It's unclear whether or not the New York Jets actually contacted Michael Crabtree or his agent Eugene Parker. The NFL is currently dealing with the issue, and I will trust their leadership in the handling of the affair.
But without any further evidence required, or any judgement withstanding, I can say with complete confidence that the New York Jets are guilty of tampering with my emotions.
Part of me wants to congratulate them. And envy them. And hold them up as an example of how to manage a franchise.
In recent years, they seem to have done everything right. They made all the decisions that I would have made if I were their GM.
Many people were surprised when they fired Eric Mangini, I wasn't. Even though he turned that team around and won five more games in 2008 than he had in the year prior, he was a late season bust. Those coaches never win. They did what they had to do, and will be rewarded with a 12-win season this time around. Rex Ryan is a phenomenal coach. He revitalized Baltimore's defense, and I can't wait to see how he optimizes New York's AFC squad.
Moving up to take Sanchez was brilliant. He will be a unanimous Offensive Rookie of the Year. Heck, Sanchez was brilliant for leaving USC when he did, despite a bunch of mushy advice from his family and coach. Two brilliant parties team up to kick ass. What more could anybody ask for?
The way they've built a three-headed RB Corps is an awesome experiment that looks to be working out great. They buffed up their defense in the off-season, and...ok, you get it.
The Jets are frickin awesome.
I want to love this team. But then they have to go and do so many stupid things, that I really want to strangle them sometimes.
Did Mark Sanchez really have to do that photo shoot? If there's one thing I hate, it's when people celebrate before achieving victory. Sanchez has a long way to go before he can be posing with super models. Brady can do that with Gisele because he has three rings. Sanchez just looked like a huge sleaze, made a ton of guys jealous, and embraced his 'Broadway Mark' persona before taking a snap. Come on. Gimme a break.
And Rex Ryan acts like such a punk that I can scarcely believe he is an NFL coach sometimes.
When asked to comment on the Michael Crabtree situation, he said, "I wish we were playing them [the 49ers]."
What an obnoxious thing to say.
For the sake of argument, what if his team really did roll into San Francisco and utterly destroy the 49ers corps of young linebackers, or shut down the ever-classy and hard-working Frank Gore?
If these two teams met, I have no doubts that the Jets would be the favorite on the field.
But would that victory make him feel like a big man? Would that settle the score with the guys upstairs in the suits who handle the front-office politics?
Comments like that don't make Rex Ryan seem tough and determined. They make him sound like Michael Jordan at the Hall of Fame ceremony, only without the six rings to back up his smack-talk.
And as for some of the other accusations? On the surface, none of them are crimes. The league found them innocent in the Brandon Marshall dealings. The Favre injury scandal happened under Mangini, so we'll let bygones be bygones. And the Crabtree case is TBD, so we won't yet pass judgement...
...but where there's smoke, there's fire. And enough accusations eventually raise eyebrows. That's just how things work in the NFL, as in real life.
In short, the Jets are about to step onto the national stage for the first time in decades. This is the team. Sanchez is going to taste a Super Bowl one day, he may even win a few.
Now how are they going to behave themselves?
Somewhere along the line, the New England Patriots went from being the ultimate Cinderella story—perennial losers, QB out of nowhere, etc.—to being a universally reviled franchise. No NFL dynasty has ever been so disdained.
So if they are to dominate the AFC going forward, what sort of organization do they want to be?
A loud-mouthed bunch of playboys and bullies? Or a model franchise?
I want to love this team, but they make it so damn hard.