New York sports fanbases are reactive. Everyone in the tri-state area will tell you that.
Fans want your head chopped off if you lose. Then they’ll love you every step of the way when you win.
That’s how it goes — and the spirit animal for Jets fans, Joe Benigno, will agree.
Last week, the WFAN legend screamed for the Jets to play Mike White at quarterback following an abysmal Week 1 performance by Joe Flacco, who’s starting until Zach Wilson returns from a knee injury. But after Flacco threw four touchdowns in a thrilling win over the Browns Sunday, the veteran is skyrocketing Benigno’s Jets quarterback hierarchy.
It’s official. Joe Benigno is jumping on the Flacco bandwagon.
— TikiAndTierneyWFAN (@TikiAndTierney) September 19, 2022
“If they win [Sunday against the Bengals] and Flacco plays well again, they gotta continue to play Flacco,” Benigno said Monday during his weekly spot on WFAN’s “Tiki & Tierney” midday program. “You can tell me about Zach Wilson forever, but I want to win freakin’ football games. Tiki could be the quarterback — you think I care? They could run the single-wing with Tiki and never throw a pass. All I care about is winning. I’ve had enough losing. I don’t care who my quarterback is. I want to win.”
That’s a complete 180 from last week when Benigno called Flacco a “statue.”
But is he wrong?
Let’s be honest — head coach Robert Saleh is in a make-or-break year. We just don’t want to say it yet. The same could go for general manager Joe Douglas.
This fanbase is incredibly impatient after a decade of losing that’s featured multiple drafted quarterbacks who didn’t pan out (Mark Sanchez, Christian Hackenberg, Sam Darnold). So while the team figures to be on the right path with an improved roster and the Saleh-Wilson duo in its second year, continued losing could mean ownership impatience, which could mean jobs lost by next January.
Simply speaking: this organization needs to win desperately. No matter what it takes; no matter who is under center.
Flacco just threw for 307 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks against the Browns. And executed two scoring drives after the two-minute warning to complete a miraculous 13-point comeback with touchdown passes to receivers Corey Davis and rookie Garrett Wilson. What if he replicates that type of performance against an 0-2 Bengals team and the Jets aren’t too eager to make the switch to Wilson, even if he’s ready for Week 4?
If Flacco craps out against Cincinnati and Wilson is healthy for the Steelers matchup the following week, the conversation will be dead. But another strong outing for Cool Joe could make things interesting.