Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Updated: January 26, 11:33 AM ET
A rough two weeks are ahead, Jets fans
By Jane McManus
Dear Jets fans:
As if seeing your own NFL season crash and burn in a dysfunctional heap on New Year's Day wasn't hard enough, you have not seen the end of your misfortune this season.
It's going to be a rough two weeks.
You have the choice of forgoing the national holiday known as Super Bowl Sunday, or being forced to watch two of the most detested opponents from recent years -- the New England Patriots and New York Giants -- on the biggest stage the NFL has to offer. There's your choice: Misanthropy or misery.
Even if you choose to weep in the closet during the game, you know your arch rivals are going to be a big part of the Super conversation leading up to the moment the hot wings and light beer are served Sunday afternoon.
Justin Tuck kick-started the fun by explaining that the Giants are only where they are now because of the Jets. If it weren't for all the smack talk that Rex Ryan and his players weren't able to back up, the Giants might never have dug deep enough to tap that reservoir of football greatness. And although there is no taunting penalty for postseason press conferences, you can be forgiven if you imagine Tuck followed that up by looking right at you and issued an evil laugh.
So for the record, Ryan's boisterous guarantees of wins and proclamations of superiority inspired one team, just not his own.
So you can't root for the Giants. Although I've heard from a few Jets fans who say they will. How can this be?
Consider the alternative.
On the other side of the field you have the Patriots, rising like a band of mutinous villains armed with antique muskets. They are coached by Bill "Sweatsuit" Belichick and led by a quarterback who has two things in life that Jets fans envy -- Super Bowl rings won in recent memory and a wife that raises ambient temperatures in whatever city she is in by an average of 10 degrees. (Sidebar: Please, come to Indianapolis, Gisele.)
Ryan started the season by saying that this year would be different for the Jets. He correctly predicted they would not get a wild card, but incorrectly predicted that it would be because the team won the AFC East outright. That of course meant taking out the evil Patriots and their quaintly intimidating cannons.
Instead, the Patriots won both regular-season meetings, and without rubbing it in too much, they won the first when the Jets vaunted defense allowed Tom Terrific to march the Patriots down the field in the last minute of the game.
Brady and his menacing grin will be all over television sets for the ensuing two weeks. And when he isn't, Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his soft answers will fill the airtime. There will be debates on talk radio about who the best quarterbacks in the NFL are, and it is extremely unlikely that Mark Sanchez will be in that conversation.
(Remember though, no one much liked the younger Manning in New York at first, and look how that turned out.)
In fact, when analysts talk about the Jets these days it's in those low tones you might use to offer someone condolences on their loss. As if too much discussion of the chemistry issues between Sanchez and his high-paid wide receiver Santonio Holmes -- well, that's just being mean.
No, this is time for the Giants and the Patriots. The Patriots and the Giants. The Patr-iants and Gi-ots.
As I said, it's going to be a rough two weeks.
So I ask Jets fans who are just starting to feel queasy, have you allotted all your vacation days yet this season? Have you ever considered going on a safari? It's really something everyone should do once. Now is a really good time.
Bonus: You would miss Madonna's performance at halftime, so that's win-win.
If you insist on staying stateside, there are excellent books on overcoming rage through breathing and meditation. You might also want to establish which of your friends won't judge too harshly if you just need to be held while you cry for a while.
If as Jets fans you feel that, in spite of all the above, you are emotionally stable enough to make it through this without permanent psychological damage, I applaud you.
But remember: One of those teams will win the Super Bowl.
Your friend Jane