Jets fans, stop freaking out about a win: It’s going to turn


The Bizzaro Jets of 2017 have forced fans to choose between their heads and their hearts.

Do you root for position in the standings or position in next spring’s draft?

Everyone seems to agree these Jets are not playoff contenders, never mind Super Bowl contenders. With that acknowledgement, the logical conclusion is this team is better off finishing 2-14 or 3-13 and landing one of the top two picks than 6-10 or 7-9 and ending up picking between six and 12.

Still, if you’re a fan, how do you root against the team you’ve spent your life cheering for? How do you not pull for Jets touchdowns and sacks and boo the hell out of the other team?

Sunday was the first home test for this strange season. I spent some time in the parking lot with a passionate group of fans before the game. It was clear that the talk of tanking or hoping the Jets lose faded with those who actually showed up at MetLife Stadium. Gone were dreams of Sam Darnold. In their place was hope that the experts might all be wrong and the natural reflex any Jets fans feel when they see a Dan Marino jersey in East Rutherford — a desire to pound the Dolphins mercilessly.

The home team complied and routed the Dolphins in impressive fashion, 20-6. That predictably led to questions of whether this win should be celebrated or mourned. The Jets had blown their chance at an imperfect 0-16 season. Would it cost them a franchise quarterback?

Stop worrying.

Jets fans should enjoy this win and any others that come along this season. People are overreacting to one win. A week ago, everyone was throwing dirt on the Jets. They played a great game Sunday, and the Dolphins looked like they were sleepwalking. It was the perfect combination for a Jets victory. The Jets are still going to finish with a record that will give them a top draft pick.

So, Jets fans should relish this week. Enjoy mocking Dolphins fans. Let your mind wander toward possibilities of surprising the league. Don’t worry about the 2018 draft now.

This is one of the strangest Jets seasons ever. Fans are unsure whether to feel good about the team or hope for the worst. Even things other than the record are hard to process.

Quarterback Josh McCown has gotten off to a great start in the first three games. He is completing close to 70 percent of his passes and is not committing dumb turnovers. Instead of enjoying that, though, I have heard from many fans concerned this is delaying the chance for Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg to play.

Again, stop worrying.

Hackenberg and/or Petty will get to play this year. Injuries happen. McCown will cool off. The organization will turn its eyes toward 2018 at some point.

For right now, though, enjoy what McCown is giving you. Enjoy watching Jamal Adams fly around the field. Enjoy a young team that is playing hard and playing loose.

The Jets have another winnable game on Sunday. Sure, the Jaguars beat the Ravens 44-7 last week. But they are coming off playing in London, traveling to New Jersey and trying to put together back-to-back good games. There are plenty of reasons to like the Jets in this game.

If the Jets win, panic will set in among the pro-tank crowd. Others will celebrate a Jets win the same way they have since they started rooting for the team.

These are the Bizarro Jets, where you have to choose between what your head and heart tell you.

Finally time for Mawae

In 1998, Bill Parcells was unsure who was going to be his quarterback, but he knew who he wanted snapping the ball to whoever that quarterback was going to be — Kevin Mawae.

Kevin Mawae in 2004Charles Wenzelberg

Parcells signed Mawae as a free agent (and found Vinny Testaverde later), and Mawae spent the next eight seasons as the Jets center, making six Pro Bowls with the team.

The Jets will honor Mawae at halftime of Sunday’s game with the Jaguars, inducting him into their Ring of Honor.

“I’m just excited about being up there and seeing some old teammates,” Mawae said Tuesday. “When it was announced a couple of weeks back, it was an emotional deal for me because you never play a game hoping or expecting to be a Ring of Honor member, a Hall of Famer, whatever.

“You play the game because you love it. I’m sure at the ceremony on Sunday with the fans in the stadium I’m sure a wave of emotions are going to hit me. “

Mawae played a crucial role in a successful period for the team that included four playoff appearances and one trip to the AFC Championship game. He led the way for Curtis Martin and gave Testaverde and Chad Pennington time to operate.

He will be back at the center of the field on Sunday, getting much deserved appreciation.



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