They were disappointing and contradictory this season.
They play Sunday’s final final, already miles away from the playoffs.
They were hurt before the season even started by key players deciding from the 2020 schedule due to COVID-19 concerns.
They sustained a number of debilitating injuries during the season.
Their quarterfinals were very much in conflict with the future in that position.
They play the season with a serious lack of explosive players in a skilled position.
These are of course the Jets …
… and the Patriots too.
The 2-13 Jets, who drive a good two-game winning streak, play the 6-9 Tom Brady-less Patriots, the losers of their past three games, in the Sunday Finals for both teams at Gillette Stadium.
While the Jets lost fresh upset to the Rams, who were then 9-4, and the Browns, who were 10-4 before last week, the Patriots lost 24-3 to the Rams, 22-12 to the Dolphins . and 38-9 to AFC East champion Bills in their last three games.
“It’s definitely different. “It’s strange not to see them go to the playoffs, ” defensive end of the Jets, ” said defensive end of the Jets on Wednesday over the Patriots – who beat the Jets 30-27 in a field goal of the last seconds earlier in the season.
“It’s bizarre because you were used to seeing them play in January and February,” Jets guard Greg Van Roten said Wednesday. ‘Yes, it’s different, but these things happen in the NFL. They’re a team just like us that had a lot of injuries, and they excluded a lot of guys. This is not an excuse, but it makes things harder, makes it harder to overcome obstacles.
“It was one of the years for many teams.”
However, the Patriots made it an art form that for years avoided ‘one of the years’.
This will be the first season since 2008 that they will not be in the playoffs, and only the second time since 2002. Their series of 11 consecutive AFC titles has been halted this year. Since Bill Belichick took over as their coach in 2000, the Patriots have been in nine Super Bowls, winning six of them.
They did it all of course with Tom Brady on quarterback.
This Brady-less season was a revelation, a testament to Brady’s incredible ability to elevate the players around him. The lack of it changed the Patriots from extraordinary to ordinary.
The Patriots tried to replace Brady with Cam Newton, whose 2015 season MVP powers are apparently long gone.
In short, it did not work and put the Patriots off a team that has gone almost 20 years without worrying about the quarterback position, to one of the many in the league that does not have a reliable one.
Newton, who has given just five assists in 338 attempts this season to go with ten interceptions, has thrown just one TD pass in the last four games. He was named and replaced by Jarrett Stidham in the Bills’ loss loss on Monday night after completing 5 of the 10 passes for 34 yards.
Asked on the week how the transition was without Brady, after a long hiatus, Belichick replied: ‘Well … our record is disappointing. Clearly, we do things differently than we did in the past. We just have to perform at a higher level. All of us. [We] keep working on it. ‘
Belichick has shown a steadfast unwavering support for Newton this season despite a number of mocking performances. Instead of playing the younger Stidham to look to him in the future as a possible starter, Belichick stubbornly continues to run out of Newton – as he expected to do on Sunday against the Jets.
“Cam worked hard,” Belichick said. “He did everything we asked him to do. He gave us great leadership and toughness and competitiveness. I have a lot of respect for what he has done for us this year. ‘
But just as Belichick has “a lot of respect” for Newton, the Jets have the same respect for Darnold, who at the age of 23 showed tremendous resilience in the face of all the loss.
However, the problem for Belichick with Newton is the same as it is for the Jets and Darnold: the play of both quarterbacks is not conducive to winning football.
Thus, the Jets and Patriots leave in very similar places as soon as this season ends: with many questions about the future of the quarterback position.
Also, it leaves New England in the amazing position of being essentially the same as the Jets, who have been the personal punching bag of the Patriots for the past 20 years.
And that should offend Belichick, whose contempt for the Jets is as transparent as a squeaky clean sliding door.