The New York Jets are fun again

After over a decade of mediocrity and lack of imagination, the New York Jets finally have a young core to make fans excited.

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Aaliya Luthra

Fans of Zach Wilson, the 23-year-old quarterback of the New York Jets, are elated at his return. (Illustration by Aaliya Luthra)

Pablo Ocariz, Staff Writer

Since making back-to-back AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010, the New York Jets have not made the playoffs. They have not been a top 10 offense a single time, and they have only been a top 10 defense once. Life for Jets fans has been bleak.

But last year, they had the second overall pick in a draft class that had a whopping five quarterbacks selected in the first round. They chose Zach Wilson from Brigham Young University.

Despite a brand new potential franchise quarterback, the Jets, with Wilson, had a bad 2021. They went 4-13 and finished last in the division. Wilson was near the bottom in every stat: 30th in yards per game, 31st in completion percentage and 32nd in touchdowns. Keep in mind, the NFL only has 32 starting quarterbacks. Yet the team showed flashes of success. They beat the Tennessee Titans, who would go on to win 12 games, in a 27-24 contest. These glimmers showed that they could have an answer in this team and this quarterback. 

After a great 2022 draft, in which the Jets added superstar cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner — who did not allow a single touchdown in college — from the University of Cincinnati with the fourth pick, and receiver Garrett Wilson out of The Ohio State University with the 10th, it looked like this season might be the start of something special. 

In Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Jets hinted at how they might look going forward, especially with Zach Wilson finally coming back from an injury that kept him out for nearly a month and a half.

They started off strong, scoring 10 points in the first and second quarters, but grew incredibly stagnant. Two Zach Wilson interceptions, as well as a general lack of accuracy from the young gunslinger, made it so the team scored 0 points in the third quarter. This bad run on offense led to the team being down 10-13 heading into the fourth quarter.

That’s when everyone, especially Zach Wilson, stepped up. He led two touchdown drives, including the game winning drive, with just over three minutes left. He ended this game by throwing just 18-36 for 252 yards. He’s young, and he will make mistakes, but if he can play how he did in the fourth quarter when the Jets needed him the most, then it could be a great season.

Gardner was amazing, no question. He only allowed nine yards on seven targets, completely stifling the talented Pittsburgh receiving room — arguably the most impressive performance of his young NFL career. 

Despite Garrett Wilson being relatively quiet — only having two receptions for 41 yards — he has had a great start to the year. His best game came in week 2 against the Browns, as his 102-yard performance was only made better by his second touchdown of the night which was the game winner, with only 22 seconds left on the clock.

This team is young, and it is fun. The Jets have a bright future ahead of them, and a lot of young studs are on the roster. It still isn’t a great team, but for the first time in a long time, the Jets are fun. Jets fans can finally have hope.

Contact Pablo Ocariz at [email protected]