But even worse, Johnson has now publicly tied the Jets to the Romney campaign, forcing his team's fans to swallow that emotional experience while they're trying to root for Gang Green to win games. Even if Romney was winning, this would be an unbelievable bummer. I've been there with Curt Schilling, you just don't mix politics and sports, it ruins it for everyone. Memo to other politically-inclined owners: the reason the ratings for your sport are so high, the reason the stands are always so completely packed at NFL games, is because ordinary Americans despise politics that much and more, and they will literally hurl their disposable income at you by the shovelful if you can just provide an oasis where they don't have to listen to either party for a few hours every week.
Oddly enough, though, I don't count the Jets out. They've had to deal with so much crazy stuff this year, they might just burst out of this with a mythic revenge run. Whether they're reacting to Johnson, Tannenbaum, Ryan, Mike Francesa (whom I love, among other things because Jets fans hate him), the media drumbeat for Tebowmania, or whoever or whatever, it's not hard to see Rex whipping them into a desperate sort of hate-sex frenzy and blowing away the AFC East. It'll be hard, but it's not so inconceivable – the Rex-era Jets have a history of fluky, improbable runs. But if it happens, it'll be in spite of their front office, not because of it.
As for Romney, he has to be pretty freaked out by Johnson's gambit as well. Accepting such a tight public man-hug by the owner of the Jets will queer him forever with New Englanders. If you can imagine New Yorkers having to watch Rudy Giuliani put on stiletto heels and tongue-kiss David Ortiz, that's about how well the Woody Johnson-Romney relationship will go over in Boston. Then Romney has his own karma questions: what will the impact be of having the New York Jets, a team that just lost two of its best players to devastating season-ending injuries, has a quarterback now definitely suffering from PTSD (Sanchez showed "the stare" for the first time after the Niners loss), and a roster almost completely bereft of offensive skill players, become "Romney's Team" in America's eyes? What happens if Romney flops in the debate tonight, and then the Texans come in next week and drop a 60-spot on "Team Romney"? The implications are terrible to contemplate, if you're managing Romney's campaign.
However, there is a third thing we all have to consider, perhaps the most frightening thing of all. What if Romney blows the debate tonight, Houston comes in next week and stomps the Jets, and then Tim Tebow gets inserted into the starting lineup at the precise moment Rex discovers the magic hate-sex formula and turns the team's season around? For a certain segment of the population, there can't be anything more terrifying: a Mitt Romney comeback led by Tim Tebow! And don't lie to yourselves, people, the groundwork for this storyline is already being laid. The sets are already built, the cameras are ready to roll. Even Johnson has begun publicly pushing Rex in the direction of the Tebow move.
If the nightmare scenario pans out, Tebow will start reviving the Jets toward the end of this month – the streak would begin with appalling victories over my own Patriots and then the Dolphins, those horrible Tebow-type wins, with scores like 11-6 and 13-2. And then, in the last weeks of the election, a parallel catastrophe for Obama: a repeat of the 2008 economic crash maybe, some unaccountable foreign policy disaster, or maybe Barack just walks out in the Rose Garden in a Che t-shirt two days before the vote . . .
Remember, the media will smell this story coming the instant it becomes even remotely possible and it will turn into the biggest juggernaut of wish-fulfillment media hype ever. Tim Tebow, Rex Ryan and Mitt Romney charging together to an improbable fourth-quarter comeback! There will be armies of techs at ESPN's Bristol compound designing the graphics for weeks on end if this thing happens. And they'll bring God into it and everything at that point, and woe to all of us if Romney actually wins the election thanks to some improbable political version of the Holy Roller game, because we will literally never hear the end of it.
Man, I'm getting chills just thinking about this. Let's just all think positive thoughts, okay? It probably won't happen, almost couldn't happen. That's true, right. Right?
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