A couple weeks back I drove up the New Jersey Turnpike on yet another unseasonably warm “fall” day here on the east coast to hit up the Jets/Patriots’ game at Met Life Stadium. My buddy and I had really good seats, like seven or eight rows up in one of the end zones. From that vantage point, you really get a unique view of the game and the field. Your depth perception is shot though, so any play going down field is a mystery because you have no way of telling how far it may have gone. That’s really the only negative.
The positives of sitting in one of the end zones is that when a touchdown is scored (or in this game, scored, but then not scored) in that end zone, it’s a lot of fun. I can now confirm with 100% certainty that Gronk is a gigantic human being. Also, you get an interesting and revealing look at how teams keep themselves busy on the field during stoppages in play, of which there are many if you’re at a NFL game.
It was during one of these breaks when I noticed that a few of the players on the Jets’ defense were dancing. And they weren’t just casually swaying side to side – these dudes were legit dancing, really getting into it. Before long, at least 9 of the 11 defenders on the field were getting down. They danced right until it was time to line up. When there was another break a few minutes later, they started dancing again. That was like, a thing for them. I think it was planned.
Now as a Patriots’ fan, I was quick to dismiss the dancing, chalk it up to just the Jets being the Jets. You don’t see the Patriots dancing, that’s for damn sure. The Pats are grown ups, mature adults playing intelligent, fundamentally-sound football. The Jets? Well, it’s the Jets – purveyors of butt fumbles, head-scratching personnel moves, blown leads and a general fondness for immature shenanigans. Of course they’d be dancing in between plays. Shouldn’t they be talking strategy or something; coming up with ways to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense?
But then once those thoughts passed, a different feeling started to come over me, a feeling that I can honestly say I have never felt before. It was appreciation, but more specifically, it was appreciation of something the Jets were doing. I’ve never appreciated anything the Jets have ever done. I’m conditioned not too as a Patriots’ fan. It’s written in Pats’ fandom by-laws, right below our pledge of unquestionable and undying loyalty to Bill Belichick and above our steadfast refusal to believe anything involving Tom Brady and deflated footballs.
Yet here I was, actually enjoying something the Jets were doing. It didn’t make sense, it didn’t feel right and at the time, I thought it would be something I’d never think about again.
Fast forward to a few days ago and that “thing,” the Jets’ defense dancing around the field in between plays, has become a social media tidal wave. The hashtag #JetsDancetoAnything took off following the teams’ Thursday night game versus the Bills as the whole country were now able to witness what I did at Met Life a few weeks earlier. It was only a matter of time before Twitter was flooded with clips of the players dancing, with different music being played in the background.
There was the one with the song from A Charlie Brown Christmas
And there’s the one with Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!”
There was an ode to Dirty Dancing
There’s whatever this one is
And then there’s even one with some Billy Joel mixed in
I just feel weird saying this as a Patriots’ fans, but I love this. I love this so much. I still hate the Jets with every bone in my body, but I can’t stop watching these clips. As if the world hadn’t become confusing enough, this happens. Whew. Tough business.
The Jets’ players dancing is so pure, such an embodiment of fun and enjoyment, that it’s all but impossible not to like it. We can get so hung up on sports, so invested and take everything so incredibly seriously that we forget that ultimately it’s just a game. I mean, it’s a game with a lot at stake and these are (for the most part) multi-millionaires out there playing, but it’s still a sport we all played as kids. Sports should be fun and no one looks like they are having more fun than Jamal Adams, Buster Skrine, Darron Lee and the rest of the Jets’ defense.
The NFL has become increasingly hard to root for in the past few years with scandals involving everything from air pressure in footballs to domestic violence dominating the conversation. The majority of this season has been all but swallowed up by the #anthemprotests debate and with each passing week, another major face in the league goes down with a season-ending injury. The joy that comes from actually watching the sport of football has become clouded and lost in a fog of seriousness and weighted debate. The #JetsDancetoAnything phenomenon helps pull us out of that quagmire, reminds us why we love watching the sport to begin with.
You know things are bad when you need to be reminded why something is fun, but such is the case with the NFL in 2017. Yet thankfully, the Jets, yes, the New York Jets, are there when we need them, there to save the day and put a smile on our faces.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to do a YouTube deep dive on Patriots’ highlights; something to put my troubled soul at ease.