The 3 Biggest Issues Concerning the CBA

1) 18-Game Schedule

Let’s face it, giving up two preseason games for two regular season games is good for everyone except the players. The increased revenue makes it a great deal for the NFL. The problem? The players are afraid this will lead to more injures. The players are willing to do this, but they want something in return. So I propose this solution:

– 2 Preseason games

– 18 regular season games with two byes

– A week off before and after the regular season

– A third-place game in between the Championship Games and the Super Bowl

– The Pro Bowl a week after the Super Bowl.

Having a week off before the season and two byes helps the players rest and avoid injury. The week off after the regular season prevents teams from resting starters in Week 17. Think about, who would want their best players not to play 2-3 weeks in a row?

I am in favor of a third-place game to keep fan interest before the Super Bowl. It also makes one team feel much better about their season, and will draw huge revenues and ratings. This can be held at a neutral site, the Super Bowl’s location that year, or the better seed’s home stadium.

I want the Pro Bowl to be after the Super Bowl so players playing in the Super Bowl can actually play. It would also allow an extra two weeks of rest for hurt players. They never should have changed it.

2) Rookie Pay Scale

I am in favor of a pay scale system for drafted players. It’s just not right to see Jamarcus Russell making millions of dollars to do nothing. This would be a great fix, but the NFLPA is obviously against it.

3) Salary Cap

The Salary Cap is in place to provide parity and an easier way for owners to manage their funds. I hope for the Jets’ sake it doesn’t come back, but I don’t think you will see that low of a number for the cap. I think a reasonable figure will be agreed upon by both sides.

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Guidelines for Team Alliegences

With the unbelievable number of bandwagon fans in the NFL I have seen this year, I have decided to put together a rough sketch of how to tell a bandwagoner from a true fan.  I am open to ideas to improve this, so feel free to leave a comment below.

You have the right to root for any team who:

1) Plays in the city or state you were born in or live in.

2) Is liked by a family member or close friend.

3) You grew a liking to for any of the following reasons:

a) A specific player or coach (You must make this clear when asked why you like a certain team.)

b) Color scheme/stadium/team culture/logo/team name.

c) A specific on-field event (excluding winning a playoff game or a game of extreme importance).

Only acceptable ways to get out of being a fan of a team:

A) Admit you were bandwagoning a certain team, apologize to any fan you made contact with during your bandwagoning, and sware to never like that team ever again in your lifetime.  MAXIMUM ONE TIME USE.

B) Your organization does something that would be considered an obvious lack of commitment.  I’m talking about a fire sale like the Marlins had after 1997, not trading a star player away for draft picks to help rebuild a team.

C) Your team moves out of the city or state it was in (only applies to fans who like a team in the city of state they live in or were born in).  For example, Oilers fans didn’t have to root for the Titans when they came to Tennesee.

D) Your team folds. (ex: Browns in 1996, although that was a very unique case.)

E) You like a team because of a favorite player or coach, and that player or coach moves to another team.

F) A certain personal event happens in your lifetime that could dramatically change your view of the team for the worse.  (Ex: While waiting for Brandon Jacobs to sign an autograph for your little brother, he throws his helmet at you.  You then have all right to hate the Giants with a passion.)

G) You were to young to actually understand the concept of rooting for a team and didn’t realize that this is a permanent commitment.

Examples of unacceptable ways to become a fan of a team:

– Rooting for a team because of their success in a particular season, collection of seasons, or any one big game.

– Rooting for a team because of past success or number of Super Bowls/NFL Titles/Division Titles/Conference Championships/etc.

– Rooting for a team to incite hate from other fans.  For example, rooting for the Red Sox in the middle of New York just to piss of Yankee fans isn’t acceptable.  If you have an excuse to be a Red Sox fan, that is a completely different story.  But rooting for them as some sort of protest against another team is just ridiculous, especially since you probably don’t know anything about that particular team.

Special Cases:

– You marry someone who likes a different team than you.  You can casually root for that team, but you can’t switch alliegences on that alone.

– A certain personal event happens in your lifetime that could dramatically change your view of a team for the better.  (Ex: While in a restaurant, Mark Sanchez introduces himself to you and signs an autograph for you and your son.  He then gives you two tickets for Sunday’s Jets game.)  Depending on the scale of the event, you may or may not have the right to root for that team.

– You can root for a team who is the rival of one you hate, but you can’t call yourself a fan of that rival team.  You must also have a team of your own, you just can’t spend your time rooting against certain teams.

Acceptable Bandwagoners

Must satisfy one of these conditions:

– You bandwagon a team that is horrifically bad when you started to root for them.  I’m talking about teams like the Lions, not teams with a positive future and rich history that happened to have a bad season (Giants this year).

