Adam Gase did not even bother to put up a fight for his future with the Jets — at least not publicly — when given the chance after Sunday’s season-ending 28-14 loss to the Patriots.
Asked if he deserves to remain the team’s coach, he merely reiterated that he would be speaking about that with CEO Christopher Johnson in the very near future.
What was he expecting? "I don’t know," he said on a video link from Foxborough, Massachusetts. "I’m not going to predict anything."
No predictions were necessary. He knew it was over.
Five hours later, Johnson made it official, announcing that Gase was through by declaring "it is clear the best decision for the Jets is to move in a different direction."
He added, "To our fans, it is obvious we have not been good enough."
Before Gase fades into history, let’s put his term into perspective, shall we?
The guy had two years to make an impression. He leaves having made his most lasting one on the day he was introduced.
Remember Jan. 14, 2019? Gase showed up for his first news conference and made national headlines not for what he said but for how he looked.
Actually, it was for where he looked, which was everywhere, displaying a strange quirk of wandering eyes that distracted from his message and was a source of much unkind public commentary. It did not bode well for his 32-game run, which involved a desperate search portended by those seemingly crazed, confused eyes.
He tried and failed to find success on offense, his supposed specialty, and failed in particular to develop young quarterback Sam Darnold, another alleged area of expertise.
On Sunday, Darnold showed early promise, then saw his three-game streak without a turnover evaporate in the form of two ill-timed interceptions, one of which set up a Patriots touchdown, the other of which came in the end zone.
The rest was the usual Jets stuff. Lack of downfield shots on offense. A roughing-the- passer flag on defense. Etc.
Asked if he felt he let Gase down this season, Darnold said he had. Perhaps, but he is 23. Gase is the one who did more of the letting down in the relationship.
The saddest thing of all about this for both Gase and the franchise is the meh-ness of it all.
Avoiding an 0-16 or 1-15 finish probably saved him from supplanting Rich Kotite as the epitome of New York coaching awfulness, a distinction Kotite has held for a quarter-century.
Instead, Gase is destined to be forgotten quickly as the franchise and its fans move on.
Sure, he was good for a few wacky moments and memorable postgame quotes — in that area, he was more interesting than many failed New York coaches — but mostly . . . shrug.
Joe Judge has shown great promise in his first season with the Giants, but for the rest of the post-Rex Ryan / Tom Coughlin era in New York-area football, the merry-go-round has yielded some unmemorable characters.
Remember the two-and-done terms of Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur with the Giants? Barely. At least Todd Bowles lasted four seasons with the Jets. So it has gone for much of New York sports’ lost decade since the Giants won Super Bowl XLI.
Quick, name the Knicks’ five most recent coaches before Tom Thibodeau. And what about Mickey Callaway, who managed the Mets for two seasons, ending way back in 2019. What did he look like again?
They come and they go, and they mostly lose. Now it is Gase’s turn.
"It wasn’t good enough, obviously," he said when asked to sum up the 2020 campaign.
The four players who spoke to reporters afterward knew the deal, and when asked about Gase, they ranged from supportive to neutral.
"I love Adam," Darnold said. "I love him as a coach. But it’s not my decision."
Darnold’s future with the Jets is uncertain, but a change of scenery will benefit both him and the team.
Those decisions have begun. Gase was just another wide-eyed newcomer who failed to deliver in the big city.