Todd Bowles’s Future In New York Does Not Look Bright


New York Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles

By Jack Woodard, Sports Editor

Jets fans all over felt a new sense of joy on January 14, 2015 when the Jets hired Todd Bowles, the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, as their new coach.  Many hoped he would be the one to turn around this doomed franchise and fans were genuinely excited with their chances. Fast forward to Sunday, September 30, 2018, after an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars and fans are calling for Bowles’s head.  Everyone is sick and tired of the Jets making the same mistakes over and over again and never fixing them. Todd Bowles is a dead man walking in New York right now, barring a miraculous turnaround to the Jets 2018 (and unlikely January and February of 2019) campaign.  Where did it all go wrong?

In 2015, Bowles inherited a roster from Rex Ryan that was expected to compete and that is just what they did.  The Jets finished 10-6 with the highpoint of the season being an overtime win against the Patriots. Then move forward to the low point of the season the very next week.  All the Jets had to do to make the playoffs was beat the Bills in Orchard Park, and they were unable to do it. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 3 interceptions in a devastating loss that kept the Jets out of the playoffs yet again.  The Jets could not win in a crucial moment and throughout the season committed too many penalties. If only Jets fans knew that this would be the theme of the squad for the next 3 seasons.

The next year in 2016 the Jets did not live up to any expectations that fans had and finished the year 5-11.  The team let quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick go and seemed to be in for a long rebuilding process. The Jets picked up Josh McCown for the 2017 season and were predicted by many to contend for the title of “Worst team of all time”.  The Jets surprised many people in 2017, however.

After losing their first 2 games the Jets put together a 3 game winning streak and fans were ecstatic.  The Jets were sitting at 3-2 when they took on the Patriots. The Jets lost the game 24-17 and were the center of an NFL controversy over the way the game ended, but the truth is that this game should not have been this close.  The Jets jumped out to a 14-0 lead and then got outscored 24-3. The team could not finish the opponent when it was most important and this was not an isolated incident. Throughout the year the Jets lost games in the 4th quarter and week in and week out kept breaking fans’ hearts.  The Jets lost 31-28 to the Dolphins (a game in which they blew a 14 point lead to a backup quarterback), 25-20 to the Falcons (blown fourth quarter lead), 15-10 to the Buccaneers (the team just decided to not even show up this day), and 35-27 to the Panthers (another blown lead and costly penalties).  The Jets just could not finish games and another incident the team had was penalties. The Jets committed dumb penalties in big situations. The most memorable for fans being Mike Pennel’s roughing the passer penalty that cost the team a win against the Panthers. Players held or got pass interference calls when the Jets were trying to make momentum-shifting plays. Bowles’s team just could not finish games and had no discipline.  Despite all the negative of 2017, fans were optimistic as the team showed flashes of potential during a year when they were not supposed to win a single game.

The Jets decided to bring back Todd Bowles as well as GM Mike Maccagnan for the 2018 season.  The Jets also had a new offensive coordinator in Jeremy Bates. Fans were excited for the season, especially to see rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, and ready for the team to build off of last year and contend.  The players all seem to love Bowles and call him the “right man for the job”. Jeremy Bates was also seen as a really good offensive coordinator for Sam Darnold. The season started in Detroit against the Lions and the Jets put on a clinic.  The Jets pummeled the Lions and had to stop themselves from scoring over 50 points. The Jets won 48-17 and fans were elated. The offense played great and so did the defense, forcing 4 interceptions out of Matthew Stafford. The one area of concern was the penalties.  The Jets committed way too many penalties such as holding, pass interference, and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Bowles said he would fix this issue and the Jets looked ahead to the Dolphins. The Jets came out flat against the Dolphins, which was something fans were used to seeing in big games in 2017 and lost 20-12.  Darnold came under criticism from the fans but the real blame fell on Jeremy Bates. His play calling was terrible and would continue to get worse. The Jets then lost a Thursday Night Football game to the Browns. This was déjà vu for Jets fans. The Jets had a 14-0 lead against the Browns and then lost the game 21-17. Once again the Jets blew a lead in a game.  Baker Mayfield, who came in in the 2nd quarter, torched the Jets secondary and penalties were an issue once again. Once the Jets had the lead, it seemed as though Jeremy Bates had a mental block in his playcalling. The Jets seemed to be running only screens and tosses, not letting Darnold take any shots down the field. Darnold was then given a chance late but threw an interception.  The blame does not fall on him but on Jeremy Bates and Todd Bowles for even letting a team back into a game with horrible play calling.

Fans were angry with the team and these emotions were fueled even more by Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars.  The play calling was atrocious and the Jets came out flat again. Blake Bortles absolutely lit up the Jets secondary and the Jets had no answer.  Bates called passes three times on situations in 3rd or 4th and 1. Bowles also punted the ball late in the game down by two possessions. Fans were enraged.  The coaching was terrible and the players showed no effort. Todd Bowles told the media he did not know why the Jets did bad and that he had no answer to the Jaguars.  This is the worst thing a head coach can say. Bowles seems to have the same message week after week. He always says the team will get better and eliminate penalties and it never happens.  Blown leads, penalties, and horrible play calling are all still a recurring theme for this team. Bowles is in deep trouble with the fans. “Todd Bowles is an incompetent head coach and we have seen the same old Jets for the past 3 years.  We can’t win in the clutch and always blow leads. Bowles says that he will fix these problems every week but when is this going to happen? I still haven’t seen it. Enough is enough. Jeremy Bates is even worse, he has no idea what plays to call in big moments.  We need to fire them both,” said junior Jets fan Dan Hanrahan.

Todd Bowles and his horrendous coaching have already dug this team into a deep hole but the season is not completely lost just yet.  He is now 11-26 in his past 37 games but If Bowles can string together some wins he might have a chance of coming back next year. The odds of that happening, however, seem very slim right now.  Jets fans are tired of the same story over and over. Bowles is clearly not the man for the job right now and Bates is not an answer either.  Coach Bowles promises change and he better bring change, and a whole lot of it, or he will surely be fired.