Vinny Testaverde laments Jets sideshows

NEW ORLEANS — Former Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde remembers when the team was taken seriously. He was part of three Jets playoff teams and finished with a losing record just once in seven years.

Now, Testaverde has watched from afar as the Jets have become a punch line and punching bag for the NFL. Testaverde believes they bring a lot of it upon themselves.

“It’s been disappointing,” said Testaverde, who is here working with MetLife to promote next year’s Super Bowl at the Meadowlands. “There’s enough distraction throughout the course of a season without trying to add to that. If you can avoid distraction, your team, I think, focuses better, which in turn leads to better results.”

Testaverde never said coach Rex Ryan was to blame for the frenzy that always seems to surround these Jets, but added he thinks Ryan could do a better job of managing the firestorms that pop up around the team.

“I think at times they’ve created somewhat of their own distractions, the distractions that lead to them not being as successful as they should be,” Testaverde said. “Maybe [Ryan] wants them to feel that pressure of being in the big city, playing under the big lights in New York and being able to deal with that in a week-in, week-out basis. I don’t know what his strategy is, but I know having played there, having played in Dallas, some of the bigger cities where the lights are brighter, you still need to eliminate as many distractions as you can.”

Testaverde was doing interviews about the hot-button topic of the cold-weather Super Bowl in New Jersey next year. Testaverde said people should study the facts about how much of an effect the weather actually can have on the game.

“You look back since 1991, games under 40 degrees compared to games over 70 degrees, there’s been a point-and-a-half difference — very little,” the Long Island native said. “The scoring is still going to be what it is. Passer rating: five-point difference, not very much. One of the things that stands out is field goals that are made, the percentages go down, and the turnovers go up. But all of those elements are part of the game.”

Testaverde said weather conditions always are part of football.

“All the field conditions, whether it’s windy or raining, those are all things that you have to prepare for,” Testaverde said. “It’s not like baseball where they cancel the game if it’s raining. Football is being played, other than lightning or a major storm. That’s part of the game, and that’s the way it should be played.”

Whatever the weather, Testaverde said he hopes the Jets can find a way to get to the Super Bowl next year, however unlikely that seems at the moment.
“Hopefully, they’ll be [the first team] to play in their home stadium for the Super Bowl in MetLife Stadium,” he said.

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