No-one likes to lose. It’s a horrible feeling. And to do it when there are thousands of people in the stadium and millions watching across the world must really dampen the upcoming week.
However, when you have a roster devoid of talent and a head coach fearing for his job, it made sense that the New York Jets went into this season with genuine fears they could finish 0-16.
At 5-7, this team has silenced critics by showing fight and determination that many didn’t believe was there.
While Head Coach Todd Bowles said during the off-season that this team wasn’t tanking, no-one believed him. Players were shipped out of the door, allowed to leave in free agency and when you go into the season with Josh McCown as your starting quarterback, that stinks of tanking.
But when you are picking the top-10 of the draft, not only are you brining the best young talent in the country but you are also bringing in natural-born winners. These kids don’t know how to lose. They don’t know how to tank. So you bring that winning-mentality into a locker room and it is going to rub off on players.
You saw the defence dance and get hyped at the end of the demolition of the Buffalo Bills, a sign of just how much this team has enjoyed playing the underdog this season.
Receivers Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse have performed lights out this season and while some fans would have wanted the team to fail in order to get the number-1 pick in 2018 and draft a Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen, that’s almost impossible to do when you have players in the locker room who don’t know how to lose.
This isn’t a team that is a QB away from a Super Bowl. But this is certainly a team that is a few pieces away from having genuine play-off hopes over the next few seasons. As always, it will mean hitting on draft picks next year and potentially hitting on a few players in free agency.
But going into September with everyone agreeing you would go 0-16 to the outskirts of the play-offs, in a terrible AFC it must be noted, is something that should be applauded.
“It’s not necessarily proving people wrong,” Kearse said this week. “It’s proving the people who believed in us right. We don’t necessarily worry about the people who doubted us, but the people who support us and have our back. We do it for them.”