Finally Jets' head coach Rex Ryan found the guts ... the stones to take Mark Sanchez out of a Jets' game that was getting away from them.
He couldn't find the gumption to do it during the stunning losses earlier this year to the Steelers, San Francisco, Miami, Seattle and the shocking, deflating Thanksgiving Day embarrassment and insult to Jets' fans that was the 49-19 clubbing by the Patriots.
The question everybody is asking is: Why in the world did it take so long. In watching Ryan's post-game interviews very closely over the last few weeks, I was worried by what I viewed as his unflinching desire to keep jumping his team off of the fatal Sanchez' cliff -- it was bizarre. And the way he and Sanchez kept towing this absurd party line of "we just have to play better" and "we played a helluva football team today" seemed psychologically unbalanced.
Perhaps the answer to why so long is that, like an alcoholic, these Jets had to really hit rock bottom and Ryan had to fear for his job before taking away Sanchez's. Even more so than the rest of this 'lost season,' the Jets have looked like zombies under Mark Sanchez's leadership -- if I might call it that. They haven't wanted to catch balls he's thrown. They haven't wanted to fight for those extra yards or make that extra-hard block for Mark Sanchez ... they've lost all faith in him; you could see it in their eyes.
I've been a Jet fan since 1969, when my Dad took me to Shea Stadium to see the AFL Championship game between Joe Namath, Emerson Boozer, Matt Snell, Don Maynard, George Sauer and the other great Jet players and the no less imposing Oakland Raiders' Daryle Lamonica, Fred Bilitnekoff, Warren Wells, Willie Brown and Big Ben Davidson in a game the Jets would win with seconds remaining 27-23 and take their show on the road to the Super Bowl and the now legendary upset of the Baltimore Colts. That win of course, would lead to the merging of the AFL and NFL into one league. So I have some serious history as a Jet fan.
My love of the Jets made it almost impossible for me to bear Ryan's inactivity, along with the depressed, almost lifeless attitude of the Jets' offense which was starting to bleed over to the defense.
To other Jet fans: I have shared your pain since this beginning of this season and the tail-end of last.
Seeing Greg McElroy put his helmet on, prepared to go in as the first real quarterback the Jets have had in too long, produced the kind of excitement in me and the Met Life Stadium' crowd that we Jet fans have craved all season long and for the majority of last season.
As the Jet players came to life almost immediately and scored a touchdown on their very first drive, new life seized the players and more importantly for the Jets' future, the fans.
But let's not pop the celebratory champagne quite yet. Ryan still has to decide to bench Mark Sanchez for the rest of this season.
And then he has to decide between Tim Tebow who has waited patiently and devoutly for his turn and our new hero McElroy. Ryan has given every indication he will revert to the toasted Sanchez, which in my estimation would be suicidal both for Ryan's career and the Jets' near-term future.
Hopefully, Ryan makes the right decision without waffling and quickly names McElroy next week's starter against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars or if Tebow comes back strong from his fractured ribs, then Tebow. Anything else, and he will lose a lot of Jet fans and probably his job as head coach.
A few nagging concerns:
**Offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, head coach of the feckless Miami Dolphins last, calls the dumbest plays imaginable. Like running plays repeatedly right at Vince Wilfork in the middle of the impenetrable New England Patriots defensive line. Or his apparent inability to order a first down pass play preferring instead a weak run up the middle. A run play up the middle can also be expected on any second down and eight or third down and 10. This guy couldn't be the head coach of Miami; why is he now an offensive coordinator for my Jets?
**Rex Ryan and the Jet players better start being honest with the sports news media and the fans. This talking like a politician business and not giving any information or insight whatsoever is beginning to annoy everybody. Should Ryan continue it, both he and moronic general manager Mike Tannenbaum should be given their walking papers by owner Woody Johnson.
**The Jets main problem seems to be indecision. They were terminally indecisive when they made the wrong decision after re-signing Sanchez during this past off-season and then signing Tebow -- I mean, who in their right mind would do that? And the time it's taken Ryan to show a little courage and remove Sanchez from a job he lost last year has been brutally detrimental to this teams' core spirit. Somebody has to be the adult in the room and now, hopefully Rex Ryan will keep Sanchez on the bench and give another less dispirited quarterback the ball to try to salvage something of this Jets season.
Where's Donald Trump when you need him to say "You're Fired" to some Jet coaches, players and perhaps even the GM?