Monday, January 25, 2010

Jets prove it's not how you get there, but what you do when you're there that counts

After a Week 15 loss to Atlanta, the Jets were done. Cooked. Hopeless.

Not so fast. With the Colts and Bengals laying down the Jets essentially won two pre-season games (or one and a half) to sneak into the playoffs at 9-7. I've had people tell me they didn't deserve to be there, but I completely disagree.

It was fine to say that to me before the win at Cincinnati. Or the win at San Diego. It was true. But by winning those two games and earning a berth in the AFC Championship game, the Jets proved they deserved to be in the playoffs, particularly over teams that couldn't come through with control of their own destiny (I'm talking about you, Denver). Their top-ranked defense was overmatched against the league's MVP, but they aren't the first good pass defense Peyton Manning has shredded.

I'm really sick of hearing people, particularly Giants fans (who are bitter their own overrated losers choked the season away), tell me that the Jets' accomplishments in the last few weeks don't matter because they didn't deserve to be there in the first place. The Bengals and Chargers were more "deserving" than the Jets, right?

Based on regular-season performance, yes, but Super Bowls are not won in the regular season. The Colts proved when they benched their starters in the final two weeks (and are now playing in the Sper Bowl). You also can't win the Super Bowl without winning a playoff game, something neither Cincinnati nor San Diego was able to do against the Jets. If the Jets proved themselves to be better than two of the top six teams in the AFC, how can you still say they didn't deserve to be there?

Despite losing to the Colts the Jets proved they belonged, especially by building a 17-6 lead in the second quarter. As a young football team with a rookie head coach, a rookie quarterback and just eight starters over the age of 30, they will most likely be back in the playoffs next season. I compared them to the Ravens at the start of the year (great defense, deep backfield, rookie quarterback) and that comparison was spot-on, as the Jets lost in the AFC Championship game much like the Ravens last season. And didn't Baltimore win a game in this year's playoffs, too?

So for the next person who comes to me saying the Jets were lucky to make the playoffs and didn't deserve to play for a Super Bowl berth, I'm just going to point them to this piece. This is how I feel, and I think many neutral observers (read: non-New York football fans) would agree.

Think what you want but the J-E-T-S will be back, granted they bolster a pathetic four-man rush and find another corner to play opposite Darrelle Revis, two weaknesses that were exposed by Peyton Manning, who wasn't fazed by Rex Ryan's all-out blitz packages. If 2009's second season is a preview of what's in store next season, I'm excited! Maybe they'll win 10 games and actually "deserve" their playoff berth this time around.

No comments:

Post a Comment