– You begin to bandwagon a team when they were good, but you stick with them through multiple terrible seasons.  When all the bandwagoners jump ship, you stick with your team.

– You completely embrace being a member of that team’s fanbase and become a die hard fan.  You study the team’s history and vow never to switch teams despite how bad things may get.  This is sort of a gray zone, but it’s easy to tell real fans from the fake ones.

– You grow a liking to a team who plays in the same city as another team you like.  However, this has to be reasonable.  No one is stopping you from liking the Pirates if you are a Steelers fan.  However, liking the Miami Heat just because you grew up a Dolphins fan is a little far fetched.  If you live in that city or state, it’s a different story.

Note: You can be a fan of more than one team, but by doing so you revoke your right to trash talk or say anything bad about another team or fanbase.  You can’t talk bad about a franchise when you have two teams to back you up.  It isn’t fair, and you must have good reasons for liking both of the teams you like.  You can also be a neutral fan and like no team at all, but then you can’t trash talk other fans and their teams because you are giving them no ammunition to fire back with.

Rebuilding the Jets

Rebuilding the Jets

After a heartbreaking loss to the Steelers, we once again head back to the drawing board for another season.  Everything we do this offseason depends on the new CBA, but I don’t think it will be that bad of an offseason compared to what many people think it will be.

Step 1: Re-Sign RFA David Harris

– Harris is an All-Pro caliber middle linebacker.  He wants somewhere around $10 million per year, but I expect both sides to reach an agreement that pays him well and maintains flexibility for us.

Step 2: Re-Sign Braylon Edwards and/or Santonio Holmes

–  I’d like to re-sign both, but I really think the organization will only take one back.  This all depends on the salary cap situation in the new CBA, but I’d go with Holmes over Edwards.  Remember, Holmes is an RFA, meaning he’ll be easier to keep then Edwards.  However, the Jets could re-sign Edwards and put a tender on Holmes, meaning they could get draft picks back if another team signs him.  There are a lot of options here, but I think Santonio is the way to go if you have to choose one.  If we can bring both back, let’s do it.

Step 3: Address the Cornerback Situation

–  Antonio Cromartie is also an RFA.  I think if you let either Holmes or Edwards go, I think the team will have enough money to sign Cromartie.  If not, the Jets need to look for a corner on the free agent market.  I don’t want to draft another bust corner (see Kyle Wilson).  Asomugha would be ideal, but he would definitely be too pricey.  Drew Coleman should be easy to re-sign, and I’d like to see Cole back too.

Step 4: Address the Safeties

–  Smith and Ihedigbo and RFAs.  I don’t care about Ihedigbo and I’m not sure if I want Smith back.  He’s a decent back up, but you definitely have to re-sign UFA Brodney Pool.  Again, these are all low-cost moves.  I don’t think there will be a financial problem here.

Step 5: Special Teams

–  Bring back Brad Smith and find a new kicker.  As simple as that.  Try to find a new punter as well, although I can live with Weatherford if there is no other option.  But Folk has to go.

Step 6: Get Younger in the Front Seven

– Say goodbye to Jenkins, Ellis, Pryce, Taylor, Thomas, and Gholston.  It’s time to move on and find young, athletic pass rushers.  I want to draft two big, strong DE/DT type prospects that can fit into our defensive scheme.  We also need at least two pass rushers from the outside that can put pressure on the quarterback.  I’d prefer to draft an OLB who has played in the 3-4 scheme before instead of converting a defensive end (see Vernon Gholston).

Step 7: Address the Offensive Line

– I think Damien Woody is gone to be honest.  I think Matt Slauson can handle the left guard position if we can’t find anyone else, but I’d really like to see Vlad Ducasse step up and win the LG or RT starting spots.  I don’t know if it’s worth wasting a draft pick on a lineman, but we definitely need another guy on the line if we let Woody go.  In a somewhat related note, I think Tony Richardson’s time is done here.  It’s time for John Connor to show off his skill set at this level.

Step 8: FIRE BRIAN SCHOTTENHEIMER!!!

– Won’t happen, but one can dream, right?

The Draft: The Jets have five draft picks.  We lost our second round pick in the Cromartie trade, and we lost our seventh round pick in the Kevin O’Connell trade.  That leaves us with a first, a third, a fourth, a fifth, and a sixth round pick.  I want at least three of these picks used for our front seven.  Drafting a young, explosive wide receiver wouldn’t be a bad idea also.  We probably should draft a lineman, but you are going to have to use one of your two top picks to get a starting caliber one.  I’d like to add another running back as well, but we could probably find one outside the draft.

