Hackett: Patriots fans already got a gift this week with Jets press conference

Jim Hackett
January 17, 2019 - 8:00 am

By now you’ve seen the video and the memes at least once if not a few hundred times. So once again while Patriots fans across New England rejoiced in their team’s masterpiece on Sunday, Monday’s presser in New York featuring new Jets head coach Adam Gase left Jets fans reaching for the Maalox yet again. 

After watching the Adam Gase press conference a couple of times now, I firmly believe that it was the simple realization of actually being announced as head coach of the New York Jets that caused his eyes to take a tour of the solar system in real time. Like Red in The Shawshank Redemption famously said, "When they put you in that cell, when those bars slam home, that’s when you know it’s for real." From this angle, the soon to be timeless Adam Gase eyeball tour was fueled in his shocking realization of actually agreeing to life with the New York Jets.

In fairness to Gase, I have some close friends that are Jets fans and eye rolls are nothing new for any of them, but this was a whole new level of eye roll, this was flat out crazy, definitely concerning and to a certain degree disturbing and that’s coming from a 40-plus-year Patriots fan! Weird? Definitely. Surprising? Not for Jets fans. As my longtime friend and WEEI cohost Pete Davidson once said of the famous "Butt Fumble" on Thanksgiving night 2012, "Jets fans call that… Thursday."

It’s been a long time since Broadway Joe led the Jets to the promised-land in Super Bowl III.  Fifty years to be exact. Fifty years! Prior to 2004 that would have seemed like a stroll in the park for Boston sports fans who were nursing 86 years of yearning and broken hearts for its beloved baseball team. The last 50 years of futility for the Jets however, has been less about broken hearts and near misses and more about shame and utter embarrassment. 

Some of my favorite Jets embarrassments include Rex Ryan’s foot fetish and the departure of their most coveted prize, Darrelle Revis; who they let leave town, only to watch him win a Super Bowl with their arch nemesis New England Patriots just two years later. Ouch. 

Of course, no summary of the long line of Jets tragedies would be complete without the quote that kicked it all off here in New England from the greatest coach in all of sports - "I hereby resign as HC of the NYJ" written on a cocktail napkin no less. Looking back it was perfect. The coup de gras and I haven’t even mentioned the Rich Kotite era and my favorite all-time Jets whipping boy, Richard Todd yet. Somewhere I hope Patriots Hall of Famer Steve Nelson is smiling.

So when Twitter exploded with Monday’s most recent Jets oddity, I most certainly wasn’t surprised. The announcement of the Gase hiring was met with an underwhelming reaction well before the official press conference took place. Gase, known as a good offensive mind and a bit of a quarterback whisperer fit the suit for an organization looking to progress its young, talented and hope inspiring rookie quarterback, Sam Darnold. Though you could hear the collective yawn all the way up here 180 miles north of the New York border when the official announcement dropped. Then the Monday press conference came. 


Didn’t see that one coming. While waiting to field a question from the local press, it looked like Gase was eyeballing an orchestra of octopi twirling batons as deafening silence filled the pressroom. I’m really not trying to be mean here, it’s not personal, it’s just another very prominent abnormality in the saga and soap opera that has long lingered over the New York Jets. 

To get a better sense of what it must have felt like to be a Jets fan in this latest bizarre chapter, I contacted a couple of friends in New York for perspective. These guys are lifelong Jets fans spanning 40+ years. I get it, as a New Englander you may not feel sorry for them initially, but trust me, you should. 

Tuesday 1/15, 1:11 pm, Phone Call with Joho:

After 22 minutes of Joho venting (quite comically I might add) I can best summarize his reaction to ‘eyeball-gate’ and the Gase press conference in two words – “What now?” 

The exhaustion in his voice was tangible. “What now” perfectly describes the collective mindset for Jets fans; like Wile E. Coyote just waiting for the next anvil to drop on his head, it’s just a matter of time.

Tuesday 1/15, 7:42 pm, Text conversation with Angry Lou:

“My first thought was what the expletive is wrong with this guy? Then I followed the new Twitter account “Adam Gase’s eyes” it’s funny.”

“I hated the hire anyway so the press conference did nothing to help. Because all our teams expletive right now. In this town image and first impression are everything and he failed at that. If he battles with the media like he did in Miami they’ll murder him. I really hope I’m wrong and will eat crow if I am, but it seems like another bad hire and we’ll be doing this again in 3 years.”

I don’t miss those days do you? I guess the moral of the story is to enjoy what we have in New England, because win or lose Sunday we’re a long way away from the soul-destroying crap that Jets fans have been dealing with. 

Regarding Sunday, I think the Patriots are going to win and another quote from The Shawshank Redemption now certainly applies. "Hope is a good thing." Patriots fans, be happy you have it because not every fan does, just take a drive three hours south for proof. If you happen to see a couple of long-faced Jets fans in a bar, say hi to Joho and Angry for me will you please.