I may have been lately accused of some behavior that some consider insane, if, of course, you are someone who believes making a living leaving one’s house despite a virus some see as eternally lethal qualifies as such,
But, no matter what, I will never be more of a poster child for insanity than Jets’ owner Woody Johnson and his feckless team of subordinate management.
Woody, his brother Chris, and others who have run the Jets this century have continually made one poor decision after another on finding a quarterback, and when their hoped for high level draft choices underperformed they have been frequently backed into a corner to make a high profile trade for a big name. Because, well, it’s New York (actually, New Jersey), and big names sell tickets.
In 2007 the Jets felt the need to part ways with Chad Pennington, a serviceable passer who simply couldn’t elevate them to a competitive level beyond the fringes of wild card contention, And, simultaneously, a Super Bowl-winning Green Bay Packer quarterback, age 39, was suddenly available, having retired after a playoff loss to that other New York team, an overtime thriller that gave the Giants their first Super Bowl win in 17 years, those two being two more than the Jets had in that span. Or in the 22 years before it.
So during 2008 training camp the Jets signed Brett Favre and annointed him their quarterback. And, yes, for the first two-thirds of the season, things looked great. They got off to an 8-3 record, Favre had a six-touchdown game, and visions of a Super Bowl danced in the Johnsons’ heads. But then, as Wikipedia reminds, the stench of the Jets overtook Favre:
However, the Jets lost four of the last five games of the season, including the final game against the Miami Dolphins, who had acquired quarterback Chad Pennington after he was released from the Jets to make room for Favre. In those five games, Favre threw eight interceptions and only two touchdown passes, bringing his season total to 22 of each. Favre had complained of shoulder pain and had an MRI performed on December 29, 2008, which revealed a torn biceps tendon in his right shoulder. After the 2008 season had ended, in mid January 2009, Favre told Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, “it may be time to look in a different direction” regarding the quarterback position. In September 2009, it was revealed that the NFL learned that the Jets were aware that Favre injured his arm in the 11th game of the 2008 season, and fined the Jets $125,000 for not reporting the injury in any of the Jets’ five final games.
Now come full circle to yesterday’s news that the Jets filled their offensive coordinator vacancy with Nathaniel Hackett, the maligned failure who miserably failed as Denver Broncos head coach who didn’t last a full season trying to resurrect Russell Wilson, and became a national joke in the process, 20 possible replacements for Mike Lafleur, the brother of Packers’ head coach Matt, who did little to help an offense saddled with yet another mistake and injury casualty with Zach Wilson. So, of course, the internet, and Jets fans with little else to be excited about, have all but concluded that another Green Bay Packers Super Bowl winner, Aaron Rodgers, is all but guaranteed to wind up as the new Jets QB, at a reported salary near $60 million.
But unlike Favre, Rodgers is coming off an age 39 season which eerily resembled the season that Favre had when he was the Jets’ quarterback, and the one that Robert Saleh and the currrent team just had. Again, our friend Wikipedia summises:
Following a Week 11 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Rodgers confirmed he has been playing with a broken thumb on his throwing hand he suffered in Week 5. With a loss in the following game to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Packers had a 4–8 record. The team rallied off four consecutive wins to get to 8–8 before the regular season finale. The Packers finished with an 8–9 record and missed the postseason following a Week 18 loss to the Detroit Lions in a win-and-in scenario for Green Bay. Rodgers finished the 2022 season with 3,695 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, which marked the most for Rodgers in a single season since 2008.
If you believe the likes of Yahoo’s Charlie Robinson, the confluence of Hackett, Rodgers and the Jets is a natural. As he enthusiastically penned this morning:
Make no mistake, these are three parties that appear to need each other right now. From the Jets requiring a big swing at a veteran quarterback this offseason, to Hackett needing a reboot with a familiar player, to Rodgers staring into the teeth of a Packers youth movement, an alliance in New York makes plenty of sense — especially on a team that is loaded with talent and positioned to take a significant step next season.
It’s pretty clear Robinson isn’t a long-suffering Jets fan like me, or has any idea of how demanding New York fans can be, especially heading into year 55 of no Super Bowl appearance. And Rodgers has been a lightning rod of controversy along the way, from his own will-he won’t-he retirement dances, to his very public celebrity romances, to his arrogant opposition to vaccinations and embracing of some truly odd health regimens. Yeah, after a few months of Kyrie Irving, that’s exactly what New York sports fans need.
And if Hackett couldn’t handle the heat of Denver, and an ownership in transition, what possibility is there that he will be able to endure the wrath of Jets’ fans, the tabloid press, and, for that matter, the Johnson family?
At least, unlike Favre, Rodgers is less likely to send pictures of his genitalia to a Jets’ TV reporter. He’s supposedly back in a steady relationship with a much less prominent lady, and just about everyone covering the team hopes it remains that way.
And as for bringing in a Hackett? I would have preferred they dug up this one:
Oh, to be a Jets fan. Can’t wait for summer.