The Jets are too Afraid of Media Criticism to Improve Their Team
There is no team in the NFL that cares about the media more than Woody Johnson’s New York Jets. Ever since the Rex Ryan era began, the Jets have seemed just as concerned about the back pages as they’ve been about winning. That mentality has not only kept them from building on their initial success under Ryan, it is also preventing them from making a key roster move that may help save their reeling offense.
From bringing HBO into their locker room for Hard Knocks in 2010, to making multiple Super Bowl guarantees, the Jets have continuously craved the media spotlight over the last few seasons. This trend seemingly continued after the Giants won the 2011 Super Bowl, when it appeared that the Jets were making a play for top billing by trading for Christian Rock star and incompetent Quarterback, Tim Tebow. Yet of course, throughout all of this, the Jets maintained that they weren’t trying to grab tabloids at all. The reality show? Simply a great opportunity. The bravado and public predictions? That’s just Rex being Rex, instilling attitude and forging a strong locker room. Signing Tim Tebow despite the fact that that everyone knew it would spark a controversy at quarterback? Oh, that’s not for attention; adding Tim is simply a smart roster move.
Well, now their house of cards has crumbled. Their bold prognostications look like callus oversights, their locker room is uncomfortably fragile and that great “roster addition” of Tebow has rushed 14 times and thrown the ball just twice all season. fInally, the media has caught on. The Jets have quickly gone from being the media babies of the NFL to a laughing stock of the league who have been heavily accused of focusing on headlines over winning. And obviously no one cares more about this negative publicity more than the Jets front office.
This is where the situation gets really sticky. With the loss of Santonio Holmes, the Jets have absolutely no offensive weapons and have been completely inept through the air. It seems pretty obvious that the Jets would be well served by bringing back Plaxico Burress or taking a flyer on Hall of Fame diva Terrell Owens. Both have resumes that embarrass the likes of a Chaz Schilens and both are available for virtually nothing. Yet the Jets won’t sign them, because the Jets are worried about the labels of “Headline Grabber” and “Circus Act.”
Both Owens and Burress are in game shape, and both can be cut at the drop of a dime if they don’t perform. Burress already has chemistry with Sanchez, catching 8 TDs last year. The only realistic hesitation in signing one or both of these guys is public perception. The Jets are afraid that people will take their signing of a celebrity veteran with off the field baggage as another ploy to steal the spotlight. Gang Green has become the boy who cried wolf: they’ve lied about so many attention-seeking decisions, that now their afraid no one will believe them if they actually make a smart football decision.