Jets can’t shake the curse of Broadway Joe – The Denver Post


The Jets may turn out to be dead wrong with Zach Wilson the way they were dead wrong about Sam Darnold. It would mean that they were dead wrong about the No. 2 pick in the draft the way they were with the No. 3 pick a few years before. It would also be a very Jets thing to have happened, and feel like some sort of world record, at a position for them that has become cursed over time. Call it the Curse of Broadway Joe.

Wilson just played one of the worst games anybody could remember a New York or New Jersey quarterback playing in a big spot, against the Patriots last Sunday, had ever played. It looked as if he was never going to complete a pass in the second half or move the ball and it was 3-3 before the roof caved in on the Jets at the end the way it did when Derek Carr threw what became a walk-off touchdown pass to Henry Ruggs two years ago, effectively punching Adam Gase’s ticket out of Florham Park.

And when it was over last Sunday, they asked Wilson if he thought he had let his defense down he said, “No,” a one-word answer that has been treated since like the crime of the century.

Was it the wrong answer? Everybody knows it was the wrong answer, starting with Wilson once the blowback nearly blew him over. He finally walked it back with his teammates. Too late. By the time he did the piling on with the Jets’ 23-year-old, second-year quarterback has been almost breathtaking. He got hit harder this week than he has been yet by any blitzing defensive player from the other team.

And now, at least for the time being, Wilson loses his job as the Jets starter. It’s because of everything that happened on the field and then off it in Foxboro last Sunday afternoon. And the fact that he was 5-2 as a starter this season with the Jets (despite his less-than-stellar personal stats), the fact that he was 5-0 against teams not coached by Bill Belichick, didn’t matter even a little bit.

Saleh says that Wilson’s post-game comment wasn’t a factor in his benching. Come on. Wilson had made himself an easy target by the way he played against the Patriots, throwing for just 77 yards and nearly wearing out his own punter and doing everything except being caught on a hot sideline mic talking about seeing ghosts. Then when it was over, he turned himself into a pinata, and people have been whacking away at him ever since.

Just saying no turned out to be a disaster. So Mike White gets the start against the Bears on Sunday, and if he plays well and the Jets win, there is no telling when Wilson might get another start this season for the Jets. Even before the punt return that was the same as a walk-off from the Patriots, at halftime last Sunday, I got an email from a longtime, long-suffering Jets fan I know.

It read this way:

“I’ve been fighting this thought for weeks, but I can no longer shake the feeling that Zach Wilson might stink.”

I have always thought that being wrong with a quarterback taken high up in the draft can set your program back five years. It is exactly what happened with Darnold, who is in Carolina now, and about to reclaim his starting job there after the Panthers had given up on him to the extent that they went out and traded for Baker Mayfield. This is the same Mayfield whom the Browns took with the very first pick in the draft four years ago. Two picks before the Jets drafted Sam Darnold. Sometimes it seems that everything is connected.

The Giants took Daniel Jones at No. 6, and still aren’t sure about him, even with the progress that Jones has made this season. And no one is sure how things will play out with Jones when this season is over. Will the Giants have seen enough to offer him a rich, long-term deal? Would he accept a shorter, team-friendly deal? They can’t franchise him, because if they do, they’re going to have to pay him $40 million in 2023. It’s going to come down to how much they believe in him, how much they’re willing to pay and how much he wants to stay.

The Giants are in this situation with Jones as he’s about to play his 50th game. Wilson has now played 20. And if Wilson isn’t the guy, and if White isn’t more than a seat-filler, it means that the Jets, despite the way the defense has played this season — and we sort of need to pump the brakes on treating the guys on this defense like the ‘85 Bears — have reached what feels like about the 50th crossroads at the quarterback position they’ve reached in the more than 50 years since Joe Namath won Super Bowl III. They can’t draft another quarterback in the first round. They just can’t. They have to go get one.

Is there some reasonable shot that they could go after someone like Aaron Rodgers, and hope that he can come here and do better as a Jet, and for more than one season, than a Packers quarterback named Brett Favre? Is that even close to being a realistic dream for Jets fans? Or, if the Jets are even considering making a play for a veteran quarterback, do they run the other way when they look at what’s happening with Russell Wilson in Denver?

In a season when so much good has happened, the Jets find themselves in a bad place at quarterback and stop me if you’ve heard that one before. They can’t give up on Wilson after seven starts this season. Is he Tua Tagovailoa, who got benched in Miami and had people down there doubting him from Key West to Palm Beach and has now come back to play like the star he was at Alabama? No one is suggesting that he is, or that playing for Nick Saban was the same as playing at Brigham Young. But all you heard about Tua, and now long ago, was what a mistake the Dolphins had made not going for Justin Herbert instead.

It’s worth wondering where we’d be with Wilson right now if the Jets had somehow gotten to overtime and somehow won that ugly game against the Patriots. They would have gone into first place in the division, and Wilson would have been 6-1 as a starter, the one loss being 22-17 to the Belichicks at MetLife.

Zach Wilson had a terrible game, followed by a worse week. Maybe we should have expected it. He does, after all, play quarterback for the Jets. Larry David has been a Jets fan since he was a kid. Here’s what he said to me about Wilson the other day:

“They would have ruined Mahomes.”


Here’s something David O’Brien of The Athletic tweeted out the other day:

“When I hear someone say Aaron Judge wouldn’t leave the Yankees for the Giants if he wants to win, I can’t help but think, haven’t the Giants won three World Series since the Yankees played in one?”

He’s absolutely right.

There’s always this notion in the Yankee media that if Judge wants to win, he has to stay.

Win what?

The AL East occasionally?

The other notion, constantly, around here is that the Yankees are only a couple of moves away.

The last time they were a couple of moves away the moves were CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.

That was during Obama’s first term.

By the way?

The wisdom on where Aaron Judge might be playing next season goes right back to the great William Goldman, and his book “Adventures in the Screen Trade”:

Nobody knows anything.

Except for No. 99 himself.

There’s still Patrick Mahomes right now in pro football and everybody else.

The football Giants are really well-coached, without a doubt.

They’ve had a ton of injuries.

They play hard, and played hard until the end against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

And might be a playoff team in the end.

They also might be 7-7 before you know it.

The Jets wouldn’t be better than the Dolphins even if they had a quarterback playing as well as the Tua has played in Miami so far.

And they wouldn’t be better than the Bills, whether they got that win over the Bills or not.

For the last time:

I don’t know if Zach Wilson can be a winner in the NFL and neither do you and neither do the Jets.

But I have watched every game he’s played this season, and I continue to believe that he needs to be coached up a lot better than he’s being coached up by Mike LaFleur, who said as much himself the other day.

Okay, here’s my Mt. Rushmore for the Giants:

Frank Gifford.

Lawrence Taylor.

Michael Strahan.

Eli Manning.

That’s my four, even though Mr. Simms is one of my favorite athletes ever around here.

If the Nets can find a taker for Kyrie Irving, they should trade him now.

Because the pairing of him and Kevin Durant has already come as close to working as it ever will.

If the Lakers still want Kyrie, they should make the best deal they can for him and move on, goodbye to this guy and good riddance.


Happy birthday to our youngest, Hannah Grace.

I have said this before about her and say it again today:

The girl in the mouse ears grew up.

Into this truly spectacular young woman.

Still on her way to her ultimate goal of world domination.



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