First of all, it's easy to blame New York Jets fans for what prognosticators not in attendance at the Pats game conveniently decided was a cheering of Chad Pennington's injury. I've always taken heart from the fact that Keith Olbermann has been able to rightly label Bill O'Reilly or Ann Coulter as "The Worst Person in America," but the device is not converting well over to the halftime at NBC's Hockey Night in Canada.
From checking with fans who were at the game, the consensus is unclear. Yes, some cheered when Chad limped off and Kellen blessed himself and went on. Some cheered Chad's grit - a character trait that we have come to admire about him, even though some of us (not yours truly) think that he's not up to the task. My main question is, did anyone cheer him when he was down? To me that's the conclusive evidence of craven behavior. When Michael Irvan was injured badly for good in Philadelphia, the fans at the Vet cheered loudly. That was the gold standard for shit behavior, or just Philly fans doing their thing.
So what happened? Suddenly Jets fans have to defend their integrity. Tony Kornhiser says it was a classless gesture. Steve Young said New York's the toughest market and anyone who plays there needs to know that this kind of thing can happen. Nice guys finish last. Tom Rock of Newsday says the whole thing is a tempest in a teapot and that no one there can conclusively say that the entire Meadowlands was cheering for one thing, sort of like the noise of Dylan fans in 1966 at Manchester.
This is, eventually, crap. We are all wasting valuable time wondering whether or not 78,000 people all felt the same thing. Actually, now that I think of it, there was one thing that many, many Jets fans in attendance felt when they saw it happen. Too many felt, "Holy God, not again." Full stop. It's called trauma. What came out of them after that was subject to how much alcohol they had consumed in the tailgate, what kind of relationships they had with their parents growing up, how often they were bullied in school, and what kind of sex life they are currently enjoying at home. It's a fan's life, after all.
But for you boo birds who think that we need a new quarterback any way possible, I can only say that you are like cheap floozies who think that the next well-meaning guy who comes along is going to get you out of the trailer park. I'm glad Chad Pennington went back out and scored. I yelled and shouted and cried out in joy the way I cheered when Tom Tupa threw a touchdown after Vinny Testaverde went down against the Pats at home at the 1999 opener. It was a bellowing of traumatic anguish, sort of like James Cagney in White Heat:
"Look, Ma! Top of the World!!"