In this series of articles, I am going to attempt to help new fans of American football select their team of choice in the NFL as they begin following the fast growing sport. The teams have been split into four categories for your benefit;
Bandwagon teams – These are teams that the bandwagon fans are quick to jump on; teams that will likely have a lot of success in the coming years. Bandwagon teams do not have to have a rich history, but they do need to be able to win now. These teams will mostly have very talented rosters, and without a doubt they will have a talented starting quarterback. You’ll be interested in picking one of these teams if you don’t like watching your team lose.
Almost bandwagon teams – The name speaks for itself. These are teams that always have a chance to be successful, but who have not managed it consistently enough in recent years to merit a bandwagon following. Some will have great quarterbacks and poor teams, while others might have the rest of the team but not the quarterback. Whatever the case is, they show a lot of promise…
Optimists – These teams don’t look like they are capable of winning a Super Bowl any time soon, but in the uncertain climate of the NFL you never know. At least a few of these teams will likely make the playoffs in the next couple of years.
Tragedists – This is the basement of the NFL. These teams show little quality and little hope, and only fans interested in adopting the most desperate and tragic of franchises should look to find their new team here.
We all have our own special reasons for choosing a sports team. For anyone living outside America, geography doesn’t really come into it. We look instead at popularity of the team, style of play, colours, logos, mascots, individual players or anything else that piques your attention. I myself landed on my NFL team (the New England Patriots) purely by accident. They were playing in the first game of American football that I ever watched on TV, and knowing nothing I selected them as my team simply because they had “England” in their name. It can often be that simple.
Not knowing what each of you will look at in deciding your team, I have tried to provide as much detail as possible. Today, we will be looking at the teams in the Optimists category…
New York Jets
Colours: Green and White
Mascot: A Jet airplane
Stadium: MetLife Stadium
Home City: East Rutherford, New Jersey
Super Bowl wins: 1 (1 appearance)
Records over last 5 years: 40 wins, 28 losses, 2 playoff appearances
Best Players: Mo Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Damon “Snacks” Harrison
Bio: The first thing you should know about the Jets is that they are not a New York team. They share a stadium with the New York Giants, and both call themselves New York, but the stadium is actually situated in neighbouring New Jersey.
The Jets are a team struggling to find themselves. Under head coach Rex Ryan, a dominant defense and a below average quarterback in Mark Sanchez, the team made and lost back-to-back AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010. That was a high point for a team that has dramatically come down since then.
Mark Sanchez is no longer the starting quarterback, replaced by rookie Geno Smith, who looked equally unreliable in his first season. The marquee players that took them to those championship games, Darrelle Revis, LaDanian Tomlinson, Bart Scott and Jason Taylor, are all gone.
Now, the team is a little short on signature players. Their receivers and running backs are unexceptional, and there are no real playmakers on defense to speak of outside of Mo Wilkerson and Antonio Cromartie.
They do, however, play unpredictable and exciting football. On their way to an 8-8 season this past year, the team alternated with a win-loss form until their first back-to-back defeats in week 12. They were erratic at times, terrible at others, but for some brief moments they were superb. Nothing shows this more than the stretch between weeks 7-9 this season; a victory over their arch rival Patriots and a victory over the New Orleans Saints, two playoff teams, bookending a massive 49-9 loss to the Bengals, who are arguably worse than both.
Aligning yourself with the New York Jets has and continues to be a daily struggle for fans. But with an entertaining head coach and an unpredictable future, it could become a rewarding relationship.