MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
New York Jets
The Jets haven't won, much less appeared in a Super Bowl since Joe Namath guaranteed victory over the (then) Baltimore Colts fifty years ago. I remember Broadway Joe's last two seasons with the Jets, and every year of the ensuing four decades since spent trying to replace him.
If Richard Todd and A.J. Duhey never cross paths, or Ken O'Brien pulls the Jets out of a fatal nosedive, or if Vinny Testeverde's Achilles heel never snaps, or Chad Pennington weren't so fragile, or Marc Sanchez comes out of USC with just a tad more polish, the history of the Jets reads quite differently.
Monday night, all this gets thrown on the shoulders and arm of a rookie poised to be the youngest quarterback to ever start an NFL game since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger. That being said, Sam Darnold might finally be that guy: a rare franchise quarterback capable of carrying a team through years of sustained success, and ideally, Super Bowls. Even as a Giants fan, there's no denying I'm experiencing palatable anticipation leading up to his pro debut.
However, Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles are still piecing together everything else surrounding Darnold. And I believe they're doing a good job turning things around, despite what the Jets recent season records indicate. Maccagnan has been methodical but effective, and players respond to Coach Bowles. But above all else they need time, and there in lies the rub ...
Woody Johnson long ago created a condition among his various general managers and head coaches in which they were more or less compelled into making decisions based on job preservation over that of making actual long term progress. Team CEO and acting owner Christopher Johnson is seemingly applying the brakes on that trend. He already extended both Maccagnan and Bowles through 2020, ensuring both are provided an opportunity to see this through for a change. However, Bowles' extension came before they drafted Darnold. If the Jets are throwing Sam Darnold into the fire, Mr. Johnson must remain open minded about extending even further both Maccagnan and Bowles.