The first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft was theirs to lose and the projected number one prospect was generational quarterback Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson. The one-win Jacksonville Jaguars were supposedly all-in on ‘T-Law,’ and their fanbase was praying for a Jets victory.
Low and behold, Gang Green beat the Rams in The City of Angels and then won a second game over the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium. From that moment on, Jags fans never let Jets supporters hear the end of their “tanking meltdown.”
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Jets Fans Remember the Narrative
I can’t speak for every Jets fan but most seemed to prefer that the franchise didn’t go winless in 2020, even if it meant losing out on Lawrence and the number one pick.
At the time, Sam Darnold was still on the roster and although a new head coach was expected to shake things up in 2021, it was unclear what direction GM Joe Douglas would go at quarterback. Plus, if he wanted to draft his own signal-caller, there were four other strong options besides Lawrence that were expected to go in round one.
Of course, the Green & White ended up with BYU prodigy Zach Wilson but before all of that and even back before the Week 15 victory, a media-driven narrative suggested that Lawrence should refuse to play for the Jets if they ended up with the first overall pick.
The bogus hot take was based on the organization’s track record when it comes to developing quarterbacks but it’s not like the alternative was a perennial winner. Not only have the Jaguars never won a Super Bowl, they’ve never even been to one. Counting 2021, their all-time record is 179-249-0.
And yet, according to NFL pundits, the Clemson product had a better chance of succeeding in Jacksonville than New York. One year later in Week 14 of both quarterback’s rookie campaigns, the narrative has flipped.
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Jets Fans Troll as Meyer Implodes
Later, after Urban Meyer and Robert Saleh were officially introduced as the new head coaches of each franchise, some still doubted the Jets ranking their new hire towards the bottom of the first-year crop of HCs.
Saleh’s inaugural season hasn’t gone as planned but at least it hasn’t been a complete and utter trainwreck like Meyer’s. The NCAA legend has gone through the same growing pains as most college coaches that make the jump, only his arrogance and off-field shenanigans have made matters worse.
According to NFL insider Tom Pelissero: “Months of tension surrounding Jaguars coach Urban Meyer has boiled over with multiple run-ins with players and other coaches in recent weeks, sources say, renewing questions in league circles about whether Meyer’s stay in Jacksonville could end after just one tumultuous season.”
Pelissero went on to give a detailed look behind the curtain in Jacksonville, citing numerous examples of dysfunctional behavior. Here were some cliff notes:
- Players have voiced that Meyer “doesn’t treat them like adults.”
- Public benchings and criticisms, including major disagreements with WR Marvin Jones and RB James Robinson.
- A staff meeting where Meyer “delivered a biting message that he’s a winner and his assistant coaches are losers.”
- Rehashing the Chris Doyle hire, fines for COVID violations during OTAs, and of course, Meyer’s viral video and apology after unprofessional behavior at a bar in Ohio.
Needless to say, Jets fans remembered and they let the NFL media have it on Twitter after Pelissero dropped this recent article.
Robby Sabo of Jets X-Factor wrote: “The ‘Jaguars being a disaster with Urban Meyer’ was the easiest thing in the world to spot coming into the season. Yet, not so strangely, ‘Trevor Lawrence should refuse to play for the Jets’ remained the hot angle. Folks were even upset Jets didn’t land Meyer via [the] No. 2 pick.”
The Jet Press mocked sarcastically: “‘Save Trevor Lawrence from the Jets.'”
‘Play Like A Jet’ chimed in as well, joking: “It’s a good thing Trevor Lawrence wasn’t drafted by [the] Jets. Would’ve been terrible to watch him try to succeed as a member of such an unstable team. Glad Lawrence landed with a competent organization in Jacksonville so he will have no roadblocks to reaching his full potential.”
A fan by the name of ‘The Gentleman’ even called out the major offenders, stating: “Never forget when @Espngreeny [Mike Greenberg], @JeremySchaap [Jeremy Schaap] & @stephenasmith [Stephen A. Smith] tried to publicly convince Trevor Lawrence to avoid the Jets because THEY were the dumpster fire.”
Luke Grant also pointed out the number one overall pick’s recent struggles over his last six outings (175 passing yards per game, 0.33 passing TDs per game, 69.7 passer rating) noting that “if this was happening in NY, the media would be melting down.”
There were many others attacking the narrative that Lawrence should stay in school rather than join Gang Green, or pull an Eli Manning and refuse them outright. Jets Twitter was in full troll mode on December 11 and deservedly so, but one last tweet summed up how many fans feel about Jags supporters after the past year.
Adrian Capric commented: “Most Jets fans praised Lawrence even after we knew we were not going to be able to draft him. Jaguars fans came here and mocked us and Wilson relentlessly. I don’t feel bad for the [bleep]show situation they have going on over there.”
Wilson has had his ups and downs but he’s also shown potential — winning two Rookie of the Week awards — and growth with possibly his best outing coming in Week 13. Perhaps everything worked out for a reason after all.