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It's Finally Time For the Jets to Play Some Football

The longest offseason ever ends on Monday night

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    When Hank Williams Jr. asks if you're ready for some football on Monday night, it is hard to imagine anyone who won't be screaming yes.

    In the eight months since Peyton Manning ended their season, it has been difficult to remember that the Jets are actually a professional football team. They've spent so much time as tabloid fixtures, PSL salesmen, television stars, contract holdouts, lapband surgery patients, Tony Award presenters and potential sexual harassers that their real jobs often get lost in the shuffle.

    That will thankfully end on Monday night. The Ravens are in town, every eye in football is trained on the new stadium and we'll finally get to see if the Jets can walk the talk that they've been spewing for every minute of those eight months.

    It's a welcome change, especially after another loony weekend of stories that make you think long and hard about just whether or not the Jets were actually still in the playing football business. It started Thursday night when Peter King reported that another Darrelle Revis holdout is probably coming whether anyone likes it or not, continued with the announcement of an investigation into illicit offseason workouts involving players and coaches and reached its nadir with the juvenile treatment of Ines Sainz at a recent practice.

    None of these things have anything to do with the way the Jets will play on Monday night, of course, but it would be naive to think that this is the last we'll hear of any of these stories. Every miscue and wrong step by the Jets will be blamed, in part, on the way that they've conducted themselves this offseason. Any time the Jets lose, there will be people pointing out how much time was spent on pursuits that have nothing to do with the game and things that seem insignificant will hang around long enough to become distractions.

    Still, Monday night is a welcome relief from the endless soap opera plots that the Jets have engaged in since they were last on the field. It will be nice to actually spend some time worrying about how Matt Slauson handles left guard, Mark Sanchez's development and the pass rush instead of what group Rex Ryan is going to offend next. Unless the Amish take up a sudden interest in the NFL, we're running short of options for the latter group anyway.

    No matter how hard they've tried to be everything else, the Jets have always been just a football team. Monday night reminds us of that and starts answering the question of whether or not they are a good enough football team to be worth all of this fuss in the first place.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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