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SportsColumnistsNeil Best

Jets go slouching into irrelevance

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan looks

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan looks on from the sideline during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 2, 2014 in Kansas City, Mo. Credit: Getty Images / Jamie Squire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Jets looked appropriately bummed out as they trudged down the corridor to their locker room at venerable Arrowhead Stadium Sunday afternoon.

But one thing was noticeably missing from the parade of players as they approached the two-month anniversary of their last victory: a soundtrack.

Usually such moments are punctuated by curse words or banging equipment or at least muttered bafflement, but on this occasion, there was only the sound of silence.

Because, really, what is left to say?

The Jets unveiled a new, professional-looking quarterback who topped a 100 passer rating. They had a receiver with more than 100 yards, did not turn over the ball even once, had edges in time of possession and total yards, and still lost to the Chiefs, 24-10, for their eighth consecutive setback.

That's not easy, but it's doable when you are a truly bad professional football team.

It always is dangerous to assume the Jets will tumble into irrelevancy, given their history of comic genius. (Sunday's example: giving up a Butt Touchdown!)

But now that they have proved they can lose with anyone at quarterback and with coach Rex Ryan presumed to be a goner after the season ends, mustering any sort of interest -- other than morbid curiosity -- henceforth is going to be a challenge.

Ryan did his best to say the right things, and he sounded sincere, as he always does. But even as he made an important point from a coaching standpoint, he missed the point from the fans' standpoint.

"You misjudge the character [of this team] if you think losses is the only thing that identifies this team," Ryan said. "That's not the case. This team is made up of character and these are mighty men.

"I hope like hell we don't have to endure too many more, but we will if that's the case."

Mighty men they might be as human beings. But mighty football men do not lose eight in a row.

Ryan said he is "stunned" by what has occurred, as is everyone else in the organization. From an outsiders' view, though, numbness is starting to supplant shock.

One could make a rational case that jettisoning Ryan and news conference-challenged general manager John Idzik is not the answer and that given more time, both men could prove capable.

But that ignores the fact that poor Woody Johnson has a business to run and can't go into next season selling more of this slop. So if he cleans house just for the sake of it, don't blame him. One of these decades, something will stick.

Anyway, back to Sunday. It was a less ridiculous loss than many in the Jets oeuvre, including a not-terrible outing for Michael Vick, who for now gives the Jets their best chance to win, even if he is not the future.

The man does know what he is doing, and he was passionate afterward on the topics of both his own abilities and his determination to help the team.

On the former subject, he made the mistake of calling himself "a different breed," opening himself up to another round of dog-abuse jokes.

As for the latter, he said, "If I have to continue to prepare myself throughout the week, 17, 18 hours in the day, no sleep, then I'm going to do it and I hope my teammates will do the same."

Vick acknowledged that the touchdown the Chiefs' Anthony Fasano scored after falling on his bum had him wondering about the Jets' luck, or lack thereof. But he said when the elusive change in momentum comes, "it will be a complete 360-degree turn for us."

"We just have to keep believing and keep the faith," he said. "When that's gone, we shouldn't even show up on Sunday. But that's not going to happen."

So they're going to keep showing up on Sundays? Wake us when it's over.

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