It was just two weeks ago that MetLife Stadium was home to a two-day football-palooza (as coined here at least) which was going to alter the course of the sport in this city (as claimed here) and usher in an age of excitement (here) and joy (here again) for the many downtrodden fans of the two franchises who call it home.
Two short weeks. Two very long short weeks.
The Giants and Jets will reprise their double dip of prime-time home games this coming weekend, only now, the most intriguing story line among them seems to be whether the biggest pop star in the world will show up to root on Kansas City’s tight end on Sunday night.
Swift? Yep, that is exactly what the twin demises of the two actual tenants of MetLife have been.
We’ve been rooked. Jobbed. Swindled and bamboozled.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
But here we are, once again forced to watch Zach Wilson try to salvage his career and the Jets’ hopes of contending with a roster that is otherwise poised for success. Once again subjected to watching the Giants defense pretend to tackle opponents and the O-line fail to block for Daniel Jones.
And once again we’ll have to watch both on national television, the Jets facing the defending Super Bowl champs who are coming off a 41-10 drubbing of the Bears on Sunday night and the Giants hosting Geno Smith and the Seahawks on Monday.
These two seasons took almost immediate nosedives in their opening minutes, the Giants having their field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown by the Cowboys, the Jets watching Aaron Rodgers’ lower leg explode on his fourth play in their uniform.
If not for a thrilling punt return by Jets rookie Xavier Gipson and one half of MVP-caliber play from Jones against the Cardinals, both teams could very easily be 0-3 right now. As it is, they are both 1-2 and facing existential issues in Week 4 of a 17-game season.
The Jets are the bigger disappointment. They are the ones who crowed about crows — remember Robert Saleh’s wildlife lesson about how eagles defend themselves? — and set up the ’85 Bears defensive expectations and kept talking overtly about the Super Bowl. How silly all of that seems now. How quickly dated that patter has become.
They didn’t volunteer to be on “Hard Knocks,” but they didn’t have to give us so many juicy scenes to throw back at them when they were forced to be on the show, either.
What’s worse is they have a quarterback who isn’t just bad, he’s almost impossible to root for. There are plenty of teams around the league who get subpar production and infuriating performances from that most important position in the sport. Very few of those quarterbacks have exhausted the patience of their fan bases the way Wilson has. His cause for optimism that he and the Jets will be able to turn things around before this season becomes a complete failure?
“The NFL is crazy,” he said on Sunday. “I think it starts there.”
Basically he is counting on the fickle bounces of the oblong leather spheroid to save him and the team.
At least the Giants seem to have a better chance against Seattle. The Seahawks are not in the same class as the Cowboys or 49ers, the two teams that have exposed their weaknesses and lack of improvement so far this season. But look, who is that up on the horizon? Oh, the 70 point-scoring Dolphins in Week 5. It’s why the Giants need to win Monday night if they have any chance of remaining relevant.
Both the Giants and the Jets need to show some organizational urgency this week. They need to make changes to their schemes and, where necessary, their personnel. They need to at least give us a reason to keep tuning in to this season that is on the precipice of dreadful and showing no signs of hitting the brakes before reaching that cliff.
Back in the spring, when the whole football world seemed to revolve around New York, Taylor Swift brought her mega concert to MetLife Stadium and in the audience Rodgers waved his arms and dreamed about the confetti from that show falling on the Jets after they won a championship.
If she winds up coming back to East Rutherford this weekend, it certainly won’t be to return the favor and watch Rodgers perform. He’s gone from the picture.
Worse, his aspirations and manifestations won’t be around, either. That’s the part we have been robbed of. And all so sickeningly quickly.
In just two weeks, New York’s football-palooza has turned into something else. Welcome to football-pa-loser.