Tuesday, January 25, 2011 |

It’s a good thing for the New York Jets and their well-mannered, totally realistic fans that they won the Super Bowl two weeks ago in Indianapolis and again last week in New England. If they hadn’t already secured two gleaming world championship trophies this postseason, their loss in Sunday’s minor exhibition in Pittsburgh might have stung quite a bit.

It’s a good thing for Rex Ryan and his impervious defense that the media anointed him football royalty and declared him a defensive genius for leading his charges to world championships in consecutive weeks. If he hadn’t, Rashard Mendenhall’s gashing of his vaunted unit for 95 yards and a touchdown in the first half on Sunday while rushing behind a former practice squad center might have caused some reporters to ask the sure Hall of Fame coach a few tough questions in the postgame locker room.

It’s a good thing for the heroic Ladainian Tomlinson that his three touchdowns in this postseason prior to Sunday’s game erased whatever silly, lingering doubts there might be about his ability to perform in the clutch. If they hadn’t, and if The Real LT hadn’t had his entire career validated by last week’s stunning Super Bowl win, his nine-carry, 16-yard effort and failure to score on fourth down from the one on Sunday might have cast some doubt on the true Jet legend’s legacy.

It’s a good thing for Bart Scott that he reveled in his heel role following last week’s Super Bowl win over the heavily-favored and pundit-picked New England Patriots last week. If he hadn’t, his seven total tackles in the Jets three postseason games and his inability to stop a much smaller Mendenhall from dragging him backwards into his end zone may have made those incendiary remarks seem a bit foolish.

It’s a good thing for Braylon Edwards that he did a tasteful, sportsmanlike backflip on the opponent’s home field last week in New England after the Jets won the Super Bowl for the second straight week. If he hadn’t, his three catches on seven targets and false start penalty during Sunday’s meaningless exhibition in Pittsburgh might have been construed as another big-game no-show for the talented yet mercurial wide receiver/model.

It’s a good thing for Mark Sanchez that he was lauded so enthusiastically for his poise, leadership, and style as the 24-year-old signal caller matured before our eyes this postseason and emerged a two-time champion. If he hadn’t already been recognized for the true legend of the game he so clearly is—a legend that will surely only grow with all the championships he is virtually assured to win in the coming years—it’s possible that some agenda-driven journos, intimidated by Sanchez’s magnetic beauty, might point out that the fifty yards of total offense he generated in the first half (11 until the final 1:13) against the Steelers, coupled with a fumble which resulted in a defensive touchdown, dug his team a hole that even he, in his infinite awesomeness, couldn’t recover from despite a valiant effort.

It's a good thing for Brian Schottenheimer that he already cemented himself as a surefire head coaching candidate with his maverick play-calling in the Jets' two Super Bowl victories earlier this month. If he hadn't, it's possible that prospective employers might have taken issue with an offense that gained a total of one rushing yard in the first half and failed to score on four consecutive plays inside the Steelers 2-yard line on Sunday. 

It’s a good thing for the uber-classy Jets fans that they took all those wholly justified shots at the Giants and their own fans these past few weeks before losing their fourth AFC Championship Game in as many tries. If they hadn’t, Giants fans might have felt compelled to defend their team, which is 4-0 in NFC Championship Games and the owner of three Lombardi trophies, mentioning casually how the Jets haven’t beaten the Giants on the football field since 1993 and how when, in 2007, the Giants went on their own magical run, nary a reference to their less fortunate stadium co-tenants was made.

It’s a good thing the City of New York celebrated the Jets back-to-back Super Bowl championships by illuminating the Empire State Building a sickly green and throwing the team a costly pep rally on Thursday that required not only the time and attention of New York’s Finest but also its mayor and one of its senators. If it hadn’t, the city might have actually considered turning their attention and discretionary funds towards its failing school system and/or its inept sanitation department. 

It’s a good thing for the Jets and their fans that they’ll definitely win the Super Bowl next year and in all subsequent years for the foreseeable future. If such amazing future success weren’t preordained for them, it’s possible that the threat of a lockout or a rash of key injuries or free agent defections or the improvement of other contending teams might give them reason to lament not closing the deal when they had the chance.

By winning two Super Bowls before the Super Bowl has even been played, the New York Jets did away with the formality of having to actually, you know, finish the job.

Good for them.

What need did they have to finish the job when they were already champions in their own minds?

Oh, but let’s give the Jets credit for hanging in there after a horrible first half and battling back. Let’s give the Jets defense credit for holding the Steelers scoreless after halftime. Yes, by all means, let’s give the Jets credit for losing. For coming close. That makes sense.

If you've been listening to sports radio the past day or two, you'll know that it also apparently makes sense to cop ridiculous pleas, make excuses and offer up meaningless platitudes. It was a great season, you see. What a ride it was. We’ll get ‘em next year.

That’s loser talk.

The objective of every NFL team is to win the Super Bowl. The real one. Anything short of that is a failure, and the Jets know it.

Talk is cheap. Play the game. I think I heard that somewhere before.


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