For many years, the New York Jets have made a habit of teasing their tortured fan base with great moments and seasons that ended in heartbreak and misery.
Whether it be in 1998 when the Jets won a division title and went to the AFC Championship game, losing to John Elway and the Denver Broncos, or the heart breaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004 when Doug Brien missed multiple field goals and the Jets lost in overtime. All of the Jets horrific moments in franchise history could not even fill a book, but why bring back all of the bad memories and make loyal Jets fans like the legendary WFAN radio hosts, Evan Roberts and Joe Beningo rant and rave and relive the horrors we have all witnessed.
This article is not being written to bring back the bad memories. This article is being written to discuss the promise of the 2015 New York Jets and the opportunity that this team has to make Jets season ticket holders (like your author) and loyal fans have a season to remember.
The 2015 Jets have had arguably the greatest offseason in franchise history. Fresh off of a horrible 4-12 season that saw banners flown over MetLife stadium saying “Fire Idzik”, fans begging for Michael Vick, and the firing of Rex Ryan, many Jets fans felt that the team was about to enter a difficult stretch of seasons.
However, then new Head Coach Todd Bowles and new General Manager Mike Maccagnan were hired and everything changed.
Suddenly, the Jets were able to reunite Darrelle Revis, (who should have been brought back last season) and Antonio Cromartie, which gave the Jets their best two cornerbacks in the secondary since 2012. Maccagnan was not done, as he signed Buster Skrine, a rising star from the Cleveland Browns, along with Marcus Gilchrist, a safety from the San Diego Chargers, traded for Ryan Fitzpatrick from the Houston Texans for a late round draft pick, and made a huge splash by trading for Brandon Marshall from the Chicago Bears for a fifth round pick.
Maccagnan made some underrated moves by signing Stevan Ridley from the New England Patriots, and acquiring Zac Stacy from the St. Louis Rams for a seventh round pick. After signing all of these free agents, the Jets went out and drafted Leonard Williams, a defense lineman with the 6th overall pick, Devan Smith, a wide receiver, and Bryce Petty a quarterback, all of whom were touted by NFL draft experts for their skill and promise. All of these moves have helped to give Jets fans hope, and Maccagnan and Bowles have been praised by Jets fans for all of these moves, as they should be.
In spite of all of these fantastic acquisitions, there is another reason why Jets fans should see this season as a season of promise: the division is not as strong as it once was. Look around at the AFC East, the almighty New England Patriots have lost significant players such as Vince Wilfork, Shane Vereen, Brandon Browner, and Brandon Spikes, who was recently released from the team.
The Patriots also will have lost Tom Brady for four games, at least, with the possibility that his suspension will be reduced depending on his appeal, which is scheduled to be heard on June 23rd. The Miami Dolphins, in spite of making a big splash by signing Ndamukong Suh in free agency for a record six-year, $114 million contract, do not strike fear in the heart of many teams due to their inconsistencies. They have collapsed while attempting to make the postseason for the past two seasons, losing badly at home to the New York Jets in their home finale, where Geno Smith looked like the next coming of Joe Namath, as he lit up the Dolphins defense in both season finales, after having two subpar seasons.
The Buffalo Bills are a wild card team, with Rex Ryan taking over the head coaching job, and the acquisition of LeSean McCoy from the Philadelphia Eagles. Buffalo has the makings of an elite defense and playmakers on offense, but much like the Jets, the quarterback position is their wild card, and Jets fans know that Rex Ryan does not like to play an up-tempo offense, so the Bills will most likely be in many close games.
This is the time for the Jets to make a big push for the AFC East title that has eluded them since the magical season of 2002, when the Jets shocked the Green Bay Packers 44-7 and the Patriots beat the Dolphins to give Jets fans a memorable win. The Jets have the makings of the top defense in the NFL, with great players such as Sheldon Richardson, Muhammed Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, Damon Harrison, David Harris, Demario Davis, Darrelle Revis, and Antonio Cromartie.
Every single player on the Jets defense, even the ones not previously mentioned are solid defenders, who should thrive in Coach Todd Bowles’ system. On offense, the Jets have talented playmakers such as Chris Ivory, Jace Amaro, Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, Stevan Ridley, Bilal Powell, and Jeremy Kerley. Couple that with a great offensive line with veterans such as Nick Mangold, Willie Colon, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Breno Giacomini.
Couple that with a fantastic kicker in Nick Folk, who is nearly automatic at making field goals and extra points and this Jets roster is loaded from top to bottom.
If Geno Smith, or Ryan Fitzpatrick can play limit the amount of turnovers that they make this season, then there is no reason why the Jets should not be able to capture the AFC East division championship. The Jets have taken a roster void of a great amount of talent, and turned it into one of the best rosters on paper in the entire NFL.
The time is now, the Jets need to make their move to dethrone the hated New England Patriots and give their loyal fans a home playoff game for the first time since 2001. This team has all the pieces in place, and a more than capable head coach in Todd Bowles who knows what it takes to get the job done. Now go for it.