Jets Soar Past Giants Into New York City Spotlight

The New York Jets are getting what they wanted. Love them or hate them, everyone who is a fan of the NFL has an opinion on the Jets. While NFL teams are supposedly built around the goal of winning championships, their owners and management actually build them around generating press and making money. And the Jets are doing that better than any NFL team out there.

Ever since the Indianapolis Colts decided to sit Peyton Manning and give the Jets a chance at the 2009 playoffs, New York has been atop the headlines, generating more and more press. From Rex Ryan flicking someone off at an MMA event, to Hard Knocks, to Darrelle Revis’ holdout, to Braylon Edwards’ recent arrest for DWI, the New York Jets have surpassed the New York Giants as the football team of New York. The common denominator? A brash attitude and a winning

football team.

Take a look at the New York Giants. Just a couple years ago, the Giants were Super Bowl Champions, having just beaten the undefeated New England Patriots. Eli Manning was the savior of New York and the Jets were merely the team that played in Giants Stadium. Fast-forward to 2010 and Eli Manning looks more lost than he has ever been; his blank stare with mouth agape represents the feelings of all Giants fans. The Giants are now the New York football team suffering from an acute case of Murphy’s Law.

In years past, the Jets were the team that, no matter how big their lead, you knew they were going to blow it. Now, they are brimming with confidence. Mark Sanchez is playing like a trusted veteran and the defense has been able to hold it together without the help of Darrelle Revis. And while their play has been great, it is their attitude that has them atop football news stories across the country.

This attitude change can be directly attributed to their coach Rex Ryan, whom they hired during the offseason before the 2009 season. Ryan came in with a bombastic mind-set and it has permeated through the organization. He made comments in his first couple weeks that set off a media buzz, saying that he would not kiss Bill Belichick’s “rings” and starting up a shouting match with Miami’s Channing Crowder. Then the Jets went through a tumultuous season which landed them in the AFC Championship game against the Colts, just one win away from the Super Bowl, and this just fed Ryan’s rather large appetite (for trash talk, of course).

This past offseason, Ryan did a great job of keeping the Jets in the headlines. At a hockey game, he was caught on tape lifting his shirt above his head, exposing his sizable gut. And then came Hard Knocks.

As if the Jets didn’t already have enough exposure, they boosted their popularity by letting HBO into their training camp. Recent acquisition Antonio Cromartie was able to show off his skills in naming all of his children, we were able to see the angst that Darrelle Revis caused his organization and we were invited to join Rex Ryan in going to “eat a goddamn snack!”

Then, right before Week 1 of this NFL season, the Jets were hit with accusations of a poor locker room environment. Inés Sainz, a Mexican reporter from TV Azteca, accused the Jets of actions and words bordering on sexual harassment. Jets owner Woody Johnson issued an apology and spoke of creating a program promoting professional behavior for NFL teams.

The troubles continued last week as Braylon Edwards was arrested for a DWI in Manhattan. Instead of using the Player Protect program, an anonymous cab service designed specifically to stop DWIs among NFL players, Edwards decided to drive his Range Rover through Manhattan at 5 a.m. After being benched for the first quarter of this week’s Jets-Dolphins game, Edwards made two significant catches to lead the Jets to a victory.

Like it or not, Edwards’ past week is a microcosm of the franchise’s success: a brash attitude and a winning team. The Jets have created a reputation of being an outspoken and winning football team. While they may not be the perfect role models, the New York Jets have found the formula for a successful football franchise in New York City.