(Photo via New York Jets Official Twitter Feed)
Sometimes the result of an event produces enough polarizing and provocative declarations that turns sports world on its heels for a day. For any person who collects reactive proclamations (e.g. someone who runs a social media account that primarily exposes wrong takes in hindsight) and saves them in a vault for potential future use, these events can produce tons of material. The New York Jets participated in such an event Monday night in Detroit. After riding a tremendous debut performance from rookie quarterback Sam Darnold to blow out the Lions 48-17, my vault is now loaded. Keep in mind, this doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll ever have to unload it, I simply have it for safekeeping, just in case.
With the exception of throwing a pick six in his first ever pass attempt, Darnold, who has been hyped by many as the next great NFL quarterback, was stellar in Monday night’s win. The former USC Trojan went 16-for-21 for 198 yards and two TDs leaving Jets fans, who have been starving for something positive for eight years, in a state of downright giddiness. My loaded vault consists of three categories of reactionary media takes from after the game: Darnold hyperbole, Giants regret, and playoff talk. Here are just a few of them:
Let’s start with Colin Cowherd, who practically talks about Darnold like he does his son, and probably would adopt him if he could:
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) September 11, 2018
12-15 years is a lot of years, man. Do we really have to take it that far? Can’t we just say for the “long term?”
Here’s Doug Gottlieb with an “I told you so:”
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) September 11, 2018
Yet, just a day before, Gottlieb tweeted that the Jets would regret passing on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft:
Mahomes is the real deal. Browns, Jags, Jets and even the Bears and Chargers should be kicking themselves
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) September 9, 2018
There are many more. Darnold’s performance confirmed to the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta that the Jets’ trading up to pick Darnold at third overall “will ultimately go down as single best decision in franchise history.”
According to MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas, “it sure did look like the Jets might have found [a franchise quarterback]”
Cris Carter is ALL-IN with a Ron Jaworski/Colin Kapernick-esque proclamation:
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) September 11, 2018
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Darnold-mania is in full swing at the moment.
CLOWNING THE GIANTS FOR NOT PICKING DARNOLD
If Darnold turns out to be a stud, Giants fans, for the rest of their natural born lives, will have to live with the constant second guessing of the team’s decision to pass on Darnold with the second overall pick in the April’s draft to select Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. The Giants picked Barkley even though they trot out aging Eli Manning every week at quarterback, and have no future franchise QB prospect on the roster. To some, Darnold’s game Monday night only solidified the fact that the Giants made the mistake of a lifetime in April:
The Giants passed on Sam Darnold for a running back. That is actually a thing that happened.
— Nick Kostos (@TheKostos) September 11, 2018
Remember that time the Giants passed on Sam Darnold and pretended they didn’t need a QB.
— Adam Schein (@AdamSchein) September 11, 2018
Sam Darnold with a great TD pass. Not good enough for the NY Giants tho. #Jets
— Newy Scruggs (@newyscruggs) September 11, 2018
The Giants and Browns Already Have to Regret Passing on Sam Darnold https://t.co/kkcKAIvaNG
— The Big Lead (@thebiglead) September 12, 2018
?️@ColinCowherd: "The Giants made a TRAGIC MISTAKE. They were afraid of the pushback if they drafted Sam Darnold and because of that their fans are going to be watching the best QB in NYC for the next 15 years on SOMEONE ELSE'S TEAM."#Jets #GiantsPride https://t.co/naksh4fRij
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) September 11, 2018
Despite the fact that the Jets are only 1-0, some are broaching the topic of the playoffs. Sure, why can’t the Jets make the playoffs? They were only thought to be one of the worst teams of all-time before last season started.
— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) September 11, 2018
#SamDarnold went from Pick-6 on his first NFL pass to pick-of-the-litter of NFL rookie QBs. If #Jets continue strong performance by run game, defense & special teams, they might be surprise playoff contender. Really don’t think #Lions are that bad. #Jets covered all bases.
— Greg Logan (@GregLogan1) September 11, 2018
I’m trying to remember a rookie quarterback debut that the produced the same amount of hype as Darnold. The closest of which I can think is Robert Griffin III’s debut with the Redskins in 2012. Griffin, the second overall pick in the draft that season, dazzled in his first start in New Orleans to open the 2012 season, throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns, and rushing for 42 yards in a 40-32 Redskins win over the Saints. The reactions to Griffin’s debut were similar to Darnold’s from Monday night.
Anybody still think the Redskins gave up too much for Robert Griffin III?
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) September 9, 2012
Let the Giants and rest of the NFC East be forewarned: Robert Griffin III set a rookie record today in his debut. http://t.co/5HqsndpK
— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) September 10, 2012
Griffin continued to dazzle the entire season amidst a few injuries. He was destined to become the NFL’s next great star, until he blew out his knee in the 2012 playoffs and hasn’t been the same since. This is just one reason why it is difficult to automatically project Darnold as a legitimate franchise QB for 12-15 seasons. Further, let us not forget the last two projected Jets star quarterbacks:
Alright, enough is enough. I don’t want to rain on the Jets fans’ parade. Despite the past, there now is hope. For fans of a historically downtrotten franchise, hope is the lifeblood. Hope is what keeps the fire burning. Hope is what provides oxygen to the lingering passion inside a fan’s bleeding heart. After Monday night, the pressure is on. The Jets are carrying a loaded vault and lots of hope.