Insert your own joke about the laughter generated by the New York Jets for much of their pro football life, but time will tell whether they end up regretting not listening to a famous comedian’s advice about Lamar Jackson two years ago.
Larry David is a lifetime New York Jets fan
Comedian Larry David, the 72-year-old star of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” is one of the legions of long-suffering New York Jets fans. The team has been a 50-50 proposition the last two decades as far as posting winning records, but the Jets are 0-4 in conference championship games since winning the Super Bowl after the 1968 season with Joe Namath as their star.
David thought he was being helpful before the 2018 NFL draft when he called Mike Maccagnan, who was the general manager of the team. David told him he’d been following Lamar Jackson’s exploits at the University of Louisville and thought Jackson could be a star with the Jets.
“He kind of gave me the most condescending … he laughed at me,” David said. “But who can blame him? Nobody thought Jackson was going to be this.”
The entire NFL took a pass on Jackson until the Baltimore Ravens selected the 2016 Heisman Award winner with the final pick of the first round. Jackson was the last of five quarterbacks selected in the first round; several of the teams that were interested indicated they liked Jackson as a receiver rather than a signal-caller.
Dueling quarterbacks: Sam Arnold vs. Lamar Jackson
The New York Jets selected Sam Darnold with the No. 3 pick in the draft, two spots behind the Cleveland Browns taking Baker Mayfield. The other first-round quarterbacks were Josh Allen to the Buffalo Bills at No. 7 and Josh Rosen to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 10.
There’s a natural interest in whether Darnold or Allen will emerge as the better quarterback over time since the Jets and Bills are AFC East rivals. But even if Darnold has a successful career, Jets fans like David could reasonably second-guess them as long as Lamar Jackson performs even close to his level thus far.
Darnold showed improvement from his first to second season, throwing more touchdown passes and fewer interceptions. He has 5,889 yards, 36 TDs, and 28 interceptions in 26 career games.
Jackson went from seven starts as a rookie to 15 last season, posting a 13-2 record. He threw for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns against six interceptions, but Jackson also rushed 176 times for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns in establishing him as the NFL’s most feared dual-threat QB.
Larry David knows a winner when he sees one
No one can reasonably criticize Mike Maccagnan, who was general manager of the Jets in 2018, for not listening to Larry David about Lamar Jackson. There’s a saying about coaches that applies to general managers as well: Those who listen to fans will end up sitting with them after they’re fired.
Then again, Maccagnan ended up getting fired anyway.
On the other hand, no one should hang up the phone if David, who’s nominated himself in the past to be the Jets’ offensive coordinator, calls with an idea for a television show. David teamed with Jerry Seinfeld to create the “Seinfeld” TV series, for which David was the head writer and executive producer for seven seasons.
The former stand-up comedian and “Saturday Night Live” writer went on to develop and star in HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” loosely based on his own life.
Estimates have placed his net worth over $400 million.