How Johnette Howard, New York Jets Writer, Speaks Before She Thinks

Liam CallahanContributor IApril 15, 2010

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10:  Head coach Bill Belichick (C) and defensive backs coach Josh Boyer (R) of the New England Patriots talk with Leigh Bodden #23 against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

ESPN 's Johnette Howard started out her recent article, titled “New England Patriots’ reign is over: Santonio Holmes traded makes it official—the Jets are the new kings of the AFC East”, on ESPN New York with the following sentence: "Good night, New England. It was a nice run while it lasted, right?"

The title enough makes me laugh a couple times. Obviously she forgot that Holmes is going to miss four games this season after being suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

I thought that the football season starts in September and ends in January. Did I pull a Rip Van Winkle and miss an entire season, because I thought the Patriots were the reigning AFC East Champs. When did we start giving away championships in April?

She then proceeded to talk about the numerous accolades that the Patriots have complied during the past decade. "Tom Brady likely got a Hall of Fame plaque and got Gisele Bundchen. Bill Belichick cemented his genius label and perfected the dead-fish handshake. The Patriots got a few championships. But it's over now. Done. Thanks for the memories. What the Giants started with their Super Bowl XLII upset of the Patriots' 18-0 team, another New York club—the Jets—is about to finish."

"I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick's rings, I came here to win, let's put it that way....I'm certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else." This was Rex Ryan's rallying cry last season during the Jets' 9-7 season. Yes, not 12-4, or 13-3. They went 9-7.

Let’s also not forgot that the newly appointed saint of Jets football had about the best luck a coach and team could ever have at the end of the season. Ryan declared, "We're obviously out of the playoffs, and that's unfortunate."  Not for me. Good thing he’s a football coach, because his team wasn’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

After realizing his mistake he stated, "We're actually in a better situation right now than we were last week at this time. That's unbelievable," Ryan told reporters, with spin at its finest. "We've got a chance. We've got a chance to make the playoffs. Hey, we're going for it, no doubt."

He also denied that he ever threw in the towel, telling anyone who would listen, "Throwing in the towel is not who I am." The Jets then proceeded to play two teams, the Bengals and the Colts, who were resting their players for playoff games, and the Jets qualified for the playoffs.

So, Ms. Howard, if luck is what it takes to win the AFC East then I guess you are right. The Jets are the new kings. If you look at their playoff games, there is no reason to think that the Jets are some kind of powerhouse. They beat the Bengals by 10, the Chargers by three, and lost to the Colts by 13. Which means the point differential in the playoffs for the Jets and their power house defense was zero.

She next turns the focus to the players that are going to join “star player Braylon Edwards.” Yes, you heard correctly. Stone-hands Edwards is now a star in the NFL.

"Highly touted” free agent acquisitions Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, and LaDainian Tomlinson are supposedly set to deliver the Lombardi Trophy to the Big Apple early in 2011. Let’s take a closer look at these players.


Santonio Holmes

Yes, he has the Super Bowl MVP trophy sitting in his trophy case at home, but he also is the winner of other items too: arrests. He has totaled four since 2006 and has been suspended by the NFL or violating the substance abuse policy.

I just have one question. Holmes had a career year last year, with a Super Bowl winning Pro Bowl quarterback, and went over 1,000 yards just once. How is he going to be any better with Mark Sanchez?


Antonio Cromartie

No one denies that he has the tools to be an elite corner. It's his head that gets in the way. 2007 was his best year, after totaling 10 interceptions and having a 109-yard return for a touchdown.

However, since then he has totaled five interceptions and called 2009 “his best season ever” after totaling 33 tackles and three interceptions. Did the Jets watch the way he played in the playoffs against them? Obviously not. And they had to advance him $500,000 so he could pay his child support.


LaDainian Tomlinson

I have no ill will against LT. He has been a stand out professional and has been one of the greatest players the league has ever seen. But if he couldn’t win a Super Bowl with San Diego, what makes everyone think he will win one with the Jets?

It looks like the Jets are taking a page out of the Raiders', Redskins', and Cowboys' book: Bring in old players or ones with character issues. I can’t seem to remember how many titles they all have in recent years. It has to be a lot, since the Jets, having followed their plan, are now Super Bowl contenders, too.

She asks the question, “Has Ryan really been here only one season?” Howard then proceeds to give him credit for everything from building a new stadium, finding “a franchise quarterback", and having a “swaggering, smashmouth, extravagantly talented team.” 

The stadium was proposed in 2007, well before Ryan’s stomach made an appearance in NYC. I wouldn’t quite classify San-chize as the franchise quarterback yet. His 2,444 yards, 53.8 completion precentage, 12 TD, 20 INT, and a QB rating of 63.0 don’t exactly qualify for franchise status. I guess swaggering and smashmouth means having multiple players suspended for violating the leagues substance policy.

The final stab she takes at the Patriots is in reference to the extra picks that they have in next week’s draft. She states that there have been “A lot of reminders that Belichick has some extra second-round picks to play with in the draffffffffffft. Sorry. Fell asleep with my finger stuck on the "F" key. Belichick will need those extra picks. Loathe as he or any of the Patriots is to say this, New England is rebuilding now.”

How did the Jets get Sanchez, Revis, Keller, Harris, Mangold, Greene, Smith, or Washington? How about the draffffffffffffffffffft? Sorry, my finger also got stuck on the “F” key.

She then details how the Jets are going to feature a top three or four offense in the league, "if second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez doesn't muck it up.” Way to have confidence in your “franchise” quarterback.

In closing, I would like to say, let's wait and see if the Jets finally reach the top of the AFC East. Consider that they last won in 2002, and have four total divison titles since 1960, and haven’t won any in the same decade in ‘68-’69. The Patriots won five in a row from ’03-’07. And by the way the Bills—yes, the Bills—have won 11 division titles.