The notion of “distractions” in sports has always been a vaguely ridiculous one. A player is only a distraction if his team loses; if his team wins, the team “shut out the outside world” and “just took care of on-field business.” The player is not a distraction at all, whatever that might mean, as if “distractions” roamed around the practice field lost in thought, staring at planes passing overhead, wandering off aimlessly in the middle of sled drills. The player is adversity overcome. The player is not dealing with a DUI arrest that was the talk of sport; the player is “coming up big” after a “difficult week for him.” Nothing anyone talks about outside the three hours of a game matters in the slightest if the team wins. The Jets beat the Dolphins last night, and Braylon Edwards had a terrific game. That’s all that really matters. Right?
Even the biggest Jets fan, even the most die-hard Braylon Edwards booster (whoever that might be), had to feel a slight pang of something when Edwards did his little touchdown celebration in the third quarter after giving the Jets a lead they’d never relinquish. It’s one thing to sit out a quarter — a quarter! — for a DUI arrest. It’s another to laugh and dance like you’ve not a care in the world right after a DUI arrest. But hey: A DUI is not murder. You’d feel worse if it were murder. We can all tell ourselves that.
You’d also feel worse if the Jets had lost, though what would have made you feel worst is a question we’ll leave for your shrink. Mark Sanchez had his second excellent game in a row, throwing for 256 yards (the third highest amount of his career; his career high still, oddly, is the 272 he threw in his NFL debut) and three touchdowns. His accuracy is still a bit of an issue, and typically in his career so far he’ll follow up a stretch like this with a clunker, but if he plays at this level or even a tad below all season, the Jets will win the AFC East, handily.
They might do it anyway. The Jets now have as many wins in the AFC East as they did all of last season, with two more against the Bills and a home game left against the Dolphins. The schedule’s still tough over the next month, with Minnesota, Denver, and Green Bay on the slate, but the Jets are 2-0 against their top division rivals with the whole season spread out before them. You might feel strange about Braylon Edwards playing so soon. You might think the Jets aren’t humble enough for your taste. You might wonder whether karma has some sort of payback in store for them. But you’ve got to be happy that the Jets might just turn out to be as good as they told you they would be. That happiness is the reason we watch sports in the first place, so we encourage you to just enjoy it, guilt-free. All you have to do is cheer. The Jets sometimes make that harder than it should be. But who cares, really? If you were looking for the Jets to bench Braylon Edwards to teach him a lesson, a lesson that would have cost them a victory … you are watching the wrong sport. J-E-T-S!