One of the more interesting sports books I've read is The Bad Guys Won by Jeff Pearlman. For those who think that name sounds familiar, it's because Pearlman wrote one of the relatively recent biographies of Barry Bonds, Love Me Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero. Pearlman's book The Bad Guys Won is a look at the 1986 New York Mets, which was a team filled with all sorts of confidence and wild personalities. It's hard to fathom that kind of team existing today with the oversaturation of media coverage and the generally suspicious nature with which many athletes treat the press.
I bring all this up because Andrew Sharp had a great post yesterday at SBNation.com in which he compared the current New York Jets to that 1986 New York Mets team. The general idea is that the Jets are filled with all these crazy personalities that somehow mesh together as a team that embodies a sort of general villainy we don't see very often in sports.
After the Jets beat the Patriots on Sunday, I found myself thinking about everything the Jets embody. In looking at Rex Ryan, the most immediate comparison I could think of was to famed WWF manager Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. I tweeted that out and one person responded comparing the current Jets to the WWF's Nation of Domination when it was headed up by The Rock. If I were to make a football comparison, these Jets might compare to the cocky early-90s Cowboys.
And yet, as I think it over, I come back to the 1986 Mets. I think these Jets are becoming an over the top villain and they're embracing this role. And I have to be honest, I'm starting to warm to it. Individually I'm not a big fan of many of their players. And yet, as a team there's something entertaining about them. Do I need to slap myself or dump a bucket of cold water over my head, or is anybody else starting to find some entertainment value in the Jets?
As we head into the conference championship weekend I've found it hard to get behind any of the teams remaining. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, but they're still the Packers. I'd root for the Bears but Jay Cutler is hard to root for and Mike Martz is a little too insufferable. And really there's just nothing all that entertaining about this year's version of the Bears. As long as Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward are members of the Pittsburgh Steelers I'm finding it hard to root for them.
That leaves the New York Jets. The Bad Boys, if you will, of the NFL. To look at how ridiculous they are, read over this paragraph from Andrew's post:
Don't get me wrong. On an individual basis, it's easy to hate the Jets. Mark Sanchez is basically the Vincent Chase of the Jets' Entourage, and he plays quarterback about as well as Adrian Grenier acts. Braylon Edwards is the superstar wide receiver that drops passes, gets a DUI, and then inquires about a modeling career. Darrelle Revis spent the offseason holding out for a record contract, then spent much of 2010 playing himself into shape. The other cornerback, Antonio Cromartie, is the one that can't remember the names of his kids. All of whom are coached by Rex Ryan, the guy with a personal life so infamous, his critics have forgotten about the offseason incident where he allegedly encouraged sexual harassment.
These are not guys you like to root for on a daily basis. And yet, when I view them as a team, I can't help myself. I kind of feel dirty, like it's my guilty pleasure. Is anybody else feeling this way or do you detest the Jets with ease?