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New York's Everyfan

Remarkably, The Simpsons kicked off their 20th season on Sunday. The plot was that the overweight, clumsy Homer Simpson is cast in the movie Everyman, a new comic book superhero that had the ability to absorb powers from any other traditional superhero (Superman, Iron Man, etc.) Everyman was able to adapt and use whatever power was most convenient in a sticky situation.

This is an all-too-familiar story in the sports world, as "Everyfan" existed long before The Simpsons created their superhero. Particularly in football, fans go through more emotions and mood swings than David After Dentist. Take the Jets fans for example. When things go well, Everyfan absorbs the optimistic swagger of Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, etc. When things look bleak, Everyfan takes on the memories of last year's collapse and fear the worst. When things need to get loud, Fireman Ed is absorbed. When things get quiet, they channel their inner Eric Mangini.

Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans was certainly the most trying game of the Rex Ryan/Mark Sanchez era. Things looked great for one quarter, awful for two quarters, and then manageable to finish it off. The defense proved it indeed has room for improvement, while the running game and Sanchez's ball security need some tweaking.

But, as always, the bottom line is 3-0. That is the Jets' record after three games--perfect. Just three short weeks ago, most fans were hoping for 2-2 in the first four games. After all, Calvin Pace was suspended for these games and the schedule presented four teams with playoff-caliber talent. Though it is so difficult at the moment, the Jets Everyfan has to make sure to keep these sentiments from three weeks ago in mind. Mark Sanchez is a rookie, and all rookie quarterbacks have games they will lose on their own. The blitz-happy defense is going to get burned in some games. These things happen.

The key is for Jets fans not to go berserk when they do happen. Rex & Co. took down a talented Houston team on the road before downing the Patriots and fighting-for-their-lives Titans at home. Right now, the fans need to be what I'll call "acceptingly jubilant." Jubiliant because the team is playing some of their best football exactly when the schedule demands it. Accepting because the growing pains and defensive vulnerabilities will at some point rear their ugly head.

Now, nobody is expecting much from the Jets in terms of winning at New Orleans in week 4. They opened up as full-touchdown underdogs. And maybe they do get smacked around by that offense. But even if that happens, they come out of the toughest quadrant of their schedule at 3-1. Three weeks ago that start would have been a dream come true. After three games, let's not make 3-1 seem like a disappointment.

What I'm saying, Everyfan, is to keep an even-keel attitude in these games ahead. Let's not punish the Jets into unreasonable expectations and criticisms just because they have played so well.

-Conor Reilly


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