Let me set the stage for a moment here. I have a relative – – the son of a niece – – who is a senior in high school. He is an excellent student with a superior GPA while taking multiple AP courses; he could go on and do just about anything he wants to do as a career. Right now, what he wants to do is to be a sports journalist. [Aside: When I was his age, my goal was to be a radio play-by-play announcer for major league baseball; life does not always turn out the way we might prefer…] Whenever I think there is a topic that might interest him in one of these rants, I send him an email link to the rant and often he responds with a comment or criticism.
Yesterday’s rant about the President of Notre Dame and his campus actions relative to the “field-storming event” seemed to me to be something this young man might find interesting and so I sent the link to him. Last evening, I got a response from him that I want to share here. Remember, this is written by a senior in high school:
“ … the field storming was a clear and obvious violation of campus protocol for COVID-19 spread prevention. At first, I was inclined to take the ‘hypocrite’ route with Notre Dame’s president after all the (justified) press he got for his negligence during the Justice ACB ceremony. However, I must say I’m dissuaded from that stance by what you raise: The Reverend did not allow his own embarrassing misstep to prevent taking action that is ultimately in the student body’s (and community’s) best interest. One might say he had no choice, but in fact he did. There’s been inaction (with dire effects) in plenty (plenty being too many) institutions nationally. Rev could have thrown his hands up to basically cover his behind from the ACB event, essentially throwing a ‘We’re all even now’ back to the student body. But ND had virus issues early this academic year, and my thought is the president doesn’t want any part of that again, which is a highly responsible objective.”
When I was a high school senior, I was fortunate to be able to put two sentences back-to-back that had the following characteristics:
- They were both grammatically and syntactically correct – – and – –
- The two sentences related one to the other in at least a semi-logical fashion.
Kudos to this young aspiring sports journalist…
A lot – and perhaps too much – attention has been paid to the NY Jets failure to win a single game to date this year. Many folks have opined that the team is “Tanking for Trevor” to set up next year’s NFL Draft; plenty of other folks have called for Adam Gase’s head on a plate; ownership – in the person of Christopher Johnson – has been assailed as so dumb that it took him 3 years to learn how to grunt. I believe there is an aspect of the Jets’ situation that has not received nearly the attention it deserves purely based on the standard it may set.
- Gregg Williams is the Jets’ defensive coordinator, and the team may in fact finish the season with an 0-16 record.
- Gregg Williams was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2017 when the Browns finished with an 0-16 record.
Imagine for a moment that the Jets finish 0-16 making Williams the defensive coordinator for two of the three most embarrassing seasons in NFL history. The only other person on the planet who would be in position to tie his ignominious record would be Joe Barry who was the defensive coordinator of the Lions back on 2008 when they proved to the world that an NFL team could indeed lose all 16 of its games in a single season.
By no means am I trying to imply that Gregg Williams bears even the majority of the responsibility for the frustration felt by Jets’ fans this year. The roster is a mess; the team culture cannot be all that great when the best players on the roster from last year all forced their way out of town; the drafting has been “spotty at best”. Gregg Williams does not have a ton of talent to deal with.
At the same time, the 2020 NY Jets are within shouting distance of a record that no team wants to have:
- In 1981, the Baltimore Colts finished that 16-game season with a point differential of minus-274 points. [For the record, the expansion Bucs in 1976 finished a 14-game season at minus-286 points but I choose to look at the record for comparable season length here.]
- In 2020, the NY Jets point differential after 9 games is minus-147 points. Doing a linear extrapolation, they would finish the year at minus-261 points.
There is an amazing trifecta to follow here:
- The Jets may join a rather exclusive club as the third team never to win a game in a 16-game season.
- Gregg Williams may be the defensive coordinator on two of the three teams never to win a game in a 16-game season.
- The Colts’ record of minus-274 point differential for a 16-game season is within the reach of the 2020 NY Jets.
Finally, since I mentioned a young and aspiring sports journalist above, it is important to note that the profession of journalism sprang from the invention of the printing press and moveable type. So, let me close with a pertinent definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Gutenberg, Johannes: Fifteenth-century printer who originated the mass production of moveable type. If someone could have gone back in time to let Gutenberg know that his invention would lead to such things as The Bridges of Madison County, Dianetics and a magazine called Family Circle, perhaps he would never have gone through with it.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………