Jets coach Adam Gase navigated his way through a hostile press conference on Thursday, countering an at-times withering cross examination from reporters in the world’s top media market. And at one point, he made a critically important point regarding whether and to what extent the current drama in the front office ultimately matters to the fans of the team.
While being grilled regarding whether the circumstances surrounding the termination of G.M. Mike Maccagnan will cause fans to not trust Gase, Gase interrupted with one of the truest things any football coach can ever say.
“I think our fans care if we win or lose,” Gase said. “If we win games, nobody’s going to remember this, I know that. Our job’s to win. Our job is to win. That’s it.”
And that was the end of the press conference, an ideal message that made mostly everything said before that irrelevant. If the Jets win games, none of this will matter.
That said, a perception/reality of dysfunction makes it harder for fans to tolerate losses. And Gase seems to realize that when he says, “If we win games, nobody’s going to remember this.” If they lose games, people will remember it, because people will look for anything/everything to help understand why the team once again stinks. The lingering stench of dysfunction will become a prime candidate for scrutiny and, potentially, the catalyst for change.
So the stakes are high for the Jets. But they’re always high. Football leagues present a zero-sum proposition, with every good team necessarily balanced by a bad team. Even if every team had a Bill Belichick and a Tom Brady, someone would end up 12-4, which means that someone will end up being 4-12, due to injuries, weather, untimely miscues, bad calls, and the bounce of an oblong ball.