An Inside Look at Jets Fandom

Jets fans have hope for this upcoming season. But will this season be different from any other for the Gang Green? Photo courtesy of CBS Sports.

Being a Jets fan is no easy task. Just think of all the false promise and drama it entails. To a Jets fan, there is no such thing as an easy win or a sure loss, which can either be a positive or a major pitfall, depending on whom you ask. No matter which perspective a fan looks at the team, they all experience the same three emotions every game-day.

Hope: Before every game, hope courses through a Jets fan’s veins. They look at the opponent and say, “We might actually have a chance today!” That statement shared by thousands of fans illustrates the unfortunate but true fact that if the Jets lose, the opposing team didn’t win, but the team beat itself. If the Jets lose a game, more often than not they brought themselves down, rather than the opponent outplaying them in every respect. But going back to the sense of hope, almost every Jets fan has experienced it at one time or another. It is untamed optimism, in its most primal form.

There is no better feeling than that sense of optimism on a crisp fall morning. The main reason that enthusiasm exists is that a fan doesn’t know what team to expect come game-time. Will they see an efficient, composed club who can beat the likes of the Pittsburgh Steelers and lose to the Patriots twice by a combined score of three points over two games? Or will they see a hapless, unorganized mess of a team who can lose to the Buffalo Bills twice by an average of 27.5? The latter of the two sentiments is more probable, but the fact that the Jets have soundly beaten the statistically superior Steelers and gave the Super Bowl-bound Patriots a good fight leaves a Jets fan with some hope.

Frustration: Once the game begins, however, that sense of hope is often converted into frustration in the blink of an eye. As the team goes three-and-out on drive after drive, a Jets fan gets the urge to scream. On the off chance that the team is running on all cylinders that day, fans still feel frustration at the fact that their team can’t play like this every game. But if the Jets are playing in typical Jets fashion, per usual, then Gang Green faithful have no recourse but to pull their hair out.

In a sense, being a Jets fan is better than being a fan of, say, the Jacksonville Jaguars, as Jets fans actually have hope that their team will triumph. Jaguars faithful, of which there are not many, consider making the playoffs too far out of their reach to even invest their heart in it. At least Jets fans can believe that they have the possibility of making the playoffs, but when they don’t make it, the sense of heartbreak and loss is greater than that of a Jaguars fans, so it is a double-edged sword that almost always leads to frustration.

Resignation: When the Jets are down by 14 with two minutes left, as they have been all too many times, a feeling of resignation begins to creep in. Jets fans get a feeling of “been there, done that” that is unrivaled in all of the NFL. What other NFL team goes to the AFC Championship game two years in a row only to miss the playoffs the next three seasons? Jets fans become resigned to their fate and submit to the inevitable. They don’t make excuses; they see things as they are, and that is unique to Jets fandom. You won’t hear Jets fans blaming the loss on the refs or on an injury, as they accept what truly happened that day on the gridiron.

In this upcoming season, the Jets have a chance to complete this cycle as never before. Right now, with a new regime in place and a clean slate, Jet fans have hope. Once the season starts, it is probable that the hope will turn into frustration as the team fails to perform to its expectations. Finally, as the Jets playoff chances are extinguished, that frustration may turn into resignation about the team’s fate. And then the cycle repeats, week after week, year after year. Hopefully, this is the year that the Jets break the cycle. You never know…



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