NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Sometimes, you think it’s all so very silly, the notion that there is some mystical force lined up against the Jets. Look, it should be silly. Gods should have better things to do with Their time, whether you’re talking about the one with the capital letter in front of His name or the various and sundry lowercase gods who get blamed for everything that goes wrong in life.
Except, if you’re around the Jets enough, nothing is ever too silly.
Because of course the Jets’ schedule should bring them to Music City in early December. Of course the Jets should run into the Titans, running out another string in another lost year. Of course another fired coach walking should drag the remains of his career to the field at Nissan Stadium.
You don’t think the gods are paying attention?
It was two weeks shy of four years ago that Rex Ryan showed up with his bedraggled team and a 2-10 record. As with Todd Bowles, it wasn’t a matter of if Rex would get canned, it was when, it was if he would be allowed to finish the season. Everything else was gone. Everything else was lost. Sound familiar?
The Jets won that one, by the way. It was a 16-11 final score. No game in the history of the NFL ever ended 16-11 before that one did, which was perfect, because there was literally zero other reason to ever remember that the game was played. The Titans had led by a bunch of baseball scores all day, 5-0 and 8-3, and then the Jets scored two late touchdowns before the Titans nearly pulled off a tribute to the Stanford Band play on the game’s final spasm — Dawan Landry tackled Delanie Walker at the 9-yard-line.
Adding to the intrigue, of course, was that as the Jets walked off the field in triumph, most of their fans wanted to drown their sorrows because the loss all but ensured the Jets wouldn’t be in play for that year’s crop of can’t-miss franchise quarterbacks — either Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (whom the Titans wound up taking, remember “Suck for the Duck”?) or Florida State’s Jameis Winston.
Ryan, of course, wanted to hear nothing about that.
To those who thought the Jets would have won by losing that day, he said: “Tough. You know what? A real Jets fan wants to win. It doesn’t matter what pick you get or whatever.”
Jets desperate to end brutal five-game losing streak
NASHVILLE — The Jets begin December here, playing out the…
“They’re not real fans,” Pryor said of the Pro-Tank Brigade. “The object of the game is to win. That’s what we’re trying to do. We can’t worry about draft picks or anything like that.”
Four years later, and after an acre of more losses, the Jets have their new franchise quarterback on the roster (Sam Darnold), though it’s anyone’s guess if he will see the field on Sunday. The Titans are coming off a season when they knocked off the Chiefs in the playoffs and gave the Patriots a game, too, and have shown flashes this year of being on the edge of the AFC’s elite teams.
They have come a long way from 16-11.
The Jets? One more time they come to Nashville knowing (intellectually anyway) that a loss is probably better than a win, knowing that even if they win 61-11, they will have a new coach next year, knowing that in another month they will officially be half a century removed from their lone championship, and no closer to their next one than they were four years ago.
The gods may not have a sense of humor.
But they are paying attention. How can you feel any other way?