This past Saturday I watched Fordham football dismantle Lafayette at home. The Rams performed brilliantly in a nationally televised game that gave them revenge on a team that ended their perfect streak one year ago. Fans at Jack Coffey Field were loud and energetic for four quarters and eagerly celebrated with the team at the Victory Bell afterwards.
It was a strikingly different experience than the games that I attended four years ago as a freshman. It’s wild to reflect on how much the culture surrounding our football program has changed in four years — a shift that is due almost entirely to head coach Joe Moorhead.
Moorhead has instituted a wide array of ideas that have dramatically impacted Fordham football. Using mottos such as “Sharpening The Axe,” to “212 Degrees,” and “Three More Feet,” Moorhead has managed to motivate and restore a football program in a way that was unimaginable four years ago.
On Sunday, however, I experienced a very sad football culture — I got a prime look into the sad state of the New York Jets.
Though I was primarily watching baseball on my laptop, I took periodic strolls into the living room to check in on the Jets game. They weren’t really necessary. I could hear the frustration of my roommates throughout the apartment.
Sunday felt like a tipping point for the Jets. They need a culture change, and it should start at the top, with the head coach.
It’s time for the Jets to let Rex Ryan go.
It feels as if everything has finally spiraled out of Ryan’s control. It isn’t that his team got beat up on Sunday. It’s that his players didn’t respond, or in the least, show any fight.
Ryan has even lost his starting quarterback. Geno Smith missed a team meeting last Saturday night because he went to see a movie. Smith said he mixed up the time zone difference and arrived just after the meeting ended. When your starting quarterback — a position that requires an incredible amount of intelligence — is struggling to tell time, you’ve got a serious problem.
Smith played very poorly in Sunday’s game, completing just four of 12 passes 27 yards. He was pulled in favor of Michael Vick, but that didn’t make any difference. Ryan said he planned to start Smith again this weekend as well.
Jets fans of all types are ready to declare the season a lost one. The team looked ill-prepared on both sides of the ball. The offense didn’t enter opposing territory until late in the game. The defense left Antonio Gates, one of the best tight ends of all time, open for not one but two touchdown catches.
The brashness Ryan once injected into this team was noticeably absent. The Jets don’t have an identity anymore.
To be fair, Ryan has had a great deal of success in New York. He took the Jets to the playoffs in consecutive seasons and was the leader of the first team to ever win back-to-back road playoff games in consecutive seasons. He has navigated an extremely harsh New York market fairly well.
But, that is the past. The Jets have lost four straight for the first time under Ryan. It’s time to make this the last time such a streak occurs, too.
If Moorhead’s time at Fordham has taught us anything, it’s that coaches can make a huge difference to a football team. Fordham players no longer doubt if they can compete with the top programs in the country. The Rams expect to win and they show it. The Jets players, by comparison, only look lost.
Following Sunday’s shutout loss to the Chargers, Ryan expressed his condolences to the team’s supporters.
“I apologize to our fans, the ones that are left,” Ryan said after the game.
Rex, the way things are going, I can’t imagine they’re going to stick around much longer.
Max Prinz is the Sports Editor for The Fordham Ram.