The New York Jets opened the 2023-24 season with Super Bowl aspirations. But another disastrous season will end Sunday in the regular season finale against the New England Patriots. The Jets have not advanced to the postseason since 2010 and will continue swimming in a sea of mediocrity as long as chairman and co-owner Woody Johnson is calling the shots.
Johnson, a great-grandson of one of the three brothers who founded Johnson & Johnson, bought the franchise in 2000. During his tenure, New York has produced a lone AFC East title while finishing third or fourth a whopping 15 times. Johnson is the reason the Jets have the longest active playoff drought in North American sports.
The inept executive has had seven coaches and six general managers since acquiring the team. His most recent hires, head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas, have failed miserably. Saleh has won just 17 of 50 games while roaming the Jets sideline, and Douglas's track record is even worse. Since taking over the football operations in 2019, New York has posted an ugly 26-56 mark. But that's good enough for Johnson to bring the duo back next season.
"My decision is to keep them," Johnson told the New York Post before the Jets win over the Commanders in Week 16. "I think we've had some very positive moves. The culture of the team is a lot better. The defense is better. The offense needs a few pieces."
Despite being an NFL owner, it's obvious Johnson is clueless when it comes to evaluating his team. Sure, Aaron Rodgers went down with a season-ending injury after just four plays into the opening game. But the Jets still possessed more than enough talent to compete for a playoff spot.
"Just to keep the continuity going with Aaron and the team we've got," Johnson explained. "Like I said a year ago, we need a quarterback. We had a quarterback for four plays. Since then we haven't been able to replace him. If we have a good quarterback, it makes everybody's job easier. It makes the line better, the receivers better."
It's a good bet that Rodgers influenced Johnson's decision to retain Saleh and Douglas. But the incompetent co-owner failed to address that the Jets could have signed a veteran quarterback to replace Rodgers and helped the team compete for a playoff spot.
Joe Flacco played for New York from 2020 to 2022. He is not only a former Super Bowl MVP, but he has won over 100 games as an NFL starting quarterback. But Douglas and Saleh opted to ride with the likes of Zach Wilson (12-21), Tim Boyle (0-5), and Trevor Siemian (14-18). If the Jets leadership believed that their trio of unimpressive signal-callers were better than Flacco, and ultimately they did think this, no way the Jets should not be cleaning house on Black Monday.
The Cleveland Browns were smart enough to sign Flacco off his couch and rescue their playoff hopes after Deshaun Watson was lost for the season. The veteran quarterback has tallied 1,616 passing yards and 13 scoring strikes while leading the playoff-bound Browns to four wins in five games. For the record, Wilson has eight touchdown passes in 12 games.
"Never regret," Saleh said before Flacco led the Browns to a 37-20 victory over the Jets last Sunday. "You always go into things with what you hope being a sound decision. Every decision we make comes with deep thought and logic. But no, there's no regret."
Although it's all hypothetical, imagine how the Jets season could have been transformed with Flacco under center this season. It's doubtful Cleveland beats New York with P.J. Walker or Jeff Driskel directing the Browns' offense. But the Jets could likely have ended their record-setting NFL playoff absence.
Running back Breece Hall has recovered from the ACL injury he suffered in 2022 that cost him a chance to compete for the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. The second-year stud has 816 yards on 186 carries along with 74 receptions for 579 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns.
"I can score any time I touch the ball. I don't think that's a bad thing or anything like that," Hall said. "I feel like the quarterback is going to take what the defense is giving them. You can't force anything because if you force something, you're turning the ball over."
Wideout Garrett Wilson, the league's top offensive rookie a year ago, has posted solid numbers despite the Jet's underwhelming quarterbacks. The speedy playmaker has caught 93 balls for 1,003 yards and three scores. New York had a wealth of talent on offense besides Rodgers, and Douglas' decision not to sign a veteran quarterback he was familiar with is inexcusable.
Unfortunately, Jets' fans are stuck with a bumbling co-owner who has a history of making bad decisions. The longest active playoff drought in the NFL should have ended this season. But with Johnson in charge of the Jets franchise, the postseason will continue to be a dream instead of a reality.