Saturday night’s exhibition game between the Jets and the Giants was supposed to be a celebration of the NFL in our fine city. For the first time in recent memory, both teams seem poised to be simultaneously relevant. The Jets have Brett Favre behind center, of course, and the Giants happen to have won the Super Bowl last year. (Which is the only way this could have possibly happened.) But the night turned out to be a disaster.
First, the Giants. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora, expected to be the linchpin of a dominant pass rush, tore up his knee in the second quarter and will miss the rest of the season. It’s a devastating blow so potentially damaging that Michael Strahan, Mr. Microphone, is already lobbying to be brought back. And the Giants even seem to be considering it. (Unwisely, one suspects.) Only piece of good news: It gives Umenyiora time to work on eliminating all those nasty Web rumors.
On the other side of the field/locker room, the biggest concern for the Jets, less than two weeks before the beginning of the season, was supposed to be teaching Favre the playbook and getting him acclimated to his new team. But now it appears that the team itself is the problem. Favre is already looking to be in midseason form, but nothing else is working — particularly their running game. Neither Thomas Jones nor Leon Washington has done much of anything, and grouchy receiver Laveranues Coles is still hurt and sulking. The only person who knows what he’s doing is Favre. Considering there’s only one exhibition game left, and starters rarely play in the final one (though the Jets are reportedly considering making an exception), the Jets are running out of time. At least, unlike Umenyiora, they have the ligaments in the knee to make that run.