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Why Your Team Sucks

Why Your Team Sucks 2023: New York Jets

12:31 PM EDT on August 10, 2023

Aaron Rodgers attends the 149th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 06, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images

Some people are fans of the New York Jets. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the New York Jets. This 2023 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.

Your team: Aaron Rodgers's Aaron Rodgerses.

Your 2022 record: 7-Aaron Rodgers, but before I Aaron Rodgers in the Aaron Rodgers of this Aaron Rodgers, let’s Zach Wilson about the 2022 Jets. These guys started the season 5-2 while the Giants went 6-1, prompting everyone to cry out, Oh my god both New York teams are good! They’re obviously both frauds, but at least they’re doing good-team shit right now! I might have some sort of hallucinating disease! The 2022 Jets even staged a miracle win against Cleveland IN Cleveland. How many other teams can boast of such things, hmm?

And then it all began to unravel with a loss to—who else?—the Patriots. Always the Patriots. Bill Belichick became the second-winningest coach of all time after that win, and the Jets became the Jets again. They lost to Minnesota when Cam Bynum picked them off at the goal line in the final seconds. The Dolphins clinched a playoff spot by beating them with a 50-yard field goal. They gave up four sacks to a Bills team that couldn’t suit up Von Miller. Their stud rookie RB tore his knee up. Jared Goff needed inches to convert a late fourth down against them and tossed a game-winning touchdown instead. To a fucking nobody! Look how open this asshole was! Look how open he remained even after he caught the goddamn ball!

And, as decreed by our Lord, the Jets were swept by New England, with the rematch a 3-3 horrorshow until Marcus Jones walked New York off with a punt return touchdown: the first punt return TD in the entire league that season. While the Giants would go on to make the playoffs, and even win a game while they were there, the Jets ended up being mathematically eliminated in Week 17 by Geno fucking Smith, of all people. Turns out that all Geno Smith needed to be an above-average NFL quarterback was a chance to start without the threat of getting his jaw broken by a teammate.

If that sounds like a low bar for an organization to clear, you don’t know the history of the New York Jets. The 2022 vintage was loaded everywhere except at the only position that matters. All the Jets needed to thrive was decent quarterback play. They even had 2021 No. 2 pick and boy-band-member-who-ends-up-a-coke-addict Zach Wilson to aid in the effort. But you know the deal with Zach Wilson. Everyone does:

Wilson was demoted to third string in the middle of last season, found his way back into the starting lineup, and then was benched again. In between all of that, Jets fans were treated to ample helpings of Joe Flacco, Mike White, and Chris Streveler. I’d have more success asking these four men to make my wedding cake. And if you need one last kick in the balls (you do), here’s this paragraph from Cale Clinton in this year’s FTN almanac:

Wilson was the fifth Jets quarterback taken in the first two rounds since 2009, joining Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Hackenberg, and Sam Darnold. In their time with the Jets, not one of these quarterbacks ever finished with a positive passing DVOA in a season with at least 50 pass attempts… Despite being a huge disappointment last season, Wilson posted the best passing DVOA by a Jets quarterback since Josh McCown in 2017.

That’s right. Zach Wilson is the best you guys have done in the past five years. Why, it’s almost enough for you to panic-trade for a 39-year-old podcast addict who makes important life decisions by dropping organic acid and sealing himself inside an iron lung.

Your coach: Robert Saleh, but in name only. Your new head coach is Aaron Rodgers, and he’s already brought his guys with him, most notably this pud at offensive coordinator:

That’s Nathaniel Hackett, who bombed out as head coach in Denver so badly, and so quickly, that his successor there felt comfortable telling the press how shitty of a job he did. All Sean Payton did was point out the obvious, and for that Hackett pulled a baseball and was like, SIR WE HAVE UNWRITTEN RULES IN THE BROTHERHOOD SIR. While Hackett has sprouted a goatee since leaving Denver, and now looks like Trent Dilfer after a drinking binge, everything about him remains embarrassing.

The Jets hired Hackett early this offseason because they wanted to lure in Rodgers, and it actually worked. This is because all Rodgers wants out of an offensive coordinator is some chump who will let him call every play using a series of elaborate hand signals and Navajo ciphers that are passed down strictly by oral tradition. It only takes 12 weeks for his teammates to learn Rodgers’s system. For roughly six to seven weeks after that, it’s unstoppable.

Your quarterback: Him.

