At least Mark Sanchez didn't let optimism get out of control over the entire offseason before punching Jets fans in the gut. The last time the Jets made the AFC Championship Game, there were high hopes for the 1999 season that followed. They lasted a handful of plays before Vinny Testaverde's Achilles popped and Rick Mirer took over and taught Jets fans another lesson about expecting happiness in life.
This time around we only had to wait a few days before dialing back the grandiose notions that were running around the city. It's not just that Sanchez needs knee surgery, although that's plenty upsetting, it's that he doesn't need it on the knee he hurt during the season. Sanchez's right knee just needs rehab, while his left knee needs surgery to help stabilize the patellar tendon he hurt while at USC.
That sounds like something out of the Omar Minaya playbook as did Mike Tannenbaum's insistence that the knee surgery wasn't anything significant. It's knee surgery, it will keep Sanchez out for at least two months and it comes at a time when everything finally appeared to be going right for the quarterback. If that's not significant, nothing is.
Optimism was running wild about the Jets this week because of what Sanchez did during the playoffs. Other teams that have made strong playoff runs behind dominant defenses and strong running games have fallen off in subsequent years because they don't have stable quarterback situations. The Jets have stability and, even better, they had every reason to believe that they were going to get better quarterback play in the future.
They still do, although it won't be easy to explain that to a Jets fan with a long memory this weekend. This road is too familiar to ignore the signposts of coming pain, even if that pain never materializes. It seems some cosmic power didn't get the message that these aren't the Same Old Jets.