Jets great Mo Lewis celebrated his 50th birthday on Monday. New Englanders remembered him fondly for starting Tom Brady’s career after his hit knocked then-New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe out of the game in 2001. Understand Bledsoe was on borrowed time with the Patriots at the time, and him being hit set the stage for Brady to have a Hall of Fame career that includes being a three-time MVP, six-time Super Bowl champion, three-time All-Pro and 14-time Pro Bowler.
It’s a good bet football fans around the country won’t remember since the Jets were irrelevant and the Patriots were in the transitional stage of the Bill Belichick era. Jets fans try to remember Lewis as a great linebacker, but they can’t deny that hit to Bledsoe started the Brady era, as much as it hurts for them to say and think.
Coincidentally, the Jets played the Patriots on Monday Night Football on Lewis’ birthday. Here’s hoping he did not see the game because if he did, he would be shaking his head at his old team and wondering what did he do to deserve this torture that represents a gift that keeps on giving?
It wasn’t pretty at all. The Patriots outclassed, outworked and outcoached the Jets in a 33-0 beatdown at MetLife Stadium in front of a national audience. The game turned out to be such a clinic that the score felt like 55-0. It could have been if Patriots coach Bill Belichick decided not to show any mercy to beleaguered Jets coach Adam Gase. If Rex Ryan coached the Jets, different story, but then again the Jets would not be in that position to get beaten up since they would be properly coached under him than Gase.
This does not speak well of Gase when Jets fans pine for the days of Rex Ryan, who wasn’t exactly Vince Lombardi here. Gase makes his predecessor Todd Bowles look great in comparison, and Bowles isn’t exactly remembered fondly since he turned out to be an awful head coach.
It could be the Jets may have to hire another coach next season since their current head coach shows he is not fit to be a head coach. Monday night’s game reflected poorly on him because he did not have his team ready to play, not to mention he could not make any adjustments to stop the Patriots from going after Jets quarterback Sam Darnold to the point ESPN caught him speaking on a mic about him seeing ghosts.
It’s no secret the Patriots own the Jets since the 2010 AFC Championship Game because of horrible coaching and lousy players. Belichick went 9-4 (including playoff record) against Ryan and 7-1 against Bowles, and he currently owns a modest, undefeated 2-0 record against Gase. Since the Jets beat the Patriots in a playoff game, the Patriots won 16 out of its 18 regular season meetings against the Jets.
Here’s the cold, hard truth the Jets and their fans must deal with: Bill Belichick and the Patriots don’t look at the Jets as a rival anymore. Why would they? The Jets perform like losers, and the defending Super Bowl champions put on excellence every time they are on the field. Accountability exits with the Patriots, and B.S. becomes part of life with the Jets.
This is sad in a sense it wasn’t always like that. When then-Patriots head coach Bill Parcells lusted to coach the Jets after having problems with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, the birth of the Jets and Patriots rivalry began. Kraft seeked compensation and he wasn’t happy that the Hall of Fame coach wanted to be the guy to buy the groceries as in selecting the players for the Jets. Eventually, he relented and the rivalry began. For good measure, the Jets signed running back Curtis Martin to a restricted contract that the Patriots wouldn’t match.
But Kraft won the upper hand years later when he convinced Belichick to leave as “The HC of the NYJ” and be the Patriots czar and head coach. The rest is history. Game, set and match.
To make it even worse, it was Lewis that made sure the rivalry died in having Brady born.
This is so Jets, isn’t it? Bad things always happen to them whether it’s Dan Marino’s fake spike, Rich Kotite, Leon Johnson game, John Idzik, Mike Maccagnan, Buttfumble and now Darnold and ghosts. It only figures the Jets made the Patriots the way they are today and for two decades and counting.
At this point, it’s hard to believe the rivalry will exist in our lifetime. The Patriots set this excellence for a long time, and the Jets can’t figure it out.
The search for a new head coach and a new general manager could be here before we know it. If it is, the new duo will have the arduous task of defeating Belichick and Brady. I don’t like their chances.
Monday night showed there’s no hope for the Jets to ever beating the Patriots anytime soon.
Go back again to that day when Lewis started the Brady era with that hit on Bledsoe.
Lewis could have used Darnold to make his birthday a good one by throwing some touchdowns and leading the Jets to a win. It never happened. For all intents and purposes, the game ended after the Patriots’ 16-play, 78-yard touchdown drive on their first possession that gave them a 7-0 lead. In the end, the game will be remembered for the Jets quarterback seeing ghosts.
Lewis deserved better than being reminded about his contributions that set the stage for a game like Monday night for a proud franchise and a disgraced franchise on his birthday.