Dear Jets Fans,

First of all, I hope your summer was pleasant and full of relaxation. Maybe you traveled. Maybe you stayed poolside in your backyard. Maybe you thought about how bad Ryan Fitzpatrick played in 2016. Well, whatever you did, buckle up, because things are about to get wild; it is football season. Whether you like it or not, your team – the New York Jets – is back.

Let’s set things straight here, shall we?

Your team is odds-on favorite to have one of the worst seasons in NFL history, so the experts say. They are understandably projected to be the cellar-dwellers of the division, conference and league. But, that’s why they play the games, right?

Look, I won’t give you false hope. It will not be pretty this year for Gang Green. To keep you sane, let’s all say this together: the Jets will not be making the playoffs in 2017. Now that you accomplished step one – acceptance – it is time to understand a few things.

Come Sunday, don’t get mad, be patient. You’re a Jets fan after all. Your patience has been tested time and time again. You’re fed up – I understand. It is not easy being a Jets fan. But, what’s another year or two or three going to do? Wouldn’t you rather your favorite team rebuild the correct way rather than pay-and-plug for Band-Aid solutions? The sooner the team realizes this, the quicker the process will be. By the way, the organization has realized this. They’re on the right track.

You must be thinking right about now: “Well, what is there to look forward to this NFL season since my team is in despair?” In a way – you’re right. It is tough to get pumped to watch football on Sundays when you know your team won’t be competing for the Lombardi Trophy in February. It is also difficult to enjoy football season when your friends, family, co-workers, pets, bus drivers and baristas are Giants fans or root for another team with a clear path in 2017.

I won’t even begin to describe the frustration you’ll feel when your team loses ugly on a Sunday and you have to face the commuter sitting across from you on the train with a royal blue hat with red trim and a white-colored ‘NY.’

They’ll be getting on you ALL season. Be ready. Don’t sulk. Don’t cry. Don’t yell. Laugh it off. The Jets are going to be on the brunt end of jokes this autumn and winter – might as well prepare yourself now.

There are a few things to look forward to this year, Jets fans. Your defense should see a slight improvement from a year ago, led by two hard-hitting rookie safeties that will be staples for years to come in that defensive backfield. Your receivers – though not elite – are young and have talent. Robby Anderson, ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen should benefit from playing with a veteran like Josh McCown. Finally, tickets should be cheap. You won’t have to break the bank to visit MetLife Stadium this year so gather a group of your dearest friends, pack a cooler and a grill and head to the Meadowlands.

Finally, I understand the notion of: “How can any Jets fan sit there and root for their favorite team to lose every Sunday?” I understand completely. Saying: “I hope the Jets lose today” is easier than actually rooting for your favorite team to lose. Deep inside, you want them to shock the world. In reality, it’s not going to happen. Why risk positioning in a deep draft that may ensure a franchise quarterback for years to come for a late December win against the Saints?

It is not worth it, Jets fans. One to four wins likely guarantees a potential stud signal caller. Five to nine wins (did I really just write that?) is the danger zone. Ten or more wins, well, tip your cap to the green and white. While doing so, pinch yourself because you’re dreaming.

In the end, try to enjoy this upcoming season of football, Jets fans. Whether you are on Team Tank or Team Play Your Heart Out, enjoy your Sundays of Jets football as they prepare for the future. In the meantime, watch college football! In particular, keep a keen eye on UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Washington State’s Luke Falk, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and USC’s Sam Darnold. One of those men may be leading your favorite team for the next decade or so.

Best Regards,

Joe Barone