An Open Letter to the Football Gods

Dear Reader,

I have been a Jet fan for all my life. I could have been a Giant fan, Patriot fan, or even a lowly Dolphin fan. However, I am a fan of the New York Jets.  I’m sure all Jet fans would agree with me when I say we have been more than a futile franchise. After winning the Super Bowl in 1969, we have only averaged less than one playoff win every three seasons. We’ve had three conference championship appearances before this season, and we’ve lost every one of them in dramatic, heartbreaking fashion. There is only so much one fanbase can take.

After eleven years out of the playoffs, things started to go good for us in the 80s. Richard Todd and Ken O’Brein were decent enough quarterbacks. We passed on Dan Marino, but that’s ok. He didn’t win a title either. We made the playoffs four times that decade, but we only managed to put together three playoff wins. Two of those wins came en route to an AFC title game against the Dolphins. Yeah, we got shutout that game, 14-0.

Then came the 90s. From 1987-1997, we made the playoffs one time. Heck, in 1996 we went 1-15. We screwed up the draft just about every year too, even passing on Warren Sapp for Kyle Brady. But something weird happened in 1997. Under a man named Bill Parcells, this 1-15 team from 1996 won nine games the following seasons. For the first time since 1986 we finally had a respectable team.

The next year we won twelve games and our first division title in thirty years. After crushing the Jaguars in the divisional round after a bye, we took our talents to Denver for a showdown with John Elway. You already know the story. The best Jets team since the Namath Era blew a 10-0 lead and was sent home as Elway ended up wining the Super Bowl.

After an 8-8 season under Parcells, Al Groh took over in 2000. Besides the Monday Night Miracle, nothing of significance happened as the Dolphins won the division over our 9-7 team. Groh left the following offseason and was replaced by Herm Edwards. We won ten games in 2001, but lost to the Raiders in the first round. After a 1-4 start in 2002, Chad Pennington took over for Vinny Testaverde in the middle of the fifth game. They’d go on to lose the game, but we’d win eight of our last eleven to win the division. After beating Peyton Manning and the Colts 41-0, we lost to the Raiders again in the divisional round.

After a down season (6-10) in 2003, we bounced back in 2004 and made the playoffs at 10-6. After a win against the Chargers, Jet fans suffered an unimaginable defeat to the Steelers in the divisional round. The name Doug Brien still haunts Jet fans to this day. The next four years were crazy. Spygate, Eric Mangini, Kellen Clemens, Brett Favre, the Wildcat, Super Bowl 42, etc. It all cumulated in a former defensive coordinator from Baltimore being named the head coach of the Jets. Rex Ryan.

Honestly, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted Eric Mangini fired. I though the franchise was lost and no one could help at this point. I wanted a young, energetic coach that could get in your face and develop a unique style of football. I didn’t want an old man like Rex looked that would probably play a boring style of football. Well, that all changed with his first press conference. I was wrong. I had found the coach I’d been looking for all this time.

Rex changed the culture of the team immediately. He built a disciplined team that played “Jets football”. What is Jets football? Just watch one of our games and you will find out. Not only did Ryan change the culture, he was aggressive in bringing in star names such as Mark Sanchez. Unfortunately, the team got off to a slow start that put the 2009-2010 playoffs in serious doubt.

After declaring the Jets “out of the playoffs”, Rex and the gang won their last two to make the playoffs. After this, people started the claim the Jets got lucky and didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs. The charge was led by WFAN’s Mike Francesca, who began to handwave so called “classless” Jet fans. Big Mike even forbid anyone even remotely related to the Jets from coming on his show.

Despite the hate, the Jets won two straight playoff games on the road before being eliminated again in the AFC title game against the Colts after once more holding a lead at halftime. Despite the loss, the Jets had changed their culture. The momentum continued into the offseason, as the Jets landed big names and starred in HBO’s reality show Hard Knocks. The 2010 season was our best since 1998, as the we won eleven games for only the fourth time in franchise history. After two more shocking upsets on the road in Indianapolis and New England, the Jets once again find themselves in the AFC Championship game. This time it’s in Pittsburgh.

All Jet fans ask for is one year. We haven’t been to the Super Bowl in over forty years. We’ve been waiting a lifetime for one break to go our way. We have the team this year, but we’ve had the same quality team in other years as well.  How many more times are we going to watch other franchises have their moment on the biggest stage in sports?  Some fans believe that we’ll never win the Super Bowl, but for me there is hope. We’re two wins away from reaching our ultimate goal, but I’ll take a win on Sunday for now.

A cautiously optimistic lifelong Jet fan,

– Nick