Savor the flavor Jets fans, because right now is as good as it will get. Aaron Rodgers told the world, via Pat McAfee, that he was 90 percent ready to retire, then took a four-day bath, then had a vision that he HAD to be a New York Jet. Rodgers issued this declaration before the Jets had actually traded for him, handing all of the negotiating leverage to Green Bay in the process. All Packers GM Brian Gutekunst did with that leverage was force the Jets to bid against themselves, eventually extracting a first, a second, a sixth, and a conditional second (that’ll almost certainly become a first) out of New York. For all of that, the Jets now get one of the most expensive headaches in the sport.

But for the moment, life is good. Rodgers is the best quarterback these Jets have maybe ever had. Not only that, he appears to be the only Jets player who’s ever been HAPPY to work for them. So right now, everyone is jizzing rainbows all over the tri-state. There’s Aaron hanging out at Knicks playoff games. There he is wearing normal clothing to training camp instead of his usual Nic Cage cosplay. There he is taking a pay cut, because he’s the greatest teammate who ever lived. And there he is gushing over the great state of New Jersey and all of its resplendent offerings. This is the good shit. This is why you became a Jets fan to begin with: hope, change, “come here, big tits,” etc.

Read no further if you don’t want reality spoiled for you.

Aaron Rodgers was the 17th ranked quarterback in the league a season ago. He got eliminated from playoff contention by a Lions team that was even sicker of his bullshit than the Packers were. He had his worst passer rating as a starter last year. He didn’t pass for 300 yards once. He was utterly lost without Davante Adams and took it out on everyone still on the roster. His exit from Green Bay was an endless, debilitating affair that reduced nationwide life expectancy by three years. He collects nagging injuries like they’re rare Pokemon cards. He can’t go anywhere without his Randall Cobb. Oh, and he hasn’t won a conference title in well over a decade, playing with his own foot up his ass in every playoff game since. The easy joke here is to remind you of Brett Favre’s time in New York. But this is different, mostly because Brett Favre could still play.

Behind Rodgers is Zach Wilson.

What’s new that sucks: This is hardly the only offseason in which the Jets shifted into All-In Mode. They’ve been going all in ever since former owner Leon Hess told the world, “I'm 80 years old and I want results now,” right after hiring Rich Kotite. As such, quick fixes have been the Jets’ stock in trade for the bulk of my adulthood: Kotite, Bill Parcells, Vinny Testaverde, Bill Belichick (for one day), Neil O’Donnell, Darrelle Revis 2.0, Ty Law, Favre, Adam Gase, etc. And yes, the majority of those quick fixes turned out disastrously, but that just means they’re due this time around.

So here we go again on the Retread Express, with Rodgers bringing along not just one, but four washed-up former teammates in Cobb, WR Allen Lazard, RT Billy Turner, and S Adrian Amos. Already, the Jets have scoffed at the idea that they signed these guys at Rodgers’s behest. Saleh was like, How dare you suggest we signed Randall Cobb because Aaron ordered us to? right before he went back to baking Rodgers’s favorite gluten-free muffins.

Elsewhere, the Jets passed on fortifying their O-line and instead overdrafted edge rusher Will McDonald. They signed Turner to replace the departing George Fant, and yet they still have arguably the worst tackle situation in the league, which isn’t a good thing when your quarterback spends months at a time battling COVID elbow. They also signed WR Mecole Hardman, who makes three cool plays a year, and grabbed a pair of journeymen defensive linemen—Al Woods and Quinton Jefferson—because the 21st century Jets love having too many defensive linemen. Finally, they traded for S Chuck Clark, who then tore his ACL.

But this is still an extremely talented roster, and now it boasts a Hall of Famer at QB to tie the room together. This is why the Jets have joined the Detroit Lions as lifelong doormats who now find themselves as consensus dark horse favorites in their respective conferences. I see no reason why either of these organizations should falter. This is because I once had a stroke.

Meanwhile, two of the Jets’ first six games come against last season’s Super Bowl teams. Another one is against the Patriots, who never lose to them. Now, does this strike you as the sort of team that can absorb the psychological blow of starting 3-3 or worse after such lofty preseason expectations? You guys traded for a season-long back page roasting, and the puns will commence sometime right around early October: ERRIN’ RODGERS, etc. I’m ready.

Why the players think you suck: The NFLPA issued a report card on the Jets that served as a far more accurate, and concise, preview of their coming season than this whole post will:

While there was nothing overtly problematic identified in the results, there is nothing that stands out as excellent either. In general, the sentiment is that the facility is getting old and can use upgrading.

