America’s team no longer resides in Irving, Texas. It’s that simple, a team that has only won a single playoff game since 1996 doesn’t deserve that title, and quite frankly they aren’t good enough to bear the nickname of “America’s team” anymore. When the most interesting headline to come out of Dallas this off season is that their star player and the future of the franchise is arrested for allegedly beating his own mother, it’s almost embarrassing to have the Cowboys represent us as a nation.
So it’s time to pass the torch, but to who? How about the cultural and media capital of the world, and the biggest city in America? That seems fitting, and even more fitting is the the fact that this city is home to a serious Super Bowl contender.
Cue the New York Jets, who this off season have had more headlines than the Kardashians. It all started last year when Gang Green looked like a playoff team until the season came to an abrupt halt by losing their last 3 games. In week fifteen the Jets got blown out by the Eagles, and followed up that dismal performance with another lackluster effort against the crosstown-rival Giants in week sixteen. However, it still appeared that the Jets would ultimately make the playoffs, all they had to do was win a week seventeen match-up against an abysmal Dolphins squad. This is the game that set the stage for what turned out to be an off season full of Hollywood-esque story lines. Late in a close game against the Dolphins, the Jets star diva receiver Santonio Holmes decided that he would do his best Terrell Owens imitation, and get into a verbal argument with teammate Wayne Hunter. Santonio was voicing his displeasure about not getting targeted enough by quarterback Mark Sanchez. You may ask yourself why Santonio was arguing with a linemen rather than going to his quarterback directly, and the answer to that is just flat out funny; Santonio was giving Mark Sanchez, the franchise quarterback, the silent treatment. Yeah, you know the silent treatment, the same silent treatment you would give your second grade crush for holding hands with someone else. Santonio was of course benched for the rest of the game, and the Jets ended up losing that week seventeen match-up 19-17.
Fast forward a few months and the New York Jets are now not only the most interesting team in sports, but they have a legitimate shot to win a super bowl this year. Santonio eventually ended the silent treatment with teammate and co-captain Mark Sanchez, and he is now the number one receiver this season.
The New York Football Giants are the reigning Super Bowl champions, but you have to flip to the last page of The New York Times to see anything about them. The Jets however, are on the front page consistently. This isn’t for one reason in particular, it’s a combination of the fact that they have the most outspoken Head Coach in the NFL, Rex Ryan, who guarantees a Super Bowl before every season (so far 0-4), a pretty boy quarterback who is unfairly criticized under a microscope, the before-mentioned diva receiver Santonio Holmes, and oh yeah they signed the most captivating athlete in the last decade; Tim Tebow.
Tim Tebow is a heartthrob to women, and a role model for men. On the field he is the greatest college quarterback that there has ever been, but most people thought his game wouldn’t translate to the NFL. They were wrong. For somebody that is often told he “can’t throw”, he sure finds a way to when it matters. Tim led a Denver Bronco team that was quickly fading into oblivion behind quarterback Kyle Orton with a 1-4 record, into the playoffs after he went 7-4 with a mediocre squad behind him. In the wildcard round the Broncos played the Pittsburgh Steelers who had the number 1 defense in the league. Tim played the quarterback position the way that he’s capable of and made the Steelers look like a college team by hitting multiple long balls. The Steelers put up a good fight, but Tim Tebow came up with a strike to Demaryius Thomas on first down in overtime that went for a touchdown. Rex Ryan was watching that pass, and watching that game. He saw a winner in Tebow. He saw a guy that may not play the quarterback position the way John Elway did, but nonetheless he saw a potentially great quarterback. Tim Tebow trains harder than anyone, and gives it his all day in and day out. So in Rex Ryan’s eyes, why not go after Tim? At the least you’re getting a proven winner, and a leader of men. On top of that, the upside is tremendous on Tebow’s game. If he develops his game more and more each day then you’re going to have a guy with outstanding quarterback skills on top of all the intangibles Tebow brings to the table.
The Jets had a terrible preseason, scoring only one offensive touchdown. It was announced that Tim Tebow would be utilized in the red zone, but that doesn’t help if they can’t get into the red zone. While the offense was struggling, the defense was doing anything but that. Rex Ryan continues to prove that he is the best defensive mind in football, but he is criticized as a head coach for not having control of the locker room. This past week I believe he proved to the critics that he has total control of the locker room. He called a team meeting after a less than desired preseason, even though he seemed confident that his team would be able to flip a switch when it was the regular season. He delivered a strong message: Let’s go out and show ’em that we’re not a bunch of clowns. Some of the media may have been looking at the Jets as a circus but Rex told his team that their opponents will take them seriously, and he drove that message home. In the opener he backed up all of his talk, absolutely throttling the Buffalo Bills 48-28. Mark Sanchez went 19/27 throwing for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns, and the Jets defense as expected played like the best defense in the NFL.
The New York Jets have a roster that looks more like a Real World cast than an NFL team, but that’s not what makes them Americas new team. The fact that they can flat out ball is the reason we watch their every move, and like it or not we can’t get enough of the Jets.