Bring Todd Bowles back for a fourth year.
The New York Jets showed in Sunday’s 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs that they have bought fully into Bowles message, eschewing all the negativity around this team during the offseason and then into preseason. They shut out the naysayers, the detractors on their way to what is now a shockingly good 5-7 record.
The locker room has bought into Bowles. Now the organization has to be next.
With what was supposed to be among the worst two-deeps in the entire league, Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan didn’t care about big names or hype. The fan base screamed for big names to replace the ones they lost; instead, they built a roster that was young, hungry and a bit scrappy.
It was that mentality and resilience that showed itself in Sunday’s Week 13 win.
From a journeyman quarterback who (again) threw for over 300 yards and accounted for three touchdowns to a defense that is now showing an ability to make big stands and bigger plays in key moments, the Jets are maturing. Their resolve, their fight and their belief in each other, as well as their head coach, was on display in Sunday’s win.
Down 14-0 in the first quarter, the Jets could have packed things in. They came in 1-5 in their last six games, a team that had spent much of the offseason hearing how bad they were going to be this year appeared like they were ready to come down to earth after a strong start. The Jets could have bought the narrative that the early parts of the year were fool’s gold, that the pundits were right.
The clock had struck midnight and a 14-0 deficit was set to begin to mount. The season was done and over. This team was as bad as everyone said they would be.
But each time they fought back, as they’ve done all season. In the manner and way that their head coach told them to.
The Chiefs took the lead once again in the second quarter and then again midway through the fourth quarter. Again and again, it looked like this game was set to get out of hand, it looked like the Jets had soared as high as they would go this year. They had peaked, exceeded expectations even.
Instead, they proved again to be resilient.
This offseason saw the Jets cut their big names and veterans, choosing to rebuild after the disappointment of the 2016 season. They wanted to get younger, they wanted to have cap flexibility and they were ready to bleed in some of the players they had developed over the past couple of seasons.
That they were given zero chance of doing anything including winning as many games as they have so far this year is a testament to Bowles.
As is typical following a disappointing year — and don’t get it twisted but 2016 was a disaster for the Jets on the field — many fans wanted Bowles run out of town. When the team lost their first two games this year that pressure only intensified. It looked like his third year in New York would be his final one as their head coach.
Rather than fold, this team of misfits rallied around their persona as being a ragtag bunch of nobodies. They didn’t care that all the noise around them thought they were a sinking ship heading into Week 3.
The same noise that gave them no chance at the start of the year also called them losers this past Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Jets didn’t listen three months ago. They didn’t listen this afternoon down 14-0.
Each time they got knocked down, these Jets got up again. Each time Kansas City answered from their early two-touchdown lead to their comebacks throughout this game, the Jets answered. In the end, they walked out of MetLife Stadium the better team, the winning team.
In handling this team, a team admittedly deficient and lacking star power, Bowles has been nothing short of masterful. Truthfully, had the replay officials gotten things right on two occasions this season the Jets could well be 7-5 right now if two Austin Sefarian-Jenkins touchdowns had rightfully stood-up.
That, however, is neither here nor there. What is here is that this team has bought into Bowles and his mentality. He deserves the chance, no matter what happens here on out, to take this team into next year following a free agency feeding frenzy that is sure to be good.
And beyond the wins and losses, the very character of this team to stand tall when no one gave them any chance, that right there is Bowles best selling point.
He’s earned the right to be back in 2018, to coach this team into being winners.