The New York Jets sit at 2-2 despite all the offseason predictions of doom and gloom and talks of tanking pervasively permeating every summer discussion.
Most predicted the Jets wouldn't sniff three wins all season after they jettisoned veteran contracts and traded assets for draft picks. Players said throughout the offseason that they blocked out all those 0-16 forecasts. Now the team is using them as a motivational factor.
According to Connor Hughes of NJ Advance Media, players were greeted with notes reminding not to "forget what they stated about us."
"I looked at [the note], and in my head, I was like, 'Don't worry, I ain't forgot what the heck nobody said.' I still remember all that kind of stuff. I don't need any reminder in the slightest."
Added Austin Sefereian-Jenkins: "I posted mine up. I mean, I'm not forgetting. [The preseason 0-16 talk] is disrespectful to everybody in the locker room. I'm not forgetting that. They didn't think we were good enough to win one game, so they definitely don't think we're good enough to win three games. We take that [expletive] to heart."
And finally, Kony Ealy: "I was one of the people who came into this season hearing 0-16," the defensive end told Hughes. "I was disgusted by it. For you to make bold predictions like that, about any professional team? It's bad on you.
Sure there is still 11 games left for the Jets to crater, but for now the players will use predictions by people they claimed didn't matter to fuel their drive towards respectability.
The lesson: Never underestimate the lengths a sports team will go to create bulletin-board material to use as motivation.