HBO’s”Hard Knocks” over the summer didn’t help. Nor does having a head coach with a big belly and an even a bigger mouth. Jets-haters don’t like our glamour-boy quarterback, and they really don’t like that we’ve anointed our cornerback the best in the sport.
I can feel the animosity in my own house. Robby and his friends, who, strangely, don’t root for the Jets or Giants, but rather for an unlikely assortment of out-of-town teams including the Dolphins, the Chargers, the Lions, the Steelers, the Bengals, the Bears, the Eagles, and the Falcons, watch the games every week on NFL Sunday Ticket in our playroom. Last Sunday, as I walked into that room after yet another improbable Jets victory (30-27 over the Texans), I could tell they were seething. If I so much as made eye contact with any of them, I know they would have gleefully told me how the Jets suck; how they’re nothing but lucky; how they’ve been beating stinky teams. How they don’t deserve to win.
And to all that, I have just one word: Standings. Call me crazy, but I think the standings are important. And if the fans from all those teams I mentioned look way, way up in the standings — hopefully, without straining their necks too badly — they’ll find the Jets.
Gang Green sealed each of its last four victories in the final minutes. Their total margin of victory for those four games was 16 points. Winning ugly — yeah, I heard that a lot. But when they pick the team to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, I guarantee, it ain’t gonna be based on style points.
Oh, and one more thing: Mark Sanchez.
Every once in a while, Robby will sing the praises of an athlete he says I have to like, because even if he plays for an enemy team, he’s scrappy/tough/smart/fundamentally sound/old-school. In short, he has some combination of qualities he knows I can’t help admiring.
To Robby, and to his fellow Dolphins fans, and to the motley crew that assembles in our playroom every Sunday, I say this: Would you like a 24-year-old quarterback who’s got a rocket-launcher for an arm, who can escape the pass rush like Houdini, who in his second year is already the undisputed leader of his team, and who has this habit of pulling out victory after victory in the last minute?
I thought so.
And finally, switching gears to local high school football . . . a shout-out to my hometown Staples Wreckers, who this morning crushed the Greenwich Cardinals 27-8, finishing the regular season with a 9-1 record, and clinching a berth in the state tournament. Three more wins to go. GO WRECKERS!!!