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Rodgers Injury Caps a Dismal Summer for New York City Sports Fans

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Rodgers Injury Caps a Dismal Summer for New York City Sports Fans

In the dreary, decades-long historical past of the New York Jets, Monday night time’s sport was alleged to be a turning level: Aaron Rodgers, a surefire Hall of Fame quarterback, was set to take the sector surrounded by All-Pro expertise.

For followers of the crew, which has lengthy appeared cursed, hopes had maybe by no means been increased. The Jets — and Rodgers particularly — have been the celebs of HBO’s documentary collection “Hard Knocks” throughout coaching camp, amping up the thrill across the crew to one thing approaching hysteria. This was alleged to be the 12 months that the Jets lastly broke by means of; even the Super Bowl appeared inside attain.

All that hope and hype lasted precisely 4 performs.

Rodgers fell to the turf on a routine play early within the first quarter, stood briefly, then sat down, a glance of disbelief on his face. He had ruptured his left Achilles’ tendon — a doubtlessly devastating damage for a quarterback. His season was over. At age 39, there can be questions on whether or not his profession is, too.

“We all bought in. We all drank the Kool-Aid” that Rodgers would possibly lead the Jets to the Super Bowl, stated Scott Schoifet, a season-ticket holder who has attended each house opener because the early Nineteen Nineties. “And then, four plays later, he’s on the ground.”

Improbably, the Jets gained the sport in opposition to the Buffalo Bills on a dramatic time beyond regulation landing. But it was a hole win — and, in a bleak summer season for New York’s sports activities groups, a uncommon one.

This time of 12 months, with soccer season beginning and baseball’s pennant races in full swing, could be some of the thrilling in sports activities. But for New York followers, this week would possibly signify a brand new low.

“It’s a lot of losing,” stated Frank Isola, a sports activities journalist for ESPN who seems on the reveals “Around the Horn” and “Pardon the Interruption.” “The U.S. Open ended this weekend. The Mets and Yankees are done. And part of you feels like the Jets and Giants are done already.”

Despite big payrolls and championship aspirations in the beginning of the baseball season, the Mets and Yankees are mired at or close to the underside of their divisions.

And about 24 hours earlier than Rodgers’s damage occurred on the exact same MetLife Stadium area, a New York Giants crew that had entered the season with a high-paid quarterback and star working again with a brand new contract was summarily thrashed 40-0 by the rival Dallas Cowboys.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a 24-hour span with so much disappointment in one venue, ever,” stated Darren Meenan, a Jets fan who watched the sport from his house on Long Island. “It’s a kick to the gut.”

This summer season, solely the W.N.B.A.’s New York Liberty, whose first-round playoff collection begins this week, have managed to realize something greater than mediocrity.

The final New York space crew to win a championship in one of many 4 greatest males’s American sports activities leagues was the Giants, who gained the Super Bowl in 2012, on the finish of the 2011 season.

Since then, a number of groups constructed up followers’ hopes, solely to sprint them with accidents, persona clashes or the pure vicissitudes of sport. The Brooklyn Nets assembled a dream crew, solely to look at its stars James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving fail to coalesce on the court docket. The Yankees have been blessed this season with a excessive payroll and even increased expectations, however it all unraveled after outfielder and crew captain Aaron Judge injured his toe in June.

New accidents proceed to plague the Yankees, as extremely regarded rookie outfielder Jasson Dominguez was identified on Sunday with a ligament tear in his proper elbow, ending his season.

Perhaps no crew underperformed extra spectacularly than the Mets, the place Steve Cohen, the crew’s billionaire proprietor, spent greater than $400 million on participant contracts and “luxury taxes” paid to different groups as a penalty for ignoring Major League Baseball’s spending caps.

That spending spree included a five-year, $102 million contract for pitcher Edwin Díaz, whose season ended earlier than it even started when he tore a tendon in his knee throughout a world event in March. The greatest query now’s whether or not the Mets can keep away from ending the 2023 season with the worst file in baseball.

“It was harder to watch games this season than most years I’ve watched this team, just because of how high the expectations were,” stated Mr. Meenan, proprietor of The 7 Line, a Mets-themed attire firm.

Even the Red Bulls, homeowners of the longest energetic streak of constructing the Major League Soccer Playoffs — 13 years — are sitting close to the underside of the league. The New York City Football Club, which has made the playoffs for seven straight years and gained a championship in 2021, is just not faring significantly better.

But it’s Jets followers whose agony, within the wake of the news about Rodgers, is most acute — the bottom second within the historical past of a crew whose most notable current second is the so-called butt fumble, which concerned a Jets quarterback slamming so laborious into his personal teammate’s rear finish that he misplaced the ball.

And but for some followers, hope continues to spring everlasting. Spike Lee concedes that some New York groups are struggling, however not his beloved Knicks.

“Last night was a disaster” for the Jets, Mr. Lee stated. “But we got the Knicks, though! We’re going to conference finals at least! I have full belief.”

Baseball followers, disillusioned by the Yankees and Mets, have been trying to the opening video games of soccer season for some reduction, stated Chris Russo, a longtime New York sports activities discuss radio persona. The Giants drubbing and the Rodgers damage have been miserable, Mr. Russo stated, however not essentially trigger for alarm since each the Giants and Jets have 16 extra video games to play within the common season.

“This was a terrible weekend for the football teams,” Mr. Russo stated. “But it’s not the apocalypse yet. I don’t think the Jets team is writing off the season because of this one game.”

For many, although, Tuesday morning was spent within the 5 phases of grief, from denial that Rodgers’s damage was as grievous because it appeared all the way in which to grim acceptance, when the crew introduced that its star quarterback would spend the season on the bench.

On ESPN, Mike Greenberg — the host of the morning dialogue present “Get Up” and an avowed Jets fan — struggled to get although his remarks. “I can’t pretend this is a normal morning,” he stated, and added, “from a sports perspective, this is about as overwhelming as anything that could possibly happen.”

On X, the social media web site previously often called Twitter, Mr. Greenberg’s daughter posted, maybe solely partially tongue in cheek: “thank you everyone for your concern about my father’s mental state i am here to confirm it is not good.”

Boomer Esiason, a former Jets quarterback and now a commentator on the radio station WFAN, started his present on Tuesday morning by saying, “Yeah, I’m sick to my stomach, man.”

Fans felt an identical illness.

“I’m so upset. Devastated, honestly,” stated Marin Kerker, 19, who wore a Jets jersey on Tuesday morning as she walked to a health care provider’s appointment in Manhattan.

Of course, the crew’s fan base has a status for enthusiasm that verges on the obnoxious, and its tragedy engendered greater than just a little schadenfreude on Tuesday.

In Brooklyn, Charles Jackson, a Chicago Bears fan, used a well-known however profane expression about karma to drive house the purpose.

“That’s what I told everyone this morning in my elevator,” stated Mr. Jackson, 57, earlier than clarifying: “I don’t like to see anyone get hurt. But I doubt if the guy will be coming back.”

For a long time, Ken Pikowski has been a Jets superfan. Known to his mates as “End Zone Kenny,” he attended most house video games dressed as The Incredible Hulk, full with a development helmet in Jets inexperienced and white.

But within the final two years he has discovered it tougher to maintain the religion, he stated. He was not at Monday night time’s sport. He bore witness to the bottom second in his crew’s historical past on tv.

“I had to take a break,” Mr. Pikowski stated. “After 45 years as a Jets fan, you get exhausted after a while.”

Claire Fahy and Erin Nolan contributed reporting.

Source web site: www.nytimes.com