BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
(Photo credit: Andrew Mills/NJ Advanced Media)
The Giants and Jets kick off their NFL season on Sunday, and no one cares.
There hasn’t been buzz and anticipation on the local NFL teams, and this should be troubling to both franchises. It seems right now apathy has taken over here.
The Giants and Jets have no one to blame but themselves for this predicament. The Giants failed to qualify for the playoffs nine of their 10 seasons since they last won the Super Bowl with five straight losing seasons. The Jets missed the playoffs for 11 straight seasons after they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 AFC Championship Game. Both teams have an identical 22-59 in the NFL over the past five years.
It’s been a long time since we celebrated postseason football in these parts. Look for more of the same this season. No wonder no one cares here. Fans are fretting about the possibility of the Yankees and Mets blowing their respective division leads right now.
The Giants are in their fourth new head coach in the last seven years after hiring Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll in the offseason. They hired Joe Schoen as general manager to clean up disgraced general manager Dave Gettleman’s mess such as the team being in salary cap hell and not having young players to build around. This is a franchise that once talked about stability when they kept Tom Coughlin as head coach and Jerry Reese as general manager for so long.
They did nothing to improve their team this offseason. It’s the same cast of losers from the last few years. This spells tanking. The new administration knows Daniel Jones is not the answer at quarterback, so they are hoping the team is so bad that they can get the No. 1 or 2 pick to draft either Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud or Alabama quarterback Bryant Young. If the Giants win three or less games, management, ownership and fans will be ecstatic. In a warped way, this season would be a success if the Giants took so many losses.
This is so sad for what was once a proud franchise. It’s all about tanking. This is the lowest point in franchise history. This is worse than the Miracle at the Meadowlands on Nov. 19, 1978.
My guess is the Giants will win four games at best. They are going to be underdogs in Vegas for most games this season. They don’t have much talent to win. In other words, wait till next year when they have plenty of money under the cap to sign free agents.
The Jets will make incremental improvement. They can’t be any worse than the last few years. They added young talent from the draft in Ahmad Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall and Jermaine Johnson. They will focus on development for this season.
For their season to be a success, they need Zach Wilson to show he is ready to take the next step of playing in the NFL. This means being a game-changer and a difference-maker. Also, he has to cut down on his interceptions. He has to show the Jets are heading to the right direction when this season is over.
Say this about the Jets. They are interesting than the Giants in a sense they actually have players they can build around from this year’s draft along with players such as Braxton Berrios, Michael Carter, Michael Carter II, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Elijah Moore. Their fans have something to look forward to.
The Jets talked big all offseason and in training camp. They mentioned about the great talent. They talked about how they believe they can be better than anyone gives them credit for.
Now it’s the time to turn those words into reality. Fans are tired of promise, and it’s hard to blame them here. Winning some September games can go a long way for a franchise that hasn’t won a game in September lately.
The Giants need to build a foundation, and they need to hope they got it right with the hiring of Schoen and Daboll or else it will be another merry-go-round of a head coach in a few years.
It’s a terrible look by both NY teams that they haven’t participated in postseason football in a long time now. This can’t happen. Sure teams go through cycles of winning and losing. That’s the reality of sports. But a team can’t be this bad for so long. The draft exists for a reason, and that is to get better as quickly as possible.
I know people that are 30 and below that root for different NFL teams from other cities. That’s an indictment of the Giants and Jets for fielding bad teams that young people want to latch on to winners. There are way too many opposing fanbases that come to MetLife Stadium and leave with a victory. There are way too many Cowboys fans, Eagles fans, Patriots fans, Steelers fans, Packers fans,. 49ers fans and Bills fans that reside here. Think this happens in Philadelphia? I don’t think so because the Eagles know how to field good teams year in and year out. That’s more anyone can say about the Giants and Jets these days.
New York has had a great history of football as a kid growing up. It’s time to get back to it. It gets old watching losing football and seeing executives, players and coaches come and go every few years. This isn’t normal at all.
After 10 years, it’s understandable if fans have had enough of watching their football teams season end before baseball season ends.
It’s up to the Giants and Jets to earn the fans trust and support again. They need to build a better product, and most importantly, they need to win.
Right now, we will settle for improvement such as making the season interesting all the way to Thanksgiving.
A team has to start somewhere before going to the promise land.
Maybe one day the Giants and Jets can improve enough that there would be buzz and anticipation to their season opener.
This writer can be reached on Twitter at: @LeslieMonteiro6
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