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New York Jets first penalty of the season: Too many morons on the field

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

That stench from the Meadowlands isn’t swamp — it’s from a group of pigskins who apparently took ‘fantasy football’ literally.

Time was, we used to heave the ball near a cute girl, hoping she’d notice. We weren’t making millions in a scutinized industry, though. We were in FIFTH GRADE . The New York Jets, on the other hand, are supposedly a team of men. Yet they continue to act like delinquents, thanks to their “have-fun” coach, Rex Ryan, who apparently didn’t get the memo that fat, loud and stupid is no way to go through life.

As many know by now, several members of the team — including the fat, loud and stupid coach — are accused of harassing a female reporter who was on the field during practice Saturday.

Owner Woody Johnson immediately took control of the situation, personally apologizing to her and ordering sensitivity training for the children.

It will be interesting to see whether Johnson can get his team to act like adults.

You see, adult behavior includes discipline. Without it, you not only have an unpopular team full of players who could end up in handcuffs. You could also field a bunch of schoolkids who commit costly penalties or turnovers because they can’t set emotion aside and focus on what matters. Too many of those usually add up to losses.

Swagger, bravado — both are quaint concepts that really have no place in modern-day sports, apart from boxing. The days of the rollicking Oakland A’s, the bickering Yankees and the lawless Oakland Raiders are long gone. Focus, control, balance, discipline: These matter — if you want to win, that is.

Ben Rothlisberger is a single jerk in an otherwise rock-solid football institution. The Manning brothers play for longtime professional outfits that have brooked little foolishness (at least since LT retired). The NFL champion New Orleans Saints have assembled as solid a team of citizens as you can find, led by the most admirable of them all, Drew Brees (Joe Horn seems so last decade).

On a day when hardcore fans and even casual observers should be sky-high over the potential for New York’s “other” football team, the Jets are managing to once again be the Jets. Not worthy, instead of noteworthy.

They were a cute surprise last year. But people have gotten way too giddy over this team way too soon. The “Green Machine” (teams that think they’re special always need a new nickname) hasn’t won anything yet. Still, the Jets get the HBO show, they get the Monday Night Football opener — they even get to play the champion Saints in a commercial for the NFL.

Let’s see whether this episode of “Offensive Interference” woke up the entire organization. Let’s see how many penalties the Jets rack up tonight. How many times they turn the ball over. How many fights or arguments an overheated greenie gets into.

No one says they have to be choir boys. But they should at least understand the difference between having a good time outside the lines and getting the job done within them. Otherwise, they’re gonna “Ickey Shuffle” themselves right off a cliff.

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