Bandwagon fans please exit to your left....

When I first named this blog “Life of a TRUE NY Jets Fan” , I started to get some slack for it. I had people question what the definition of a TRUE fan really is, as well as people questioning whether I myself was one. Since last evening I’ve spent time reading and listening to the reactions and comments of self-proclaimed “die-hard” fans. I think I am embarrassed more by the reaction of these fans than how the Jets actually performed last night.

Last night’s game against Buffalo was one of the worse I can remember in recent history. Something was different about the team from the very start. There was less swagger, less energy, and less confidence from what we had seen in the previous weeks. Not only did the team lack these things, the fans did too. How can we expect excitement from players when they walk out of a tunnel to a crowd that is less than 35% full? What a way to welcome Braylon Edwards to New York and welcome back Calvin Pace. I’ve seen better attendance for kick-off at preseason games across the league! Yes, the lines are long to get in the gates, but there’s a remedy for that: walk in earlier. I find it sad that Fireman Ed could not get a decent Jets chant going at kick-off, and this is before things went bad! The problem is that fans don’t believe that their presence is important. As long as that is the case, the atmosphere for home games will never change. A “green out” will never happen if all you’re surrounded by are red empty seats. Don’t blame the weather, it’s actually much colder and windier in the parking lots tailgating so here’s an idea – come inside and root for your team. It would also help if once you get inside, that you actually stay there.  Our team is tied in the 4th quarter, going into overtime and the stadium clears out to half-full. What a way to support our team!

The fans around me including myself were angry yesterday, those 3 dreaded words “Same Old Jets” were swirling around the stadium for the first time this season. The pessimist in me was fighting its way to the surface, and that glimmer of hope that so many of us had was fading fast. Many of us almost expected an outcome like this to be had at some point. September was too good to be true. While at the game last night, in between penalties and dropped passes I found myself laughing at the fact that it was “Fan Appreciation Night”. How ironic! I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have my Hess coffee tumbler rather than a division win to feel appreciated!

Despite this turn of events, it doesn’t excuse the comments being made in the aftermath. There are many more bandwagon Jets fans than I realized out there. They are the ones who 2 weeks ago were calling for Sanchez to be in honored in Canton and now are wanting him benched. To see a website started such as “www.firerexryan.com” is embarrassing. How can you call yourself a “true fan” and actually believe that if Kellen Clemens was our QB that the Jets would be 5-1? They were comparing Dustin Keller to Dallas Clark one week, demanding he gets more looks, yet today are begging for him to be traded by Tuesday? The same fans that are saying that Lowery should have started over Shepphard yesterday are the ones who were crying that he had to start 3 weeks ago when Lito was injured! They cried for weeks that Cotchery couldn’t get the job done, and yet today are blaming the loss on the fact that he is injured and couldn’t play!

How does a True fan react to yesterday? Not by jumping on and off the bandwagon with comments like above. The true fan is in it for the long haul. These fans are usually more pessimistic, and slowly become realists before making any rash assumptions and predictions before it is warranted. They dip their toes in optimism, without jumping in head first. Fans like myself were not calling Sanchez the second coming of Christ, and planning our February Miami trips to the Superbowl. We were quietly watching, analyzing, getting excited for this season, loving what we were seeing, but keeping our excitement in check the whole time. You could say that we delicately sipped the Green Kool-Aid as opposed to chugging it down. Yes, the true fan is angry today, feeling betrayed, hopeless and cursing the organization that constantly causes heartache. They are questioning whether this abusive relationship is worth the heartache, but knowing that their support will never falter. These fans are the ones who had that feeling yet again in the pit of their stomachs that things were too good to be true, and were hoping it wouldn’t come to fruition. Despite the anger though, these fans will show up to the next game. This week they will slowly start looking at whatever positives they can to keep that little glimmer of hope alive.

Last evening’s turn of events was a microcosm of the Jets franchise. While too much optimism right now isn’t appropriate either, how could a team want to perform for fans with all the “bandwagon” extreme comments floating around today. If you’ve always been a Jets fan, then you know as well as I do that you’re hooked for life. Through the wins and the losses, you take the good with the bad and will move on. We’ve set some high expectations for the team this year and have puffed our chests, and thrash talked as much as the team has. It’s our turn to do what we can as fans to back it up as well. The Jets let us down yesterday, there’s no arguing that. Let’s try to do what we can to turn it around and see where it takes us in the end.


What can Ex-Brown do for you?

For all the fans out there begging and praying for a wide receiver….congratulations. Consider Braylon Edwards an early Christmas gift. I've been on the fence as to whether or not the Jets current receiving corps could get the job done, as the season progressed though, the potential benefits of a legit down field threat started to emerge.

The offensive line received a ton of criticism for not protecting Sanchez last Sunday. Defenses have been crowding the line of scrimmage, stacking 8 men in the box as seen in the Saints game. The addition of a WR like Braylon Edwards will hopefully keep that 8th man out and open up some room for our running backs. Rex’s “Ground & Pound” theory hasn't been effective thus far, hopefully this will change.

Braylon Edwards is fast and physical, a down-field threat that defenses will have to respect.

Jerricho Cotchery can benefit from this addition in many ways. With having to defend both Cotchery and Edwards, J.Co will be faced with easier match-ups and more room to make plays.

Dustin Keller will also benefit greatly. DK is often described as a “bulked-up WR” whose dangerous vertical speed and big-play ability makes him a weapon on offense, yet hasn't been used much in the past 2 weeks. Now with Braylon Edwards, we should see Keller lining up in the slot position creating a mismatch against safeties and LB’s more effectively.

As with anything else…..there’s always some bad to come with the good. Braylon Edwards is known for his “off-field incidents” as much as his on-field accomplishments. It seems as if Mike Tannenbaum and Woody Johnson aren't too concerned with last week’s altercation in which Edwards allegedly punched promoter Edward Givens, a friend of NBA star LeBron James. While he hasn't been charged with a crime, the league’s conduct policy states that discipline may be imposed for “the use or threat of violence." It appears that any potential suspension for this might not take place during the 2009 season.

Let’s just hope that the environment that Rex has created in the Jets locker room helps keep Braylon on the right track. The Jets roster has been diva-free…..( well unless you count Brett’s almost-diva ways!) …..let’s try to keep it like that! Like I said earlier on Twitter…I'm not too worried......I have a feeling Bart Scott will kick Braylon's a** if he gets outta line....”

Welcome to the team Braylon – make sure not to drop too many passes out there…..you don’t want to feel the wrath of angry Jets fans…..just ask Justin McCareins!