Mike Maccagnan, Adam Gase, Christopher Johnson
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images, AP Photo

Attention New York Jets fans: forking up money to watch “Fire Adam Gase” banners fly over the tri-state area isn’t the answer.

Robby Sabo

FLORHAM PARK, NJ—Great. Mission accomplished. Are you feeling good? Is your soul cleansed while working hard on this Friday afternoon? Are you dripping with satisfaction now that your voice has been heard?

If so, you, the New York Jets fan, once again missed the point.

On Friday, a “Fire Adam Gase Now” banner flew over the tri-state area.


The leaders of the movement had this to say:

“While Adam Gase’s name was on the back of the plane, this movement is actually about holding ownership accountable for their actions over the past decade,” the blog reads. “In reality, that plane should have read “SELL THE TEAM!” but we know that they (the Johnson family) have absolutely no intention of doing that.”

A total of $2,640 from 159 fans were raised in order to make the plane and plan fly. It is, no doubt, a valiant effort from some of the most hardened fans in professional sports. Nobody can deny such an idea. But again, Jets fans are missing the point, the bigger picture.

Didn’t this same exact story unfold years ago?

It did.

With John Idzik in town, the very same fan blog spearheaded the very same idea.

This was 2014. This was five years ago. And yet, here are Jets fans, facing an identical situation. It’s deja vu all over again and the fanbase decides to pull the same trick that got them nowhere the last time?

Doesn’t that signal something?

Now, of course, it’s ownership that needs to take the hit. Never can a fanbase be burdened with fault. They are the individuals who make the organization work. The paying customers are the blood of the entire process. It doesn’t matter how wrong or right they are about any football topic.

On second thought, this is the actual point.

If Jets fans started actually held ownership and decision-makers responsible for certain actions prior to the execution of the idea, silly banners aren’t necessary. This is the only way to make a real difference.

New York Jets

Over the last few seasons, this Jets offensive line ranked among the NFL’s worst. It’s not up for debate. Mike Maccagnan and the previous administration ignored the most important unit in sports to a crippling degree.

Drafting just three big heavies over five NFL Drafts (two fifth-rounders and one third-rounder), Maccagnan put forth the greatest football sin any front office member can pull off.

Yet, year after year, season after season, Jets fans rationalized the offensive line’s talent. “It’s better than people think. There was no offensive line talent in the draft. We’ll fix the offensive line next year.”

Le’Veon Bell, as great as he’s been off the field this season, serves as a terrible signing by way of championship team-building. The evidence for and against signing a stud running back in today’s salary-cap era is well-documented. Look at the championship teams; where are the stud running backs?

It’s not personal. It never is in this league. The reason I remained steadfast against a Bell signing last spring was two-fold: 1. Running back is a devalued position and never needs money thrown at it, and 2. This dreaded offensive line isn’t ready for a stud back.

Instead of a smart general consensus understanding these facts, most of Jets fandom screamed for Bell’s services. Instead of understanding positional talent isn’t worth a damn until the infrastructure if first solidified, Jets fans believed a double-digit-win squad was on the horizon thanks to a hype-driven offseason headlined by brand-new uniforms.

Last spring, anybody who spoke with a Jets fan would have thought Kelechi Osemele was a future Hall of Fame football player. It’s an unfortunate reality this fanbase currently faces. Due to the fact a first-round offensive line talent hasn’t been drafted since 2006, any retread satisfied too many Jets fans in the Maccagnan era.

Oh yeah, we haven’t even brought up the interior defensive line narrative.

Despite not employing a legitimate edge rusher since John Abraham, Quinnen Williams was the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft. The majority of Jets fandom celebrated the pick.

Huh?

Folks, football is the ultimate team game. For a player to fully reach his ceiling, each of his 10 of his teammates must do his job. This means, if the Jets are loaded on the inside (Quinnen, Leonard Williams, Henry Anderson, etc.) yet weak on the outside, a mess will commence.

Of course, it’s an identical situation to 2015. First-year Maccagnan selected Big Cat when Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson were already in-house. It forced Todd Bowles to hilariously attempt playing Sheldon at outside linebacker.

It failed miserably. Four years later, the Jets GM did it again. He repeated this madness and Jets fans excused it.

But that’s OK; flying banners will do just fine.

No. Understanding the game and holding the decision-makers accountable for real-time moves, as a group, is the only way fandom can make a true difference.

Fortunately, it appears as though Joe Douglas understands how to build a real football team. He uttered ideas on his first day that weren’t mentioned once over five drafts of the previous regime.

“It starts with the quarterback and both lines.”

As it relates to full development and ceilings, it’s magnified when discussing the trenches. Football is always a game that starts up front, on both sides of the ball.

Do not accept anything less than Douglas flipping at least three offensive line starters next offseason. Do not accept anything less than at least one scary edge rusher entering the fold.

Do not rationalize boneheaded moves that spit in the face of tried and tested football mantras.

That, and only that, is how fans make a real difference. All banners do is signal when a fanbase is a day late and a dollar short. It’s embarrassing now, on both fronts, via the organization and its collection of fans as a whole.



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