Mike Lupica: We Need to Slow Down the Super Bowl Talk If Desperate Jets Land Desperate Aaron Rodgers

By now, we know all the reasons why the Jets need to take this big swing at Aaron Rodgers. They hope he can do for them what Tom Brady did for the Bucs. And what Matthew Stafford did for the Rams. They know he has a lot more going for him than Peyton Manning did when the Broncos won their first Super Bowl since John Elway, even though Peyton didn’t have much to do with it until the end.

At this point, even people in outer space know why the Jets are doing this, why they need to do it, as they try to become something more than a football irrelevance, not just in the league, but right here.

But the teenage idea that this is suddenly Super Bowl or burnout for this particular Jets team happens to be bananas, whether Rodgers has been here for a year or two or even longer.

Start here, because it’s as good a place to start as any:

Since Rodgers played in his only Super Bowl 12 years ago, he has gone 0-for-4 in NFC Championship games against Seattle and Atlanta and San Francisco and Tampa Bay. And the Jets? Since they won their only Super Bowl 1,200 years ago, they happened to go 0-for-4 in AFC Championship games, against the Dolphins in the mud, against John Elway once in Denver, against the Colts and Steelers when Rex Ryan was the coach. In the case of Rodgers and the Jets, it could end up being the one about the irresistible force and the immovable object. If they are not both the immovable object. And that object is history. His and theirs.

Don’t get me wrong: I want this to happen, and not just for Jets fans, just for the entertainment it will provide and the must-have nature of it all. I want it to happen, even though it might not. There’s always a big qualifier here: It’s the Jets. Things don’t just go sideways for them, they often go straight into a ditch. If you don’t believe that, look at the last two quarterbacks they’ve seen wanting to build a dream on:

Sam Darnold.

Zach Wilson.

But suppose the deal ends and Rodgers becomes the number 12 they’ve been looking for since Joe Namath was No. 12. We can already see what a show this is going to be, in addition to being one of the great sports dramas we’ve ever had in New York sports. Do you know why there will be this kind of drama? Because desperate people often create great drama, and we have four desperate people involved in this one:

Woody Johnson.

Joe Douglas.

Robert Saleh.

Aaron Rodgers himself.

Call them the Green Gang of Four.

The first three are the producers. Rodgers will be the star as long as he’s here and for as long as he has. But make no mistake: in their own way, they are all desperate characters.

Johnson is desperate to put points on the board for the first time since Rex was his coach and Mark Sanchez was enough of a quarterback to play in an AFC Championship game as a rookie and then do the same thing next year. Douglas and Saleh are easy. They’re just looking to keep the best jobs either of them will ever have in the NFL.

Then there’s Rodgers, who wants to be the coolest guy in the room (sometimes a dark room) but is absolutely desperate to win another Lombardi Trophy; shows he can go to the Jets and what he does Brady did when he went to the Bucsand Stafford did with the Rams, and even Peyton, even throwing like he was left-handed at the end, helped do it for the Broncos.

By the way? The Jets don’t just need a quarterback again. They need a star. Rodgers has been a star since taking over for Brett Favre when the Jets made the same play for Favre that they are now trying to make with Rodgers. At his best, while he was winning all those MVP awards and that Lombardi Trophy, he played the position as creatively and magically and well as it’s ever been played in pro football.

But next December 2, he will be 40 years old. There’s only one quarterback that old (or older) that has ever made the difference on a Super Bowl winning team, and that’s Brady. He was 41 when he won his last Super Bowl with the Patriots. Then he went to Tampa and won one more at age 44.

It’s another area where Rodgers, as great as he was and, at his best, legendarily great, runs afoul of history. But if he gets to Florham Park and ends up playing his home games at MetLife Stadium, he’ll face something else: The fact that the team he’s joining, for all its promising talent on both sides of the ball, is extremely overrated. Because here’s another notion that’s also bananas, even for the most giddy of Jets fans:

That these jets are one player – him – away from winning it all.

Spoiler alert: I’m not.

Of course I want him (and even if you can make a much better case for them going hard after Lamar Jackson, even with his injury issues of late). Everyone wants to see Rodgers come in here and try to change the sad, lost narrative surrounding the Jets. It won’t just be fun to watch him try. It’s going to be a lot of fun watching him try to save Douglas, who thought Zach Wilson was the answer. And give Saleh a chance to prove he’s a great head coach on both sides of the ball. And if it all works out, Rodgers will finally turn Johnson into something other than the Other Owner of the Other Team in New York and New Jersey.

Get this: Rodgers is going to sign up for a lot. But the real Jets fans I know—there are some, don’t worry—realize that what they’re after here is a return to the playoffs; chance to play meaningful games again in January. I’m not saying the Jets can’t win a Super Bowl with Rodgers. The comparable here is Matthew Stafford, and Stafford, on his best day, was never the quarterback that Rodgers was.

There’s a lot to like about this, more to like than to dislike if you’re a Jets fan. But there’s a lot that could go wrong here, too. The Jets need to buy into what Rodgers is selling.

Attention buyer. Expectations, especially.



There is no more powerful — and more profitable — mystique in all of sports, and perhaps in the history of sports, than that of the NFL quarterback being the most important position in the all of sport.

This is why teams make big bets, and sometimes extraordinarily bad bets, on quarterbacks all the time.

The Jets did it with Darnold and Wilson.

The Giants are doing it with Daniel Jones right now. offering him a contract that could be worth $160 millionso much of the one playoff win, even if it was an impressive one, against the Minnesota Viking defenses.

But the Cardinals did the same with Kyler Murray, who will never win a championship.

The Browns just did it with Deshaun Watson, who won the only title he will ever win at Clemson.

Everyone is still looking for the next Brady.

Or the next Mahomes.

The problem is that there could only be two such things in the modern world of pro football.

How could you not be happy for Princeton the other day?

How could you not be happy for Furman?

And how could your heart not break a little for Virginia’s Kihei Clark, who threw the ball to Furman at the end and cost his team the season?

Four years ago, it was Clark who scooped up a ball late in an Elite Eight game against Purdue and threw it to Mamadi Diakite, who made the shot that forced overtime in an ultimately won game by the Cavaliers, on their way to victory. the national championship.

They don’t win the title without Clark making a play and a pass, like that.

Virginia fans, including those in the media, who jumped on Clark after the Furman loss should remember that this weekend.

Or maybe forever.

That was one of Buck Showalter’s first reactions late Wednesday night after Edwin Diaz tore up his knee celebrating Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic:

“The teleprompter just broke.”

He meant that the script the Mets thought they had for this season, the one that included Diaz, had just gone out the window.

But again:

Mets fans need to remember that Mariano Rivera tore up his knee throwing fly balls in the field and was lost for the season in May.

Rafael Soriano became the Yankee’s closer that year.

He saved 42 games.

The Yankees won 95.

And won the AL East without Mo.

Are we absolutely certain that The Masters is a tradition unlike any other?

In keeping with today’s main topic, aren’t the Jets a tradition unlike any other?

You’ll love a crime novel called “Fixit” by my friend Joe Ide.

What happened to Kyrie?

“Ted Lasso” is back and better than ever.

Carlos Alcaraz runs around a tennis court like Francisco Lindor runs around the bases.

My friend Stanton is warning Aaron Rodgers not to go with that “RELAX” stuff if he ends up on the Jets.

We don’t do that around here.

We are all Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday.


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