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New York Jets fans troll Giants with Sam Darnold-inspired shirts in Nashville

The New York Jets shared a photo of Nashville-assembled fans mocking the Giants for passing on Sam Darnold a year ago. 

It’s not often that you’ll see pleasantries extended from one crosstown rival to another. The New York Jets broke that trend on Twitter in the hours leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft.

As they prepare to make their 2019 selections in this season’s Nashville-based proceedings, the Jets took time to extend a special thanks to the New York Giants.

The belated thanks come through a photo posted on the Jets’ official Twitter account. It depicts a trio of Jets gathered in Nashville, each of whom are clad in t-shirts that read “Thank You Giants”. The words sandwich a cartoon of Darnold brandishing sunglasses and an American flag. One of the fans also carries Darnold’s jersey.

The backhanded good manners invoked last season’s decision by the Giants to pass over quarterback Sam Darnold with the second overall pick. Instead, the Giants chose running back Saquon Barkley, allowing the Jets to choose the USC thrower. Barkley had a strong rookie season, as the Penn State product finished second in the league in rushing yards en route to both Pro Bowl and Rookie of the Year honors. Darnold struggled in his one rookie campaign, but Jets fans are hopeful to see what he can do with a new head coach and supporting cast.

The pick was nonetheless criticized for refusing to upgrade at quarterback in a draft where several talented prospects were available.

Though the hub of Jets activity will likely be their team facility in Florham Park, the team has remained active in Nashville. A tweet connected to the Darnold appreciation showcased other fans brandishing their renovated Jets gear. The team unveiled a new uniform set in a ceremony at Gotham Hall earlier this month. The surnames of Darnold and safety Jamal Adams have proven popular on fan replicas.

Through circumstances beyond either’s control, the careers of Barkley and Darnold will perhaps forever be linked. The situation is further exacerbated by the Giants’ apparent reluctance to move on from long-time primary quarterback Eli Manning. Manning, 38, is set to enter the final year of his Giants contract this season.

In January, Barkley commented on the comparisons he’ll face throughout his career. Even he somewhat admitted that the Giants might’ve been well-served to choose Darnold.

“I know everyone is saying a quarterback should have been taken before me,” Barkley said on the Rapsheet & Friends podcast on Westwood One. “And you know, they’re not wrong. That’s their opinion. They can have their opinion.”

However, he said he’s not looking to win any metaphorical battle against Darnold.

“When it came to (whether) the Giants made the right pick in picking me, it wasn’t to prove (anything) to the fans,” Barkley said. “I’m so thankful that they voted me (Rookie of the Year). It was to prove to myself. It’s to prove to the Giants the things that matter within the locker room.”

Darnold and Barkley will face off in the regular season for the first time this November.

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