Sunday proved why the New York Jets need to be patient with Todd Bowles, the much-scrutinized and under-fire head coach whose team somehow squeaked out a win this past Sunday. It was a message that owner Woody Johnson must surely hear and recognize.
And the message is clear: Bowles is the right man to dig this team out and rebuild. Again.
Yes, the Jets, now 4-9, having just beaten a really bad San Francisco 49ers team. And the Jets have disappointed this season, nearly every step along the way finding a method to stumble and bumble. But Bowles didn’t suddenly become a bad coach, a man who had his team 10-6 a season ago and playing for the postseason in the final week of the year. But if yesterday proved anything, it is that Bowles deserves one more year.
His Jets didn’t quit, despite going down by two touchdowns to start the game. In a meaningless game with a young quarterback getting just his second ever NFL start in a near-empty stadium, even the Jets fanbase wanted their own team to tank to enhance their NFL Draft prospects. Instead, his team showed up and played hard, going into overtime and finally winning the game.
Just-End-The-Season? Not with Bowles on the sidelines.
Through the lows of this difficult season and the highs of his tremendous first year with the Jets in 2015, Bowles has stayed true to himself. He never let the success of a season ago get to him and he surely hasn’t been rattled this year. He stuck to his game plan, sometimes stubbornly so, and stuck with a starting quarterback in Fitzpatrick because his convictions said so. This even as the rest of the world screamed for the young Bryce Petty.
Bowles didn’t suddenly forget how to coach over this offseason, the man who masterfully guided a Jets team that wasn’t supposed to be good last year is still the same mind this year. Things didn’t go their way but Sunday proved that his team didn’t quit on him.
It would have been easy for this group of Jets with a young (unproven) quarterback to have packed it in. Down 14-0, on the road, to simply wave the white flag would have been easy. But Bowles didn’t quit and nor did his team, a testament to him as much as to their own individual character.
If he could still get through to these veteran players despite the losses and injuries and overall negativity of the season, then he proved he is the right man moving forward.
This offseason will be a telling one for the Jets and their owner. Johnson just fired a head coach (and general manager) two years ago and canning Bowles would mean a sixth head coach for this franchise since Johnson bought the team in 2000. Bowles may not be perfect but he has the demeanor and patience to ride this thing out. And what coach of merit would want to come into this miss and be the team’s third head coach over a span of four seasons?
News flash: It won’t be a big name.
Especially for an offseason where there will be plenty of overhaul and change, a presence like Bowles can be important to transition and rebuild.
Is Bowles the head coach that can lead this team to the Super Bowl? History would say that this team loves suffering too much to win ever again, but he’s the team’s best chance this century. His Jets didn’t quit on Sunday although they had every reason to; now Jets fans shouldn’t quit on Bowles either.