Throughout the offseason, there has been an enormous amount of Jets hating. It seems that no matter where I go, I see it plastered over every message board.
The Jets bashing ranges from bitter and jealous (Jets got lucky, Mark Sanchez sucks, the Defense is overrated, etc.) to the pathetic and non-football related (Rex Ryan is fat, Rex Ryan is a loudmouth, etc.)
But don't worry, Jets fans. All that means is that we are good—really good.
No one cares about you if you aren't relevant. And all Rex Ryan's talk would fall on deaf ears if they weren't contenders.
The NFL has long been a league where those on top are often despised by those below. This goes for players, coaches, owners, and fans alike.
And why shouldn't the rest of the league hate us? Our coach Rex Ryan is boisterous and self-assured. He has a defense that mirrors his attitude with both its play and its words. The defense is akin to barely controlled chaos with exotic and heavy blitz packages, and the world's most elite corner shutting down the world's most elite receivers. It stuffs the run with monsters plugging up the middle and it smiles as it smacks you in the mouth.
The offense plays the way the defense does. The NFL's best offensive line mauls defensive lineman, and a young, bruising running back punishes defenders foolish enough to square up their pads against him. Sanchez' well-documented regular season struggles gave way to cheers of joy as he showed not just poise, but playmaking ability en route to the AFC Championship game.
Now the Jets take their show to premium television as they will appear on HBO's Hard Knocks , where they will surely talk the talk in epic fashion in preparation for the 2010 season.
Lets face it: The Jets are a cocky bunch. Rex Ryan has made sure of that. And win, lose, or draw, they will stay cocky.
And that, my friends, is why the rest of the league hates us.
Patriot fans hate us because they fear the inevitable passing of the torch.
But the rest of the league loathes us because we play football the old way. Smash-mouth, mean, and as likely to separate your head from your body as the ball from your grasp. And the Jets jaw at you through the whole ordeal.
Now the Jets have traded for a corner to pair with Revis who has the potential to be elite. And they have the coach that can bring out the best in him. The Jets rid themselves of malcontent Kerry Rhodes and brought in the polarizing but fading talents of LaDainian Tomlinson.
The Jets were handicapped terribly this year by the final eight rule which kept them from making any splashes in free agency, and yet, Tannenbaum found a way to keep the Jets in the offseason headlines despite it.
The league just cannot get rid of the Jets. And they aren't going away anytime soon.
With the NFL draft just weeks away, Jets fans are poised on the edge of their seats to see what new infusion of young talent the draft will bring us. Will a player fall to 29 that the Jets prize, or will Magic Mike make another big splash and move up in the draft?
There has not been much to cheer about over the past 10 years for Jets nation. But the winds of change seem to have shifted. Gang Green seems to finally be freeing itself from the doldrums of mediocrity and entering the rarefied air of the NFL's elite.
Just don't tell them that.
You might end up with a one-way ticket to Revis Island...