“I’m sorry.” “That’s rough.” “You guys exist?” “Uhh, why?” These are the typical responses I’ve received in the past three weeks when making small talk about the NFL. I am a Jets fan at a college in New England. Enough said.
Growing up in Westchester, New York, being a Jets fan wasn’t all that bad. After all, we made trips to the AFC Championship Game back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010. We won Super Bowl III. Sure, we never had the success that the Giants had, but I was okay with being the second or third (if you count the Bills) best team in New York.
Even in 2012 when Mark Sanchez infamously ran full steam into his offensive lineman’s behind, causing him to fall pathetically to the turf, lose the football, and resulting in a Patriots scoop and score, I was able to simply shrug and laugh. Sure, SportsCenter helped bring me closure when they finally retired the “Butt Fumble” after an undefeated forty weeks atop or on the bottom (depending on your perspective) of the “Not Top 10: Worst of the Worst.” I was still encouraged because they had a top three finish in the AFC East that season. Mind you, there are four teams, but you’re missing my point!
Then I came to Holy Cross. Sitting in the heart of Masshole country, a recent student poll showed that 62 percent of students believe that it was Tom Brady who killed bin Laden. (25 percent believe it was Seal Team Six, 4 percent believe he is still alive, and 11 percent didn’t respond). In addition to classes, Patriots fans at Holy Cross spend Monday through Friday analyzing Bill Belichick’s latest outfit and expressing disappointment at the fact that Rob Gronkowski has yet to appear on “The Bachelor.” Saturday is spent betting on whether or not the Patriots defense will outscore the opponent’s offense, and on Sunday those who were dumb enough to bet against the Patriots defense pay up.
To my fellow Jets fans on campus, I know that getting up every morning during football season is a battle. All we look forward to is the future, where we put our faith in the incompetent front office to make the rebuilding acquisitions necessary to contend. It makes it all the more difficult when you surround yourself with football fans spoiled to the point where one loss to Kansas City sparks panic and disbelief. To me, the Jets’ Week 1 nine-point loss to the Bills showcased the team’s defensive potential.
Jets fans, any day you can just wake up and declare that enough is enough, throw on a Tom Brady jersey, a Patriots winter hat, and Bean Boots and simply become like everyone else. Or, you can be like me and freeze your status as a Jets fan. Pick a team, any team, and they’ll be better than the one for which you’re already rooting. Wait five years, reevaluate, and then you can either retain your Jets fandom or give it up for good.
To Patriots fans on campus, thank you. Thank you for helping me lose all hope in the team I once so dearly loved. Because of you guys, I have decided as of this afternoon that I am now a Steelers fan. (I think I have a second cousin who goes to college there so why not). Hope to see you in the playoffs.