The Jets have become one of the most polarizing teams in the NFL over the past year, and they’ve done it without winning the Super Bowl — or even appearing in it.
Instead, the Jets have demanded attention, and thus they’ve invited scrutiny from the media and resentment from non-Jets fans.
Coach Rex Ryan wants more than resentment. He wants hatred.
“I want to be that team that you hate,” Ryan tells Jon Saraceno of USA Today. “[Y]ou can’t stand the Jets.”
“I’m not undersell, overproduce,” Ryan said. “Going .500 is for somebody else. I came here to win
championships. So be it. If you are worried about [what we're saying],
we’ve got you beaten anyway.”
Still, Ryan is taking a major risk here. He has essentially promised a Super Bowl win, making anything less than that a failure. As a result, Ryan has placed plenty of pressure on a second-year quarterback with the everything-comes-easy lineage of Matt Leinart. Whether Mark Sanchez can step up and grow up and make it happen for the team’s offense could go a long way toward determining whether the Jets deliver on Ryan’s vow.
Though the fans love the attitude, they’ve got to be feeling more than a little nervous right now. Ryan has stirred up the kind of hostility reserved only for dynasties — and yet the Jets have won nothing since the AFL-NFL merger.
Regardless of how it all turns out, it’ll be fun to watch.