramatic, and Nick Folk earned some Jets credit. And New England. The best win for this team in DECADES. We absolutely dominated a team that had been the class of the NFL, and the AFC East, for 10+ years. Bart Scott’s interview after that game wasn’t just funny. It was cathartic. That was 40+ years of Jets anguish being exorcised.

We’ll be back next year. Get some young defensive lineman/linebackers. A couple WRs and some o-lineman. Recharge. We’ll be back. Sanchez will be even better. Our team will be better. Watch out Brady. Watch out Manning. Watch out Roethlisberger. We’re gunning for you. Last year, we made the playoffs and started our rep. This year, we defeated the Patriots and became a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Next year? Only one place left to go. This ain’t the Same Old Jets.

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2 Responses to It’s not about the foot jokes, or the trash talk. It’s about heart: The New York Jets 2010-2011 season

  1. mike fierman says:

    good job Ben. As you know I am a Giants fan, but as this year went by I kept saying to friends that the Jets were much more fun to watch. I find them quite lovable. Sanchez and Rex make you want to root for them. I know this was hard for you today, but you summed up your feelings about the season beautifully here.
    and yes…Schottie needs to go. Calling for those 2 passes in a row in the failed goal line drive before the safety was horrible…there were other egregious ones, but those stand out to me.

  2. Jacob says:

    Man, you took the words right out of my mouth. I agree with everything you wrote.

    It ain’t easy being a Jets fan. I’ve been one for 31 seasons now — the last 20 as a resident of the greater Boston area.

    I’m used to this, and I’m very tired of being used to this.

    Rex is great — he has changed the complexion of this franchise. Sanchez has the potential to be great. I remain optimistic, but man, I am tired of nights like tonight.

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