As a lifelong fan of the New York Jets, I’ve grown used to experiencing crushing disappointment. But even I had to admit that things hit a new low on Saturday after watching the New York Giants defeat the Jets 29-14 at MetLife Stadium.
Why do I say that? Because while it’s one thing to watch the Jets lose in spectacular fashion on television, it was quite another thing entirely to see the season slip away in person from a seat inside the stadium on Saturday. But what made it even more agonizing was to have to endure the sight of thousands of Giants fans gleefully celebrating in our midst — this after Jets head coach Rex Ryan had spent most of the previous week confidently predicting victory over the reeling Giants.
As I rode the train back to Long Island to eat Christmas Eve dinner with my family, my mind was just about made up. I would find a metal garbage can, fill it with all of my Jets swag, cover it in lighter fluid and set the whole thing ablaze. Your mind will take you to some strange places after you’ve been humiliated in public, and that’s all the more the case once you realize you paid for the privilege.
By the time the train reached my stop on suburban Long Island, though, most of my immediate rage had slipped away at the prospect of celebrating the holiday with my family. After all, if I felt that destroyed after a loss that effectively ended any chance the team had of advancing to the playoffs for the third consecutive season, how must Woody Johnson, the man who spent $635 million to purchase the team from Leon Hess’s estate in 2000?
As others have pointed out, Johnson, one of the heirs of the original founder of Johnson & Johnson, isn’t likely to sit on his hands in the wake of a loss like this one. While he’s not anything like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, this is the same Jets owner who gave the green light to the acquisition of Brett Favre, while also disposing of a pair of head coaches once it became clear their time had run out in the Big Apple.
And while I might have resisted the urge to destroy all of my Jets merchandise — and that includes the ceramic gnome that stands watch over my front lawn — Johnson knows that the same impulse might very well lead to other paying customers taking the more drastic step of refusing to renew their season ticket packages, personal seat licenses be damned.
Eric McErlain blogs at Off Wing Opinion, a Forbes “Best of the Web” winner. In 2006 he wrote a “bloggers bill of rights” to heintegrate bloggers into the Washington Capitals’ press box. Eric has also written for Deadspin, NBC Sports and the Sporting News, and covers sports television for The TV News. Follow Eric on Twitter.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Jimmy Johnson owned the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, the Cowboys are owned by Jerry Jones.