Todd Bowles is a good football man. Hiring him to coach the Jets in 2015 made a lot of sense and was widely endorsed by his A-list pals, Bill Parcells among them.
But his time is almost up now, with the only remaining intrigue being whether he is dismissed before or after the season mercifully ends on Dec. 30 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
It’s a pity for Bowles and for Jets fans who hoped for better, especially after his first 15 games were such a huge success. Then came that mind-boggling, playoff-blowing loss to the Bills on Jan. 3, 2016, and it has been mostly downhill since.
The Jets were 5-11 in 2016, were 5-11 in 2017 and are on pace for 5-11 in 2018 after Sunday’s 41-10 debacle at home against a Bills team that had been 2-7 and was on its fourth starting quarterback in five games, this time Matt Barkley.
Matt Barkley! The Bills’ offense had been a disgrace to its franchise’s K-Gun legacy, but it dominated the Jets.
It was a Kotite-esque embarrassment. Factoring in the level of competition, falling behind 31-0 made it arguably the most embarrassing first half in the history of the franchise.
Enough is enough. Even if CEO Christopher Johnson and his on-hiatus brother Woody believe Bowles is a misunderstood genius who will make it all better in 2019, there is no chance fans will accept that. It would be marketing suicide.
So Bowles will move on and the Jets undoubtedly will look for someone with a background on offense, the better to develop quarterback Sam Darnold.
Aside from his 3-7 record, the biggest demerit on Bowles’ report card has been the struggles of Darnold in recent weeks, as much as that is normal for a rookie quarterback.
But the final straw was Sunday’s non-functional flop despite what was supposed to be the stabilizing influence of Josh McCown on offense. They had a complete no-show on defense, Bowles’ area of expertise.
Asked for a positive, Bowles noted that there was only one penalty, but even that was a technicality. The Jets committed three holding penalties on the same offensive play, but the Bills were allowed to accept only one of them. McCown threw an interception on the next play.
The Jets also allowed a successful fake punt and a successful tackle-eligible pass by the Bills, the latter for a touchdown.
Bowles said what he always says when asked about his job status, which is nothing. He did say that Christopher Johnson “has been great” and speaks to him every Monday and Thursday. He expected to talk to him on Monday as usual.
That should be interesting. Firing coaches in-season generally is considered a drastic action in the NFL. But heck, the lordly Giants did it last season, so who knows?
Afterward, Bowles’ players proved nobody circles the wagons like a team that has been routed by the Buffalo Bills.
Jamal Adams: “Again, T- Bowles is not the problem. We’ll ride with T-Bowles until the end . . . I don’t care what the fans say. It’s T-Bowles, man. I’m going to support my coach through thick and thin.”
Morris Claiborne: “He definitely knows football and knows what he’s talking about and knows how to coach players.”
Brandon Copeland: “I don’t think anybody in this locker room has given up on our coach or this coaching staff.”
There was much more where that came from. Bowles should be proud that his players feel that way and of the fact that he lasted long enough to become the dean of active coaches and managers among the area’s nine NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL teams.
He also has conducted himself with class and professionalism since arriving as a local guy from Elizabeth, New Jersey.
But it’s almost over now.