The 1990 Yankees were 18-32, it was June 6, it was in Boston, it was 12 years after Bucky Dent’s heroic home run had devastated the Red Sox in that unforgettable one-game playoff at Fenway, and George Steinbrenner was no longer interested in nostalgia, and here came Stump Merrill.
‘’I know I’ll take a lot of heat for this,’’ The Boss said. ‘’I said I wouldn’t make a change, that I’d give him the whole year, but I felt we had to do it. I’m a big boy. I’ll handle it.”
Christopher Johnson, CEO of the Jets and de facto owner for as long as brother Woody is working overseas for the president, isn’t The Boss, as much as many Jets fans would like him to be one game into this pandemic season.
Christopher Johnson continues to see what he sees, or wants to see, and Jets fans see what they see and wish they hadn’t seen in Buffalo.
Sorry, Jets fans: Christopher Johnson doesn’t see Adam Gase steering a green-and-white Titanic heading for the iceberg.
He sees the right head coach and the right franchise quarterback navigating rough seas together and bringing the ship safely into port.
Gase is a lucky man … his boss is The Anti-Boss.
To be fair, 17 games into the Adam Gase Era, and 27 games into the Sam Darnold Era, this is not the time to throw either of them overboard.
“I have full confidence in Adam,” the owner says.
“I have so much confidence in Sam,” the owner says.
Patience is a virtue for owners who crave stability and continuity, but after a dozen seasons with Tom Coughlin, even the conservative Giants felt compelled to cut bait on Ben McAdoo after two seasons then Pat Shurmur after two seasons.
The concern among Jets fans is whether the inexperienced Johnson, who admittedly goofed firing former GM Mike Maccagnan after the 2019 draft to hire Joe Douglas, will recognize whether Gase remains the right man for his franchise and for his franchise quarterback.
Remember, Gase was hired in large part to help Darnold Jet up to the next level.
“I think he can work with and develop quarterbacks,” Johnson said. “I do continue to think that he is a brilliant offensive mind, especially.”
Because if he isn’t, it will call into question whether Darnold is the right quarterback for his franchise as visions of Trevor Lawrence begin dancing in the heads of long-suffering Jets fans.
“I think we’re gonna see him turn into that quarterback that we all expected shortly, I really do,” Johnson said. “I think he is an absolutely sterling quarterback.”
And, “He is the best player I know at turning the page. The absolute best. I think he’ll turn the page on this last game, and I think we’ll see an extraordinary Sam.”
It’s an admirable and important trait, turning the page. But there better be a more exciting chapter in the rest of the book.
“You know it when you see it,” Johnson said.
He did see the same thing his fan base saw in Buffalo. There is no excuse for it. Even if the owner makes one.
“I do think the Jets have more new pieces, more moving pieces than most teams,” Johnson said. “I mean, just look at our offensive line. I feel that you’re gonna see a different team moving ahead, but yeah, it was a mess on Sunday, no question. I was not happy about that at all.”
It was World Series-or-bust every year for The Boss. Johnson has no playoff mandate for his fearless leader.
“I’m looking for real progression over this season, and I’m confident that we’ll see it,” Johnson said.
You root for him to be right. He is on the side of social justice, and his players adore him for it. Gase is 7-10 as his coach, 30-36 overall.
“I think that he has a lot more in him as a head coach than some of our fans are giving him credit for,” Johnson said, “and I understand. They want to see success, and I think that they will.”
All that will be required of Gase is getting the arrow and the franchise quarterback pointing up. It isn’t asking too much for a brilliant mind. Or much at all. And that will be enough for The Anti-Boss.