It's Okay to Enjoy the Jets' Playoff Run

Feeling good about the Jets is apparently a no-no

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Jan 15, 2010  |  Updated 3:15 PM EDT
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Joe Namath, Mr. Guarantee himself, has seen fit to weigh in with a condemnation of Rex Ryan's belief that his team should be favorites in the postseason. Namath's position -- the Jets actually aren't favorites -- isn't all that different from any sensible Jets fan, but it's just the latest salvo in what's feeling like a concerted effort to take the fun out of the Jets making the playoffs.

We get it, the Jets caught some very big breaks in the last couple of weeks to go from being fitted for toe tags to their first playoff game since 2007. What we don't get is why that seems to bother so many people. The Jets have historically gotten fewer breaks than Charlie Brown, which makes it very hard to feel anything but happiness about the fact that the sun has shined on them a little bit this season.

For the most part, it's been just the opposite. To listen to sports radio pundits and football experts, Jets fans should be embarrassed about how their team made its way to the playoffs. Ryan and his players, for their part, should be publicly singing the praises of every other team in the race because it's more important to be humble than confident in professional athletics.

Funny, because they were singing very different tunes for the Giants in 2008 or the Knicks in 1999 when they qualified for the playoffs by the skin of their teeth. Is it simply because we're talking about the Jets and the fact that the agreed-upon script is that the Jets are the sad little stepsister in New York's football world? Does it really bother people that much that the Jets have the spotlight for themselves while the Giants undergo the typical Jetsian offseason of digging out from underneath the rubble?

It must be, because the message seems to be nothing so much as "How dare the Jets and their fans feel good about themselves for even one minute!"

Let's change the tune, because Jets fans don't need to justify their happiness or faith in their team any more than Colts or Chargers fans. They're enjoying the ride and, in a pleasant change from past seasons, finding the bright side instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe this marks a shift in the cosmic nature of Jets fandom or the Jets themselves and maybe it doesn't, but there's plenty of time to figure that out once the parade stops.

The day when daring to dream stops being part of being a sports fan is the day when we'll close up shop and start obsessing over the opera. Until then, let fantasy run wild and enjoy the ride.    

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.

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