There are many adjectives to describe today's New York Jets, and right now, "nightmare" and "circus" are the most appropriate.
They're a circus because, even after a humiliating 2012 campaign, the media's coverage is unjustifiably vast and incessant, and fan discussion has reached a fever pitch.
They're a nightmare because they've dealt with agonizing incidents, and those incidents have been recurring, as nightmares tend to do.
Tim Tebow was thought to be the root of all the overexposure, and the sole player behind the creation of the atmosphere. But while he was a major component of the continuous media mayhem, he wasn't the only component. Just because he's gone from Gang Green doesn't mean the circus will leave town.
Since Tebow was released on April 29, the following has transpired:
- Second-round pick Geno Smith fired his agents, perpetuating the idea that he may have some diva characteristics. Those sentiments arose after Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole published a somewhat scathing article which cited sources who said Smith spent too much time on his cell phone during pre-draft team visits and questioned his leadership.
- David Garrard, one of five quarterbacks on the roster, decided to retire. Knee injuries were said to be the reason why he called it quits.
- Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers said Mark Sanchez "sucked" on the radio and finished by stating, "I wouldn’t let Mark Sanchez throw me a paper bag sandwich.”
- First-round pick Dee Milliner fired his agents because he wasn't selected in the Top Five (per Ian Rapoport).
- Running back Mike Goodson was arrested on drug and weapons charges, according to a report by Matt Ehalt of ESPN New York.
Before that, Darrelle Revis' drawn-out contract dispute ended and the prolific cornerback was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a first-round pick in the 2013 draft and a conditional selection in 2014, that, at best, can be a third-rounder.
Quite the turbulent timeline, right?
Athletes firing their agents isn't a big deal. It happens all the time. Heck, golfer Rory McIlroy recently fired his agents, who, in all likelihood, were integral in the then-23-year-old signing a $250 million deal with Nike earlier this year.
Old, battered quarterbacks retire.
Sometimes, a team is forced to trade its best player. And really, NFL general managers have made more shortsighted mistakes than trading a cornerback out of the conference who's coming off an ACL tear.
Players take shots at their opponents.
And high-paid professional athletes occasionally surround themselves with bad people and do dumb things and get arrested. Remember, Goodson didn't have a criminal background.
But in New York City, Planet Earth's news capital, when all those developments happen over a short period of time to an embarrassingly bad Jets team fresh off Tebowmania and the ButtFumble, the daily media firestorm has to materialize.
Gang Green's wounds are open. They're an easy target, a favorite target, one that's guaranteed to generate interest, give rise to some humor and almost always attract a click.
People are drawn to a disaster, and that's precisely what the Jets have become, even if some of their misfortunes aren't entirely their fault.
However, Rex Ryan's boisterous and somewhat arrogantly confident personality hasn't helped, and it's part of the reason this circus atmosphere originated.
What could be better than getting a chance to poke fun at the head coach who guaranteed Super Bowls, bragged about his defense, praised his quarterback and promised a special package for Tebow, after all those bold claims and boasts fell flat?
He was the ideal candidate to be the king of New York's football scene—loud, brash, funny, in-your-face—a real quote-machine.
But that was when he was winning and beating Tom Brady in the playoffs.
The same characteristics that made Ryan a household name have placed a huge bullseye squarely on his back, with his team now desperate and dysfunctional.
There are only two ways the Jets' circus ceases: they start winning, or Ryan is fired.
Until then, the nightmare circus will continue.