This is not about football. Yesterday, the New York Jets lost to the Miami Dolphins, by a score of 30-9. The score makes the game look closer than it was. Even more interesting, Miami won with its backup quarterback, after its starter was knocked out early in the first quarter. From the New York Times, a summary of the first half:
“seven possessions comprising four three-and-outs, one fumble (recovered by Miami), one blocked punt for a touchdown and one blocked field goal — not to mention an onside kick that surprised them. In that half, the Jets rushed for 18 yards. They did not cross midfield until after the two-minute warning.”
So — if this is not about football, what is it about? Well, back to the Times:
The Jets converted 5 of 17 third downs. They were 1 for 4 in the red zone…. Sanchez committed two turnovers (a fumble in Jets territory and an interception at the Miami 1) and missed several open receivers.
This is not, however, about football.
The final indignity of the first half — after the Dolphins’ onside-kick recovery, after their blocked punt, after Nolan Carroll’s strip sack led to a 3-yard touchdown by Daniel Thomas — came when the rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon, who recovered that blocked punt in the end zone, burst through the middle to tip Nick Folk’s 35-yard field-goal attempt.
Okay. a humiliating blowout, against a second-string signal caller, complete with a blocked punt, a blocked field goal, a successful onside kick by the opponent, and a fumble at the goal line. Did they leave anything out? Short of scoring a TD for the Dolphins with a wrong-way Corrigan event, the rout seems complete. But this is not about football.
This is about denial, about the wonderful human capacity for self-delusion. For some time now, we have watched the President of our country play out this same scenario in the “real” world. He’s fumbled the economy, been intercepted in the Middle East, watched Russia run an end-around on him, overthrown the constitution, been sacked by the Taliban — but he’s still sure that he’s doing just fine. He patiently explains to us how we’re just not getting the story right. How we don’t understand. And he is clear in his bewilderment at our failure to perceive what seems to him to be plain.
Just like Chaz Schilens. Schilens, who scored the Jets’ only touchdown, summed the whole thing up thus:
“They won the game, but I don’t think they’re a better team than us.”
Man, what does it take to convince you? Did the Dolphins have to tie Sanchez to a stake and burn him at midfield? Was there any part of the game where the Jets outplayed the Dolphins? Was it a bad day? Because when you are 3-5, you haven’t had too many “good days.”
But you can take some comfort in that “3.” At least you have won a few. Mr. Obama’s record is still, in its way, perfect.