The Jets Owe No Apologies

They did what they had to do

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Jan 4, 2010  |  Updated 6:21 PM EDT
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If you've spent any time Monday listening to talk radio or talking with football fans who don't root for the Jets, you've probably heard some variation of the following argument: The Jets have nothing to be proud of for making the playoffs because they beat a Colts team that didn't care if they won and a Bengals team that wasn't playing for anything. They're lucky to have made the playoffs but teams like the Steelers and Texans were more deserving of the spot.

The only truthful part of that argument is that the Jets got lucky with the way their schedule shook out. There's no disputing that nor is their any reason to apologize for it. Legion are the teams in sports history that have caught a break thanks to injury, weather or some other factor beyond their control. The Jets could only worry about beating the team in front of them and they did that twice.  

The idea that they are less deserving than another team is a dog that just ain't gonna hunt. They beat the Texans straight up and the Steelers lost five straight games to knock themselves out of position to defend their title in the postseasons. The argument can go round and round, but the only thing that matters is that the Jets have at least one more game to play.

It works both ways, though. The Jets can't puff up their chests and act like they've just split the atom simply because they got a berth in the playoffs. They weren't left for dead after the Falcons game because people were wildly impressed with their body of work. Be proud of the accomplishment of making the playoffs, but be fully aware of the fact that it only means that you've made the playoffs.

In fact, it might not be such a bad idea for the Jets to buy into the luck part of the equation. They're playing with house money right now and there's no reason not to act like it. Be the team that no one respects and use the fact that everyone thinks you don't belong to your advantage.

It worked for the Cardinals and the Giants, among other teams, and no one cares how you got to the dance if you leave with the prom queen.

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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