View from New York: I still can't see that win coming

John Riordan in New York regrets nothing, despite being wrong about his hometown side the Jets. That’s football.

New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson celebrates his touchdown against the New England Patriots.
New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson celebrates his touchdown against the New England Patriots.
Image: (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

SOMETIMES, I’M SO stubborn that I’ve seriously considered laser-eye surgery to correct my hindsight vision.

Because I still don’t think the New York Jets will beat the New England Patriots last Sunday.

I’ve heard all the arguments: the Jets coverage wanted to eat Boston’s babies, poor/no Pats wide receivers, that youthful offensive line failing to protect Tom Brady, Rex Ryan’s a big huggable coaching genius, those mind games, poorly-executed fake punts, and on and on.

But I still don’t see it happening. Last Sunday.

I don’t care if people who are more steeped in the game than I could ever hope to be are now shouting from the rooftops that New England overachieved at 14-2. That said, I will concede that the 45-3 hammering they gave the Jets seven or so weeks ago was an anomaly that drove Ryan’s angry-ass players on.

And still I don’t see it happening. Last Sunday.

Now I have to find a way of convincing my friend Rob that it didn’t happen. I’m fairly sure I can do it because he’s one of the trippiest characters I’ve ever met. I feel confident that I can get inside his head and convince him he’s wrong, it didn’t happen, forget about Pittsburgh next Sunday, parallel universe.

I might even use a playbook from Danny the Dealer: “Change down, man. Find your neutral space. You gotta rush. It’ll pass. Be seated.”

Last week, when I was more sure (if that’s even possible…) that the Jets could not and would not win, I ruffled Rob’s feathers. Usually impossible. He can only ever get worked up about good food (he’s a chef). Or that documentary ‘Babies’ (“Bayar and Ponijao are awesome. Mari and Hattie suck. Seriously.” Ok, it sounds funnier in the voice of a New York stoner).

Rob was horrified when I tried to knock sense into him the day after the Colts fell to the mighty ‘Gang Green’ (sidenote: please tell me I’m not the only one to laugh every time I hear that…). The Jets, I warned him, have shown next to nothing all season and just because they won their umpteenth tight game against poor opposition, that’s no reason to suggest they can achieve a 42-point turnaround. In Foxborough!

He really hated me at this point. I’d really let him down. And it helped me to understand the subtle differences between fan-dom here and on the other side of the Atlantic. To doubt your team at home is acceptable. To do that here is sacrilegious.

What are they
really like?

Rare insights on sport's biggest names from the writers who know them best. Listen to Behind the Lines podcast.

Become a Member

‘Bullying tactics’

Objective analysis – especially before the game has even started – is frowned upon and don’t even try to come back into the fold after Tom Brady’s first interception in three lunar phases leads you to doubt your defeatist attitude.

I shan’t be swayed. In protest at the bullying tactics of those who advocate sport’s irrational romance over reasonable analysis, I will look forward to this weekend’s conference games content in the knowledge that the New York Jets did everything in their power to set up what would have been a mouth-watering AFC clash in Pittsburgh, the home of the mighty Steelers.

Furthermore, I will absolutely refuse to engage in any of the sepia-tinted relish with which people are anticipating a Green Bay/Chicago classic at Soldier Field in the NFC.

And I will regret nothing.

About the author:

Read next: