The Changing Face of Jets Fans

Pessimism is finally giving way to hope

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Sep 11, 2009  |  Updated 3:30 PM EDT
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The Changing Face of Jets Fans

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There aren't many Jets fans who don't believe in Murphy's Law. Everything that could possibly go wrong for the Jets has gone wrong at one time or another in their history. Epic draft busts, playoff meltdowns, horrific injuries and Rich Kotite are more than any one franchise should have to experience. Yet the fans keep coming back for more, doing their chants and wearing their jerseys and, generally, keeping the faith that they'll one day be allowed entrance into the promised land.

If that sounds a bit familiar, it should. Another famous group, the Israelites, also spent 40 years wandering in the desert in order to get where they wanted to go. They suffered a lot along the way, but were finally granted permission to enter the promised land when they changed from disbelievers to believers. The Jets might not win a Super Bowl this season, probably won't in fact, but there's been a similar change among the faithful that may be the first sign of a brighter tomorrow.

Believing in Murphy's Law means constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, but for the first time in a long time that isn't the sense you get from Jets fans about their team. Hiring Rex Ryan and drafting Mark Sanchez have bathed the always pessimistic group with some much needed sunshine and the fact that the Jets actually seem to have a plan to move forward has changed the focus from past tragedies to future successes. Hope has returned to Gang Green and, as Andy told Red, hope's a good thing.

Alas, like that other fella who rode hope to great heights, details are going to get in the way for a while. Sanchez is a rookie and rookies struggle, even when they're surrounded by lots of help. The defense is transitioning, the wide receivers are a fairly punchless group and the schedule doesn't offer them many chances to pick up easy victories, but none of that has been able to crush the unusually optimistic tenor around the Jets.

That's a nice change, especially if the fans remain devoted enough to those hopeful feelings to weather the tough times that are surely going to come. Because of the way that plan is bringing the pieces together, it feels like they will and it feels like the desert air is finally starting to change.

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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