Sums up the Jets experience so exquisitely, I feel inadequate.

What has always sucked: In the major men’s North American sports leagues, no team has a longer active playoff drought than the Jets. The last time you guys went to the dance was in 2010, which means that the Rex Ryan era was not only your pinnacle, but that it also happened half a generation ago. If Rodgers helps you break that streak, as many expect, getting casually dispatched in the AFC title game—just as Ryan’s teams were—will be the BEST you can do. Because I just watched Rodgers shit the bed in a hopelessly thin NFC year after year, and he’s no better equipped to move up to the big boy conference.

And I’d say that Jets fans know all of this deep down, but there is no deep down with these losers. There is only laughable arrogance, loud demands for tits, “I’m fuckin Italian!” and sad tailgate brats. These Jets will fail, Rodgers will turn back into Junior Mamba and burn every last bridge in the tri-state, and all of the cops in Jets Nation who latched onto Rodgers because he's anti-woke will eventually demand a trade for Russell Wilson to work themselves stupid all over again. The circle will never be unbroken.

Buttfumble. Fuck Woody Johnson with a Listerine bottle.

Ratto says: The Jets will be exposed as the perpetual third team in a two-team market. The Giants are second, and every other team is tied for first.

What might not suck: You guys have the reigning rookies of the year on either side of the ball—WR Garrett Wilson and CB Sauce Gardner—and they’re gonna be legit for years. Maybe Matthew Stafford will be the missing piece those two will need to get over the hump. Tell me it’s not possible.

HEAR IT FROM JETS FANS!

Lennon:

Oh god, they did it. Oh this sucks.

Mike:

The best QB we've had since Chad Pennington is this asshole. Yay!

Stephen:

This Pepe The Frog-ass dork. This edgelord meme generator. This crystal-collecting Ayahuasca tourist. This own-research-doing, horse paste-eating, not-vaccinating/yes-immunizing teller of untruths. I never cared much for Aaron Rodgers before but now that he's on my team, I hate his guts and I hate my team more than ever. I hope his family disowns him again and I hope they do it on his birthday.

Jasper Wang:

I'm so starved for baseline competence, and for not being a national laughingstock, that I would've preferred getting milquetoast Derek Carr to the Aaron Rodgers circus act.

Connor:

My first trip to an NFL game was the last game Brett Favre played for the Jets, so I know how this ends: shirtless New Jerseyeans shouting for Bill Cowher to save them while fighting each other for no clear reason. The only question is whether or not this happens at a wild card game in Cincinnati or Jacksonville.

Colin:

Now anytime this self-important asshole sneezes on Pat McAfee's dumb show I'm going to have to hear about it for a week. 

Chris:

This will be the most talked about 9-8 season to ever happen, and it's exactly what this mouth breathing fanbase deserves.

Criag:

If the only Super Bowl the Jets win in my lifetime is with Aaron Fucking Rodgers as QB, I suppose that's what I get for being a Jets fan.

Alex:

Aaron Rodgers was born to be a Jet. He's your cousin from Wading River who brags about how much house he was able to get for his money, who "needed land" but couldn't imagine any other place to get it than on Long Island and far enough away from the city that he doesn't have to "worry about crime." He owns the biggest, most impractical SUV you've ever seen, but he keeps saying he'll get a Tesla just to see the look on his liberal brother's face. He drives to Manhattan every day for his finance job, parks the SUV in a garage, and complains about how much it costs him, but has never once thought about taking the train.

His shirts are just too tight. His necklaces and bracelets just too leathery. He believes every natural-medicine huckster and thinks you should too, because his sister's a nurse at Northwell and she takes this stuff, too. He insists you need to hear some of the stories about vaccine injuries that she's heard from friends of friends at other hospitals.

He says things like "nowadays" and "play stupid games, win stupid prizes" and "make it make sense."

When he talks about politics it doesn't make a ton of sense, but you know it's all cribbed from some podcast or right-wing radio show he found on his two-hour-each-way commute. His beliefs constantly change and are frequently incompatible with stances he took the last time you saw him, but he insists that he's the only logical person left alive because he's asking questions and doing his own research.

This fanbase and this quarterback deserve each other.

Ian:

Aaron Rodgers endorsed RFK Jr. for president.

Andy:

At least I can rest assured that Rodgers won't be weighed down by extraneous RNA.

