For Jets Fans, It Is What It Is

Ever since the Jets released running back Le’Veon Bell on Tuesday night, social media has been filled with angry comments from Jets fans like…

“I’m never watching this team again!”

“I won’t support this team until the Johnsons sell!”

“You’ll never see me buy a ticket to this garbage until Adam Gase is fired!

“This team doesn’t deserve me or any other fan!”

“That’s it…I’m done with this team!”

Yeah right.

If you’re a Jets fan, you’re a Jets fan…at least that’s how I look at it.  I’ve been a Jets fan since 1977 when I was ten years old, so that’s basically 43 years of pain other than a handful of good seasons.  I cried when the Jets lost the AFC Championship Game against the Dolphins in January of 1983 and that was the only time that I ever cried sad tears as a result of a professional sporting event.  Over time, my emotions about the Jets ranged from anger to disappointment but there were also a few times here and there that they actually put a smile on my face.

As the years have gone by and I’ve continued to torture myself watching the games, covering the team for multiple outlets, and now going to a couple of games a year (although not this year) with my family, I’ve just come to the following realization…

It is what it is.

It really is.  What am I supposed to do?  Just say the hell with it and not watch them anymore?  The only time that I won’t watch a Jets game on television or certainly not go to a game is when my kids are playing at the same time.  I might miss a quarter or a half here and there, but our family is generally watching the game…when we can and regardless of the result, we generally have a good time doing it.

So, what can you do to satisfy your anger?  Take it out on ownership because as I’ve written about a few times, it all starts at the top with the success or failure of a professional sports franchise.  An owner can never guarantee a championship but what you can guarantee is that you will strive to hire the right people and put the best product on the field that gives the fans hope.  Until Christopher Johnson, and Woody too when he returns from England, realize that what they’re doing and how they have the organization structured is not working, then the Jets won’t win.

You want proof that good ownership can change the fortunes of a franchise?  I present the New York Islanders to you as a perfect example of that, so maybe, just maybe one day either the Johnsons will get it or they’ll sell the team to someone who will.  In the meantime, don’t stop being a Jets fan but there are ways you can hit the Johnsons where it hurts and that’s in their bank account.

I had Jets season tickets from 1991 to 2001 so I understand the special feeling it is of being a season ticket holder.  But I just don’t get how people are spending thousands of dollars a year on season tickets.  So, here’s what those people should do.  Don’t renew your season tickets and redirect those funds into improving your home viewing of games on television and use websites like StubHub to get tickets for pennies on the dollar to a couple of games a year.  You still get the experience of going to some games but you didn’t give the team all that money in advance to draw interest in the bank.

When it comes to merchandise, you have a decision to make.  If you don’t want to buy stuff directly from the Jets, go to your local sporting goods store and buy it there and sometimes you can even get things like jerseys, hats, and sweatshirts on sale if you buy them at the right time.  Let’s be honest, the way the Jets have played the last couple of years, stores are eager to put that stuff on the clearance rack and get rid of it.

Don’t tell me you’re not going to watch the games anymore.  If you’re a Jets fan and you are home on a Sunday afternoon, you’re going to watch the game unless there’s an unusual circumstance.  Order a pizza and/or wings and sit back and relax in the comfort of your own home and watch some football.  You know you’re going to, so stop bitching and moaning about it on social media!

I know I’m now breaking any news with this statement at this point of the story but it’s not easy being a Jets fan.  I know it.  My wife Sheryl knows it.  And my kids know it.

When my older son Bradley was born in 2005, I had a straight from heart conversation with him within an hour after he entered the world.  To be honest, I did most of the talking in-between the crying but what I said to him was something to the effect of “while Mommy and Daddy love you very much, I must tell you that since we have had to suffer, so do you so I need to tell you that you’re a Jets fan.”

The crying intensified.  True story!  Bradley knew what he was getting into and he was only an hour old.  I had the same conversation in 2010 when Jared was born so we are a Jets family of four and with that has come a lot of losses and frustration but also some good memories because it’s really quality family time when we can sit in front of the television or go to a game here and there and cheer on (insert your own joke here) our team.

We actually had a good laugh when Sheryl and I took the boys to the Monday night game last season against the Patriots.  We generally go to one game a season and we had already gone to the home opener against Buffalo (yeah that was a disaster) but we went to that game against New England because we wanted to be there to see the Kevin Mawae Hall of Fame ceremony at halftime and our ticket package for the night included being on the field for the ceremony.

As the night when on and the Patriots kept rolling up the score, we just all looked at each other said with a smile “why do we do this to ourselves?”

Because we’re Jets fans and while it’s in our blood to keep believing, cheering and chanting J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!!!, we still live by this phrase…

It is what its is.

About the Author

Peter Schwartz

Peter Schwartz is a contributor covering the Islanders for NY Sports Day while also writing about general sports in the New York/New Jersey area. In addition to his column, Peter also hosts his “Schwartz On Sports” podcast as he interviews players, coaches, and other sports personalities. He is also currently a sports anchor for WFAN Radio, CBS Sports Radio, and WCBS 880 radio while also serving as the public address announcer for the New York Cosmos soccer club.

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