The Jets own the NFL’s longest active playoff drought, and Sunday hinted it might only get worse.
New York put a winning team on the football field over the weekend—the soccer pitch, to be precise. In the gridiron game, things only got worse.
Hours before the blue counterparts clinched their fifth consecutive losing season, the New York Jets officially extended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought.
An offensive listless 30-9 home loss to the New Orleans Saints will formally keep the Jets out of the AFC playoff bracket for the 11th consecutive year. The Jets (3-10) were one of three teams officially removed from the playoff discussion, joining the equally doomed haunts of Detroit and Jacksonville.
The drought has reached dire levels within the organization: the Jets have tied the longest such streak in franchise history, matching an 11-year disappearance from 1970 through 1980.
As painful as things have been, New York still has a long way to go to reach the longest postseason departure in NFL history, a dubious 25-season distinction currently held by the Washington Redskins (1946-70) and Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals (1949-73).
The Jets do have ownership of what’s by far the NFL’s longest active drought: Arizona, Cincinnati, and Denver are tied for second at five years apiece, and each is actively involved in their respective conference’s playoff hunt.
The extension was somewhat symbolic, as Sunday’s defeat offered little hint that the drought would end any time soon.
New York mustered only 256 yards of offense (54 coming on a meaningless final drive against a relenting New Orleans defense) and new franchise quarterback Zach Wilson (19-of-42, 202 yards) struggled without the services of his fellow offensive rookies Elijah Moore and Michael Carter.
Head coach Robert Saleh, aware of the dubious history, addressed the dire state of the Jets after their seventh loss by two possessions or more this season.
“I’ll say the same thing I’ve been saying. Does it suck? Sure. I feel no one in that locker room wants to lose football games,” Saleh said, per the Jets’ postgame transcript. “The path is crystal clear where this organization needs to go and the coaches, the players, from the top down, it’s very, very clear we have to use the next four weeks to cement what we’re thinking we have to do and attack everything. It’s going to flip. This is the crappy part of the process, but it’s not discouraging. We have a lot of young guys getting a lot of playing time and I can promise you they’re learning from this.
“We’ve got a great group of young guys, first- and second-year players who have been getting unexpected opportunities,” Saleh continued. “They’re getting opportunities and getting better, whether tangible or not, I can see it. I watch the tape. From the defense, we’re getting some continuity, playing some good ball. I promise you we will be better next week.”
Eliminated from the playoff picture, the Jets will embark on the first of four meaningless games against the Miami Dolphins next Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags