Diocesan Priests Hope Rodgers Can Save the ‘Same Old Jets’

New York Jets team president Hymie Elhai, team owner Christopher Johnson, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, team owner Woody Johnson, and head coach Robert Saleh pose during an introductory press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on April 26. (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

What three words in the English language when said in a row invoke the most utter sense of despair and torment for local sports fans?

If you guessed, “New,” “York,” and “Jets,” you are correct!

For the majority of the franchise’s history, the Jets have been the laughingstock of the NFL, whether that’s by their own doing or just a lot of bad luck.

However, heading into the 2023 season, things have a different feel. There’s a sense of optimism that surrounds the Jets, and the team is being talked about in the preseason much more than normal.

That’s because the Jets shocked the football world by trading for veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The 39-year-old former Green Bay Packers superstar is a four-time league MVP, 10-time Pro Bowl selection, and Super Bowl champion (2011).

All throughout last season, NFL pundits sang the praises of the Jets defense, which was among the best in the sport (ranked second with 18.6 points allowed per game and fourth with 311.1 total yards against per game).

Yet the entire storyline centered upon the lack of a consistent, quality quarterback. The NFL is a QB league, and the youngster Zach Wilson just hasn’t gotten the job done in his short career.

So that led the Jets to bring in Rodgers, who some fans view as the franchise’s savior — given that the defense is in such good shape.

For most devout fans though, they’re just waiting for this situation to morph into the “Same Old Jets.”

“I kept thinking something was going to go wrong,” said Father Bill Sweeney, pastor of St. Francis de Sales, Belle Harbor. “Usually with the Jets, something happens that messes everything up. How are they going to mess this up?”

Yet Father Sweeney, who dates back to the Joe Namath 1969 Super Bowl run, says he’s cautiously optimistic, especially seeing how energized and enthusiastic Rodgers has looked early on as a member of Gang Green.

Father James Kuroly, rector principal of Cathedral Prep and Seminary, Elmhurst, and director of the diocese’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry, has seen plenty of heartache in his Jets fandom. He too though has high expectations given that the team seems to have found the star quarterback it so desperately needed.

“As a fan going into the season, the attitude is a little bit different,” Father Kuroly said. “We’re going in with a little bit of hope. You just never know with the Jets. That’s the theme. Whenever we speak about the Jets, you just don’t know.”

Father Pat West, pastor of St. Sebastian, Woodside, is a bit more skeptical. He realizes that football is a team game, and a team is only as successful as all its moving parts working together on the field consistently each week.

“It’s not just one person that can do it,” Father West said. “You need a team, and you need a team that stays healthy. Will Rodgers bring a championship? I don’t think it’s any one person.”

The AFC is shaping up to be tough, and it all starts with the quarterback position. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs return with the electric Patrick Mahomes, while Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, and Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers are all poised for big seasons.

The Jets with Rodgers are now right in that conversation. Will this grizzled veteran quarterback be exactly what this team needs to get over the hump?

Anything short of a postseason berth would be a disappointment for this year’s Jets. The pieces are in place; now they’ll have to go out there and prove that they can be winners — something so elusive in their history.

“I look at it as a promising year and one I’m looking forward to, which I can’t say has been true for the last couple of years,” Father Kuroly said.

“I’m excited about the season,” Father Sweeney said. “Especially with the Mets as bad as they are, it’s not too hard to get excited about the Jets season!”

The Jets open the season Sept. 11 against the rival Bills on Monday Night Football. They’re set to play six primetime games this season — the maximum allowed for any team.

That’s how you know things will be different this year. But wait, aren’t we still talking about the “Same Old Jets?”

Contact Jim Mancari via email at