Crumbling in the Face of Adversity Tweet
Yesterday Bart Scott was at it yet again, this time taking exception to the fans for making it known that they were no pleased with the effort the Jets put on the field against the Patriots and, for the most part, the whole season. Now in fairness to Scott he seemed to be specifically targeting a group around the exit tunnels that did go a bit overboard spouting some words that were pretty hateful, though the Jets should have known these situations would occur with the design of this stadium.
Fans of a team are passionate. In many ways they live and die with the players during that 60 minute period of play. One of the problems with the Jets, and this dates back to last season, is the perception that they are a team that is giving up or not trying. While Scott is correct in saying that the people in the stands can not play football anywhere near the level he plays, when fans do not see the players giving an effort on that field they are going to resent the players, especially when the players and coaches rarely own up to the mishaps on the field.
Nobody likes losing in the NFL, but there are degrees of losing in this league. There are teams who fight hard each and every week and just happen to come up short and then there are those who seem to outright quit in the face of adversity. The 1999 and 1991 Jets both finished the season 8-8, which in 91 was actually good enough for the playoffs. Nobody really complained too much about those teams. Why? They competed. The average margin of loss in 1999 was 5.9 points and in 1991 was 6.0 points. They never lost a game by 15 points. Fast forward to 2011 and you have an 8-8 team that lost by an average of 13 points a game and 4 of their 8 losses were by more than 15 points. It has the feel of a team that quits when the chips are down.
That has carried over to 2012, which was a point I made in going over why I felt Rex Ryan had to beat New England last week. The 2012 Jets are not just bad in defeat, they are historically bad. Of their 7 losses, 5 have been by 15 or more points. The only Jets teams with more blowout defeats since the AFL/NFL merger were the 1975, 1976, and 1996 Jets. The 75 and 76 teams featured the final years of a broken down Joe Namath and 4 head coaches, including the infamous Lou Holtz coaching season. 1996 was of course the epic Rich Kotite 15 loss season. As it currently stands the 2012 Jets have the second highest percentage of their losses being considered blowouts at 71.4%. The only team worse was those Holtz Jets who lost an incredible 81.8% of their 11 losses by more than 15 points. Luckily I was only 1 when that occurred.
The loss margin of 18.9 points ranks 4th in team history, behind those 1975 and 1976 seasons as well as the 1986 season where the Jets collapsed down the stretch losing their last 5 games and seeing the coach bench a young Ken O’Brien due to being ineffective down the stretch. The 31.4 points allowed per loss also ranks 4th to those same three squads. On the bright side the offensive output of 12.6 ppg is only 11th worst, with 1976 again claiming the top spot with only 9 ppg. I could only imagine what a season like 1976 would have been like if there was sports talk radio and the internet.
Most players have a short shelf life as starters in the NFL. Bart Scott has been a Jet for 4 years. A handful of those fans in the stands have been watching this team for the last 50 years. Many for 40. I’ve been watching for 30. When fans get upset with the team it’s because they have seen it before. I remember the 86 collapse. The 89 disaster. Browning Nagle in 1992. The Kotite years. I can only imagine what those who lived through the 1970s can remember. These fans have a different perspective than any player on that field and when they take out their frustrations on the uniform, and that is who they are taking it out on, it’s because they can sit back and say “this is almost as bad as it gets” as a fan of this team.
There are plenty of people in sports who do understand the frustration of the fan. I thought Boomer Esiason made a great point today on WFAN when he said he understood it because he was a fan. He was a fan of the Rangers. He was a fan of the Mets. He wasn’t a professional hockey or baseball player but he basically knew what it was like to go through those ups and downs with something you love.
Listen to Kris Jenkins on SNY. He gets it. He understands what it’s like to have to watch that kind of display over and over. Jenkins voiced that displeasure as a Jet too. I remember when the Jets lost to the Miami Dolphins in a prime time game in 2009 he was crushed. The defense was awful after weeks of patting themselves on the back and trash talking the Dolphins, the Jets got physically beaten up. He more or less said you cant be talking up and down the field and before and after games when you go out and get your butt kicked like that. Of course the rest of the defense kept chirping away, particularly Scott, who ripped the Dolphins offensive scheme after getting destroyed in the game.
Jenkins knows the reaction can’t just be to put your hands in your pockets and say “oh well they tried. I mean they are in the NFL afterall” and its even worse when a player feels nothing from a loss. Unfortunately that is the feeling that comes across from this football team. It began late last season and has carried over into 2012. The Jets may, and in fact should, win some of these last few games, but it should hide the fact that this is a team that doesn’t respond when the chips are down. They pack it in, collect their check, and move on to the next game. That’s the attitude the brought the team from 1988 into the nightmares that followed from 89 thru 96.
Jets Losing Game Statistics, 1970-2012
|Year||PF, avg||PA, avg||Margin, avg||15+ Losses||Percent 15+ Losses|