Justin:

MetLife stadium was designed out of spite.

Dan:

The first time he overthrows a receiver at MetLife and gets booed by Jets fans, his brain will implode. We're just a few months from seeing a re-creation of the Jack McDowell incident, with Rodgers walking off his home field in disgrace and giving his own fans the middle finger before he ends up in Cleveland the following season.

Sam:

The Jets finally FINALLY had a draft where everything just went absolutely right, and it didn't matter.

Steven:

My dad, brother and I have been going to the same Jets tailgate almost every Sunday for the last two decades, and the tailgate itself has existed since the team played at Shea Stadium. My dad is usually the fourth car on line at Metlife to get in, about 70 minutes before the lots actually open. The food is always beyond excellent, with weird deep fryer experiments and a dizzying display of meats.

But every week, we get to noon and we break down the tables and grills. And every week for the last decade, while my dad and brother begin the slow, sad death march into the stadium to, I make the wise decision: to go home on NJ Transit. 

Dave:

Take the intrinsic shittiness of the Lions, the personnel stability of the Browns, and add a fanbase comprised of the people from Long Island who were too illiterate to get on Jersey Shore.

Mike:

Why couldn't I have grown up a Giants fan. 

Sean:

There are no winners in the New York Packers overhaul save for Aaron Rodgers' Wisconsin-sized ego and unvaxxed Staten Island assholes named Vinny.

Zach:

Our most famous fan is the only fireman people don’t like.

Rory:

Anytime you're driving up the West Side Highway and hit a traffic jam, keep an eye on the car causing the bottleneck. You should see two things: a New Jersey license plate, and a New York Jets license plate frame.

Charles:

I think Joe Rogan is our director of media relations and a bottle of Nugenix is our strength and conditioning coach.

Mike:

It's Week 17. Aaron Rodgers has had a good season. All the Jets need to do to make the playoffs is beat the Patriots.

Rodgers is hurt and can't start. Zach Wilson starts and throws five picks.

Gil:

They haven't played in a Super Bowl since before man first walked on the moon. 

Justin:

My father was 13 years old last time a Jets QB threw for 4000 yards. 

Mike:

The past decade of being a Jets fan has been similar to the cultural Catholicism that is common in the NY metro area. It's a thing you do on Sunday because you always do it, but there isn't really any meaning, joy, or discernable reason involved. It's dull and uncomfortable and makes me feel gross. It's baggage. But at least it's been routine and predictable. 

Now we've got an aging wannabe podcast mystic at QB and I'm thinking they have a shot at the division. I hate myself.

Jordan:

Any Jets fan who thinks this season will end in anything other than absolute disaster is kidding themselves. 

Dan:

I've dated two Jets fans. Both were recovering teenage alcoholics.

Paul:

The Jets are the running water atop the burning wick of my happiness.

Kyle:

All I want is to be able to legitimately look down on the Bills again. Is that so much to ask?

Dharm:

I want Robert Saleh to succeed. He seems like a good man of faith and conviction. The Jets will break him like a child breaks a cheap toy from the Dollar Store.

David:

Woody Johnson is a total, raging asshole. 

Josh:

We've won a Super Bowl, and Mark Sanchez somehow has the franchise record for most postseason victories by a quarterback.

Martin:

My wife says that when I see the Jets win on Sunday, I look like a man who looks like he's just been told that his cancer is in remission. It may be good news, but you know that the hand of fate always has your number. 

Steven:

I was at the Buttfumble game and browned out in the parking lot just beforehand. Pretty much the only things I still remember from it are the Patriots scooping and scoring on that play, and then dropping what felt like 40 points in five minutes.

John:

I have watched essentially every Jets game with my father for the past 25 or so years. Throughout all of that time, the least surprised that I have ever seen the man was when Sam Darnold threw a pick-six on his first ever career passing attempt. I too didn’t blink an eye. We both just kind of sat there and watched the Lions sideline go nuts. We said and felt nothing, and we didn’t even look at one another. There was no yelling, or even, “It’s OK. He got it out of his system” banter. We just acted like it never happened.

Mike:

Look Drew, I'm not an idiot. I know how this ends. The absolute ceiling here is a crushing loss in the AFC title game. But I'm going to enjoy this as much as I can for however long I can. And after it's done I will go back to loathing him (and myself). 

Submissions for the NFL previews are now closed. Next up: New England Patriots.

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