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December 04, 2005
Things Could Be Worse. You Could Be A Jets Fan
BY: Kevin Rousseau

Have you ever had such a casual attitude while watching a Patriots game?

I know I sure haven’t. Even with the Jets driving in the fourth quarter inside Patriots territory, I never became concerned. Thanks to my nervous nature, I usually worry about 24 point leads with under four minutes to play. “A few two-point conversions and a successful onside kick or two and this could be a game again,” I’ll mutter. If you lived through three pulse-pounding, win-at-the-end Super Bowl victories, you can probably relate.

It’s difficult to type these words but, honestly, don’t you feel just a wee bit sorry for Jets fans. If there were ever a star-crossed franchise this side of the Arizona Cardinals, the Jets would be it. Remember a few years back when on opening day against the Patriots, Vinny Testaverde went down with a torn Achilles tendon? Or how about when John Hall’s game-winning field goal was blocked during the Tuna’s Sunday night return to Foxboro Stadium? Allow me to remind you that a date against the Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship Game was served on a silver platter by the Steelers yet the Jets kicker couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn?

We complain around here about 10-6 seasons like the one we are currently suffering through.

Please...

If you measure the Patriots franchise historically up against the Jets, we have nothing to complain about. You see, perhaps there is a logical explanation as to why the visiting Jets sometimes display unruly behavior when they head up I-95 to take in a game at Foxboro. How ornery would you be if you haven’t sniffed a Vince Lombardi Trophy since Neil Armstrong landed on the moon? And then you are subjected to sitting through this embarrassment of a season? I reckon it would almost be enough to junk your Gang Green jersey and go Big Blue.

If you are a Patriots fan, Sunday’s 16-3 win over the lowly Jets will serve as the penultimate “the glass is half empty/half full” debate.

On the one hand, they kept a lousy Jets team around long enough so that a few fluke plays here or there could have made it way too interesting. Yet, wasn’t it a blast to see the Patriots finally get a decent pass rush going? I’m pretty sure I recently saw a picture of the Pats’ pass rush on the side of a milk carton.

Or how about that silly forward lateral and a personal foul penalty negating a Jet fumble in the second quarter that could have ended the game before the half? That’s not the Patriot way. But yet, I caught you smiling when Corey Dillon started pounding out tough yards on the ground in the second half and Kevin Faulk returned to dazzle us with his usual patented third down high-wire performances.

Suddenly, the Patriots are a respectable 7-5 and have won three out of four as we hit turn four of the 2005 NFL season (Okay, okay. I know they beat the Dolphins, Saints and Jets. But that’s what they were supposed to do, right?) Do I harbor any illusions that this season will end no later than the Divisional playoff round? Nope, I sure don’t. Just watch a Chargers, Chiefs or Jaguars game and if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see the difference.

But what I can start buying into is that this team will indeed acquit itself as defending Super Bowl champs by making an appearance in the playoffs much like this year’s Red Sox squad did.

And if you were looking at life from underneath one of those snazzy Jets firefighter helmets, that might look real good right about now.

Idle Zinger thoughts while listening to the new Quebecois hip-hop channel on Sirius (no kidding, c'est vrai!):

There is no more exciting play in football than an onside kick. Don’t believe me? When’s the last time you went to the john while a team was lining up for one? Case closed.

Life doesn’t look all that bad post-Michael Irvin, ESPN. A sense of senility returned to the set this week.

Admit it. That Peyton Manning ad where he asks the stock boy for an autograph on his cantaloupe and shouts out “D-Caf” to the waitress is an absolute hoot.

It’s hard to believe but true. Heading into Sunday’s game, Pittsburgh’s Antwaan Randle El was the only AFC punt returner to take one to the house.

ESPN’s Andrea Kremer is a tremendous interviewer. Isn’t there a part of you that thinks that her talent is being wasted by covering just the NFL and not larger sports/societal topics?

The recent disaster in Detroit makes one truth crystal clear. If you are going to pick a quarterback in the top-half of the first round of the draft, you better be darn sure that he is your man. If not, there’s a pretty good chance that it will send your team into a tailspin for years to come. Don’t believe me? Go ask the Texans, Bills or Ravens. Look for more teams to take the approach of the Bears and Browns who take quarterbacks later in the draft and aren’t saddled with paying or playing a first-round bust.

You may have missed it but Patriots rookie cornerback Ellis Hobbs made a large donation so that a Boston-based Pop Warner team could make the trip to the League’s tournament this week in Florida.


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