It’s the New York Jets versus their division arch-rivals: the New England Patriots, whose roster, as usual, simply dwarfs that of the Jets in both physical size and star power, making the Jets the traditional underdog in the matchup. The Patriots have jumped ahead in the third quarter with a record-setting kickoff return, but instead of feeling deflated, the Jets are hanging tough and poised for a comeback. Their quarterback, Chad Pennington, is hammered repeatedly by a Patriots defense, which seems to be ripping through the Jets offensive line at will like water through a sieve. Yet Pennington keeps chipping away at the defense, putting up excellent numbers and consistently accurate passes. After yet another bull rush, Pennington is brought down, wrapped like a pretzel around the defender, and unlike the other times in this game, he does not quickly get back up. He tries to rise to his feet and walk back to the huddle, but his right ankle is clearly mangled and unable to support his weight, and he stumbles and falls after a few steps. The reaction of the home field crowd at Giants Stadium to this injury to their quarterback, who delivered a bad team to the playoffs yet again last year against all odds: they cheer.
I will not deny that I have an affinity toward Pennington: anyone who goes through the adversity that he has over the past few years, and keeps a smile on his face and never has a negative thing to say, has my vote and then some.
But my reaction to the behavior of the idiots in that stadium yesterday goes beyond affinity and ends with befuddlement at the reasoning behind it, or, I guess, the lack thereof.
In an era where every play, offensive and defensive, is “coordinated” from the sidelines, it ever the quarterback’s fault that he got to throw only 21 times the entire game (By the way: of those 21 passes, 16 were completions, for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns, with no interceptions. And one of those touchdowns came when Pennington was hurt, wearing a restrictive boot on his foot. And don’t forget that after he’d driven the team down to the 1 yard line, the “coordinator” called a quarterback sneak… for a guy with a boot on his ankle. Genius, indeed.)? Or that Thomas Jones, the Jets’ big off-season acquisition to replace the great, retired Curtis Martin, ran for 42 yards all day (the rushing game was so bad that when Thomas finally “broke one” for 12 yards, he also broke off a frustrated celebration that made one think he had just scored a touchdown)? If Pennintgon’s “weak” arm is the real problem here, how was he able to complete long throws (of 10+ yards) to 6 of his 7 receivers? His counterpart, Tom Brady, had long strikes only to 3 of his receivers.
Can these idiotic Jets fans blame Pennington and the rest of the Jets’ offense for the pitiful fact that the Jets’ defense let Randy Moss, who didn’t even play in the preseason, run wild for 183 receiving yards? Or that Brady had all day to throw on every play, and was never touched by the Jets’ pass rush? Not a single sack, and I don’t think they ever came close. Meanwhile, the Patriots’ defense racked up 5 sacks and ran the Jets’ offensive line into the ground on almost every play.
So, if you don’t know anything about football, and your IQ is less than that of a football, keep blaming Pennington for the loss. Keep telling yourself that his getting hurt is exactly what the team needed to get them back to their winning ways. And, let me quess: invading Iraq because they had “WMDs” was a good idea too, right?
Ever heard the expression that you’re “barking up the wrong tree”? Idiots.