The season hasn't even started and already the AFC East looks to be out of reach for the New York Jets. The Dolphins are on the upswing, the perennial division winning, defending Super Bowl champion Patriots appear strong as ever, and Rex Ryan is no longer coaching in Buffalo. And worst of all, there is still nothing resembling a franchise QB in New York (Giants included - sorry, Eli).
For over a decade, the Jets have failed to find an answer at football’s most important position. Sure, there was the frosty-haired iron-man Brett Favre, but for every decent game there was an indecent text message containing his rusty pipe and frosty forest. And then there was Mark “The Sanchize” Sanchez, but for every clutch performance he crapped out a series of butt performances. Most recently there was Ryan Fitzpatrick, but for every flash of Fitzmagic there were 4 or 5, or 6 interceptions to go with it (6 is a lot).
After missing out on this year's top prospects in the 2017 Draft, GM Mike Maccagnan has been tasked with finding a veteran stop-gap as they look for a more permanent solution. Talks quickly fell through with free agent veterans Tony Romo and Jay Cutler, as both opted for a career in broadcasting that was clearly more promising than a year serving as a glorified tackling dummy in a Jets uniform.
Retired quarterback and avid dogfighter Michael Vick was the Jets' next choice, but his agent informed Maccagnan that his client "would rather taser himself to death in a kiddie pool than sign with the Jets". The GM then turned to 2006 Rookie of the Year, Vince Young, who is currently trying out for Canadian Football's Saskatchewan Roughriders. "I had to turn them down," Young confirmed. "Sure, the Jets offered me a guaranteed roster spot, but if there's even a sliver of a chance I can stay in Saskatchewan, I have to take that chance."
"So we pulled out the phones and called everybody," reveals Maccagnan. "Favre's agent told us to go [screw] ourselves. We called Matt Hasselbeck, Tim Hasselbeck, Vinny Testaverde. No luck. There was a glimmer of hope when we thought we were close to a deal with Peyton Manning, but it turned out to be Eli pulling a prank on us. Then we were close to a deal with Donovan McNabb, but it turned out to be Eli pulling a prank on us."
With no QB and time running out, the Jets staff had to look deeper into the vault. Their search came to a close after a young scout suggested Steve McNair as a last-ditch option. Maccagnan went to the game film, and he loved what he saw. "Steve's heroic performance in the 1999 Super Bowl was one for the ages," reminisces the Jets GM. "Sure, that was ages ago, but then we looked at the tape from 2007, and he still looked more than capable of starting for us. That wasn't even ten years ago."
Steve McNair hung up his cleats after that 2007 season, but his retirement was cut short. On July 4, 2009, while the rest of us were blasting off fireworks, McNair’s 20-year-old girlfriend blasted off his head at point blank range, before turning the gun on herself.
When pressed on the topic, Maccagnan didn't seem to grasp the full gravity of the situation. "Look, we know domestic violence is a hot-button issue in the NFL right now," explains Maccagnan. "But we think Steve is in a unique position to speak out and serve as a shining example that domestic violence is a two-way street."
When asked if he thought the incident would physically prevent McNair from suiting up for the Jets, Maccagnan scoffed at the idea. "We've had a guy fumble from a butt, a guy get his jaw broken by his own teammate, a guy who accidentally shot himself in the leg. Our motto is: as long as you have a pulse, you can be a Jet."
It is unclear how McNair's contract is structured as no NFL team has ever previously signed a dead person. Jets GM Mike Maccagnan offered no clarity on the subject. "We called his people," recalls Maccagnan. "They couldn't believe what they were hearing. They told us to fax the paperwork over right away. For some reason his mom and her lawyer actually signed the contract. I don't get it. It must be some kind of tax thing. I'm just a GM, I don't get involved with any of that contract mumbo jumbo."
With an NFL contract on the line, the Estate of Steve McNair declined our request for an interview, but pleaded that we keep 'hush-hush' as to not alert the Jets organization of their grave mistake.