(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:
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:"
Yet, just a day before, Gottlieb tweeted that the Jets would regret passing on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft:
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 "
Cris Carter is ALL-IN with a Ron Jaworski/Colin Kapernick-esque proclamation:
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:
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.
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.
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.