On Thursday night, I sunk into my couch to repeat a ritual of self loathing I keep coming back to for no good reason: watching the New York Jets play football.
A well-adjusted person might look at a game where the Jets are playing against a third-string quarterback for the winless Broncos and think they have a pretty good shot at eeking out their first victory of the season. As a Jets fan, I know better. With the Jets up 28-27 in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, I know better.
As always, this team blows it in pathetic fashion. First a field goal, then a flubbed comeback drive and a shit-in-the-wound touchdown for good measure. Because a scumbag runs the defense, those final moments were a flurry of dirty hits and pointless penalties. Game over, 0-4 secured.
This year’s Jets, with a bug out who somehow gets credit for Peyton Manning’s years on the Broncos as a head coach and an adult male who got mono as quarterback, is perhaps the purest strain of this team I have ever seen. It is, like the nickname suggests, dead tissue, rotten without exception.
I’m not an idiot, I know how this team works at this point. The Jets will, without fail, always manage to squeak out a few improbable wins against teams that are clearly better than them for the sole purpose of screwing up their draft position. They will then attempt to rise from the ashes of another season and draft a nose guard with no hands just to set themselves up to repeat this process.
It is a spiral swirling ever downward. It’s never changing form but always somehow getting worse. Once every few years somebody gets a disease from the 1800s at OTAs.
To say this team, whose most memorable moments over the last decade are the Buttfumble and a head coach going full toe suck, tears my still-beating heart from my chest on a weekly basis would be stretching the truth. I have no heart anymore. If a high priest plunges his hand into my sternum, all he would clutch is a lump of bacon grease and cold, hard stone.
This team deserves relegation. It deserves to play all its games on Tuesday mornings. I’m happy for Jamal Adams.
Forbes estimates the Jets value at around $3.55 billion. They are wrong. You could buy this franchise for a stick of gum and a possum pelt with a tire mark on it.
We are now a decade removed from the last time the Jets produced anything worth celebrating. Fans of this team entering high school know only pain. I would say the one saving grace this fanbase has is getting to watch a modern-day Rasputin implode the Patriots dynasty. But, I know Bill Belichick will blood magic the battered body of Cam Newton to at least one more conference championship. That man feasts on our hatred, and the bounty is plentiful.
Making me a Jets fan was the biggest mistake my father ever made. But that goes beyond the unimaginable cruelty it takes to impart that allegiance onto a child. Being a Jets or Giants fan in New York is a geographical fuckup. These teams play in New Jersey.
Jersey is like Long Island with less water and more heroin. To endorse any product in the state besides Bruce Springsteen is to put on ankle weights before diving into the void. No amount of laundering will ever wash the Meadowlands muck from these franchises. Their distinctly New Jersey nature shines through in their mediocrity, never again to be outdone by a momentary flash of glory.
The NFL itself tried to ignore this a few years back. It billed Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium as a “New York-New Jersey” area championship. The football gods spurned this hubris on the first play of the game. The Broncos snapped the ball out the back of the their own endzone for a safety. If these teams want the tax break, they should suffer the ignominy.
So where does that leave New York’s football fans? If you follow sports media around the country, or if you subscribe to a cable provider who covers the area, you might think the situation is hopeless. But New York State has a football team of its own — and a storied, glorious one at that.
There is just one way to purge this state of its gridiron agita: every single New Yorker invested in football needs to become a fan of the Buffalo Bills.
Already the dominant power of Upstate New York (defined here as anything west of Nassau County), the Bills are in the midst of an exciting resurgence under the ownership of Kim and Terry Pegula. They have at this point in the season won infinity times as many games as the Jets and Giants put together.
Josh Allen’s game has evolved eons beyond anything I’ve ever seen from a quarterback who plays their home games at MetLife. He can regress like five levels and still be as good as, like, Eli Manning. If the Patriots ever, ever die, it’ll be because this team pried the life right out of their cheating hands.
The on-field product the Bills are peddling is clearly superior to anything the New Jersey teams can muster. It has been for years now. But people don’t dunk on the Bills for their play anymore. They dunk on them for their fans and the region they call home. Coming from Jets fans, those arguments are both idiotic.
But, let’s start with the region. Western New York, and Upstate New York (again, west of Nassau) in general are beautiful. From the rolling hills of the Catskills to the fertile Ithaca Valley, anyone who’s ever spent any sort of time upstate understands why people living in Manchester believed the fabled promised land of the Bible might actually lay in America. The one knock on this argument is that people clearly do not deserve to live up here. Still, Bills Stadium at least looks better than the oblate metallic anus that is MetLife Stadium.
I don’t even want to bother countering the fans argument. Bills Mafia is a proud and verile fanbase that any football-watching human should be grateful to join. They light themselves on fire, they break through tables. That’s some WWE shit. It owns.
Jets fans have none of that. All we had was the one bad firefighter ever, and he quit on us eight years ago.
All that’s left is the four Super Bowl losses. Brother, do you have any idea what I’d do to Terry Pegula to see my team go to four straight Super Bowls in my lifetime? The Bills have been to more playoff games than the Jets. They’ve gotten further more often. And they’ve come out of it with a comparable overall record in the postseason.
The Bills are the team of Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith, of Thurman Thomas and Willis McGahee and Marshawn Lynch and that one really good running back in the ’70s. So, there is nothing to mock here. Pretending otherwise while still supporting the Jets is just toxic. This team hurts you. You are under no obligation to keep allowing yourself to be hurt.
Buffalo is a great American city that deserves none of the shame it carries with it today. After the state finished the Erie Canal, it became the gateway to the country’s heartlands. It was the fourth-largest city in the United States, a shipping hub and the host to a World’s Fair.
But that was all taken from this mighty metropolis, siphoned off by coastal elites who would never deign to set foot so close to a lake. This city was robbed of its prestige. But the Bills still remain, defiant and magnificent, determined to bring it all back. We have been given a golden opportunity to help that revival.
I have seen the promised land, and it lies just off Lake Erie.