For Jets Fans, Disaster Is The Only Love Language
3:19 PM EDT on September 12, 2023
Comrade Ley properly encapsulated the cataclysm of New York Jets football already, including the juxtaposition of Mike Glennon and "Christ, this is depressing." And objectively it is, because only a ghoul would find delight in another person's injury—cause the game demands that of them, and the game responds by giving them endless reasons for their preternatural ghoulishness. It's the circle of schadenfreude, and football fans, especially those in the fantasy sports era, are particularly practiced in this area.
Indeed, even as the cart taking Rodgers from the quarry that is MetLife Stadium was pulling into the tunnel, Football America had already transitioned to blurting out the best solution for the Jets' post-Rodgers era, and Glennon wasn't nearly the most ridiculous name. Last night alone, and this was just within the first hour, Twitter (the Jets of social media) offered up:
- Patriot-for-life and Raider co-owner Tom Brady.
- Emergency quarterback for life Colt McCoy.
- Former Eagle Carson Wentz.
- Former Eagle Nick Foles.
- Former Jet Mike White.
- Former Jet Joe Flacco.
- Retired quarterback Philip Rivers, because age never matters in football.
- Retired quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, because age never matters in football.
- Retired quarterback Colin Kaepernick, because some habits die hard.
- Currently employed Sam Darnold.
- Currently employed Jameis Winston.
- Currently employed Matthew Stafford.
- Currently employed Dorian Thompson-Robinson (look it up yourselves).
- Tanking for Caleb Williams. Lots of tanking for Caleb Williams.
The other phenomenon we've seen in the past 18 hours is the hold-my-beer circle of what fan base has it historically worse than the Jets, as triggered by the disgusted-beardy-guy-with-middle-finger mural that triggered Peyton Manning. All of this will lead to lots of tavern arguments that involve the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, New York Knicks, Rochester/Cincinnati/Kansas City/Omaha/Sacramento Royals/Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Cleveland 'Ians and Tottenham Hotspur. It never occurs to any of these people that caring about such teams is actually a choice to suffer, and in fact is really a branding exercise. "Look what I can endure" feels less impressive when it becomes identity politics, and the beardy guy is actually way happier that he made himself famous than he is sad about Rodgers. He's the guy who knows without being told that today is the 24th anniversary of former Jet Vinny Testaverde blowing out his Achilles in the 1999 opener, and he probably flipped off someone then, too. Committing to the bit, he probably flipped off a cop.
What we're saying here with our devotion to schadenfreude is that Jets fans do deserve what happened last night because they are among those fan bases who claim glorious disaster as proof of their value. They can and do stand proudly among the sufferers and say loudly between rounds they never seem to pay for, "We've got it worse than you," ignoring the fact that what they've really got is just the latest version of "worse than you." This is an identity that Milwaukee Brewers fans or Vancouver Canucks fans or Minnesota Vikings fans don't broadcast as loudly, even though they have never won a championship at all in their combined 169 years of existence.
Jets fans needed this because they won a big game with an overtime punt return while wrapped in raincoats made of plastic sheeting and doom—the immediate happiness of the moment that simultaneously lifts and reinforces the crushing gloom. Because they are strapped to the notion that life without reward is actually who they are, the only way this could have been more spectacularly Jets-esque for them is if Rodgers had blown out his Achilles tendon tripping on the turf as he ran on the field carrying the flag. Their payoff was all the months that led up to last night, when the Rodgers hype was making them a national brand again. The best jokes, after all, are setup-dependent, better than even the punchlines.
So why not Mike Glennon? Hell, why not Flacco, or Kaepernick, or Testaverde, or even Brady, the first triple-dipping player in NFL history? They're the Jets, and every idea is a good one because every idea is just a disaster building up steam.