New York Jets: How the Misfits at the Meadowlands Zoo Disrespect the NFL

Justin MorseContributor ISeptember 24, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets yells from the sideline during their home opener against the Baltimore Ravens at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 13, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

I am a Jets fan and what is going on off the football field this year is a disgrace. I feel like I am watching a bad sit-com created by NBC. Do you remember that the Jets, without a 1,000 yard receiver, made it to the AFC championship game last year? This same team was lead by a strong running game and a rookie quarterback that threw 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. I have a question to ask, what’s with the fire sale of respectable players?

When you get rid of your unquestioned leaders, you will get chaos because players will run wild without a care in the world. You need proven leaders to get players in line when others act up.

In the off-season they made some bad decisions: They let go of their respected running back, Thomas Jones, and signed San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson who was let go because he wasn’t the focal point of the offense, got wide receiver Santonio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers and they released a proven and respected All-Pro guard in Alan Faneca and replaced him with rookie Vladimir Ducasse.

There is an old saying, "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." The Jets took a 180 degree turn from that and started adding players everywhere, because they were, well, available. Holmes was available because he was going to be suspended for the first four games of the regular season having violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy for marijuana and Antonio Cromartie was let go by San Diego for the apparent lack of effort late last season.

I see a problem here. I understand that some of these moves made the team younger and more talented, but when you have let go of leaders in the locker room and get players with spotty pasts, you have to wonder was it worth it? Was it worth selling your souls to win a ring? I’d rather have a team that I can respect, knowing that they are performing with all their heart and not get someone whose effort was questioned or suspended because of their marijuana usage.

Over the last few weeks, all you have heard about the Jets are how they have been acting like a bunch of drunken sailors: Cursing, getting in trouble with management, making catcalls to reporter Ines Sainz, having a player drive drunk and get pulled over and blow a .16 on a breathalyzer, which is double the legal limit. This is a zoo, with a careless leader, Rex Ryan, being the gate keeper. It all comes down to one idea: When you don’t have proven leaders, there will be chaos.

It all comes down to how the leaders of the team act and how the coach handles the team. He told his team, according to ESPN, on Wednesday that, "I’m tired of the embarrassment to our owner and this organization. Let’s just end it. Let’s just stop. However severe or minor, we don’t need to be that team." However, he is shown in a negative light throughout the hit TV show, "Hard Knocks" for his excessive profanity and cocky attitude. Again, I see a problem with this. You can’t have a coach giving off the feeling: Do as I say, not what I do.

Ryan keeps saying that he wants his players to stop being fools, but he is acting like a fool without control. Players follow the coaches lead, and even though I like that he has some swagger, I hate that he is telling his players one thing, and not following through. He tells his players to clean up their act, and he doesn’t. That is a huge mistake. He has to lead by example and is doing a poor job.

There are also problems with some of the star players on this team like Darrelle Revis and Braylon Edwards. Edwards thinks it’s a brilliant idea to drive home after a night of partying and drinking. He gets pulled over and arrested for DWI. The idea was so great that he didn’t think he needed to use the car service that is provided to players who are in situations like that. His reason, according to ESPN, was that he "uses his own car service."

There is one disturbing twist on this story. A few years ago, he was with Donté Stallworth one night, partying and drinking. It was the same night that Stallworth ran over a person crossing a street and killed him. Stallworth was suspended for a year by the NFL and is never able to drive again. I would have thought that Edwards would have learned from his friend’s mistake: Don’t drink and drive. I guess he never learned.

Revis was in a contract dispute with the Jets because he wanted to be the highest paid cornerback in the NFL, seeking more than $15 million a year. So he held out of training camp and was threatening to boycott the season if he didn’t get a contract that he liked. Luckily for the Jets he finally did return, after agreeing to a four year contract with $32 million guaranteed. During the time of the holdout he felt that the Jets were not helping him because they weren’t paying him the money he felt that he deserved. I find it hard to believe that Revis was having a hard time paying bills while at the same time making $1 million a year. It reminds me of when Latrell Sprewell said that making $7 million dollars a year was not enough to "Feed his family." I have trouble believing that.

Revis is a cornerstone of that defense and should have been at training camp being a leading by example. He should have acted like a leader, like Jets center Nick Mangold did. Mangold came to training camp even though he didn’t like his contract, played through it, and he was rewarded for showing up by receiving a seven year, $55 million contract. I respect those players who are going through contract disputes, but play through it and show management why they are worth the extra money.

What ever happened to the Jets players from the late 1990’s that I respected? A team filled with role players that I could look up to: Wayne Chrebet, Vinny Testaverde and Curtis Martin. Those were the Jets who worked the hardest and were respected on and off the field, even though they never won a ring. As a Jets’ fan, I love the talent on this team and I feel that this team can win the Super Bowl. At the same time, I am saddened by the ‘off the field’ news that I keep hearing about every day. It is sad that even though I will be rooting for this team, I will always wonder how they would have been respected both on and off the field if they had kept respected veterans like Faneca and Jones. Instead, the 2010 Jets look like a zoo filled with misfits.

I welcome you all to The Meadowlands Zoo, I hope you enjoy the chaos. I won’t enjoy it one bit


This article was publish in The Tower, CUA's Student Run Newspaper on 9/24/10