The Ravens beat the NY Jets last night 10-9 to start the NFL season the right way for the purple and black. For whatever reason, I’ve never liked the NY Jets for most of my “career” as an NFL fan. I can’t really tell you why, I just never have. I guess I always saw them as the weak step-sister of NY football so to speak. It didn’t help when Vinny Testaverde, who I always saw as an embarassment to Italian-Americans, joined the Jets in the end of his career. Nevertheless, I’m glad the Ravens beat them.
Everyone chronicled the Darrelle Revis situation for most of the summer leading into training camp, preseason, and now the regular season. Personally, I think that cases as such shed a bad light on professional sports. The way I see it through my “civilian eyes,” Revis signed a contract when he came into the league. By holding out for more money, he effectively welshed on a contract that had been signed. Suddenly, he felt that he was worth more than what he was being paid, so he decided to hold out. Ultimately, he got his way and signed a new deal on September 5th. Not only did he get his payday, but he also missed all of camp and the entire preseason. Yet on the Jets’ first defensive series of the game last night he was in the game. Not only that, but according to ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew, the Jets’ fans applauded his presence during the TV timeout.
In the same regard, this game was played up a lot by the fact that Rex Ryan wanted to beat the Ravens because he felt that Steve Bisciotti made the wrong decision in not hiring him as the head coach. I suppose in a way I can understand that. We’ve all been turned down for jobs that we felt we should have gotten. Heck, at my current job I recently had an associate offered a promotion, and the reasons that corporate gave for wanting to promote this person were aspects of the operation that I had done. In my heart I wasn’t very happy about that, but I didn’t throw down my pad of paper and walk away. However, the person that they promoted did try to go the Darrelle Revis route and tell the corporate office that the compensation they offered wasn’t sufficent; they rescinded the promotion. That aside, this game was made for TV in that the media probably wanted the Jets to win so they could talk about how Ryan was snubbed and he got his revenge. Last I checked, John Harbaugh seems to be working out okay for the Ravens, and Ryan’s made out pretty well.
I suppose that the moral of the story is that if you win, you’re suddenly granted the right to have a degree of arrogance. I think that sends a bad message. Last year the whole story of Mark Sanchez eating a hot dog on the sidelines during a game was somewhat glossed over…the Jets made it to the AFC Championship game. Had they finished the season 5-11, Sanchez probably would have been crucified as the season wore down. How many legal problems and off-field issues did Michael Irving have during his career? Yet media and fans alike allowed him to get away with it because he won. Personally I think T.O. is a bum, and he’s not granted the same courtesy as Michael Irving was (even though his problems don’t come close to those Irving had), because he’s not thought of as a perennial winner. However the one year that the Eagles went to the Super Bowl people talked about how tough he was to play hurt and so forth. Survey says, there’s a bit of a correllation there.
As a kid that grew up watching the likes of Cal Ripken Jr, Art Monk, and Darrel Green, that’s kind of the attitude that I think athletes should have. The Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1991 with quarterback Mark Rypien winning the MVP. Over the course of the off season he held out for more money, which he was ultimately given in a new contract; as a result, Rypien was booed in the first preseason game at RFK Stadium the following year. In 1994 the Redskins drafted Heath Shuler, who held out for $19 million, which was ultimately granted. Shuler turned out to be a bust, but the Redskin fans never took to him because of his holdout. Yet had he been an instant success like Mark Sanchez, would he have been cheered? Maybe, but we should also keep in mind that we’re talking about a different era and time. Many people accept the fact that Bill Belichek and Tom Brady routinely run up the score on teams, because they win. The fact that the New York Yankees have such a high payroll and throw around the fact that they can outspend people is accepted because they’re perennial contenders. When the Washington Redskins throw money around people say that they’re being stupid with money because they aren’t thought of as a perennial contender. Even the Dallas Cowboys, whom I despise, get a bad rap for having the audacity to build a monstrocity of a new stadium with $100K seats. Go figure, the Cowboys have won one playoff game since 1996.
Winning and losing has unfortunately become the line that people have to toe in order to “have the right” to be arrogant. I suppose that I’m still cut from the mold where you should never do anything to disrespect the game regardless of whether you win or lose. Jumping around like you’ve won the world series after a home run is disrespectful to the game of baseball in my opinion, yet the Boston Red Sox get away with it because they’re thought of as winners. The antics of Darrelle Revis were disrespectful to the game of football; the Jets went to the playoffs last year and are thus winners. What he’s done is no better or worse than what Albert Haynesworth does, yet Revis isn’t thought of as a goat as is Haynesworth. Ultimately, your goal should be to win the game and most importantly to be respectful to it and it’s history. Ultimately, the Ravens did that last night.