Bob Raissman: Without Aaron Rodgers the Jets still have plenty of prime time appeal

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By usawebstories

In the wake of his season-ending ruptured Achilles, Aaron Rodgers left the Jets with a basket full of prime time, nationally televised games as well as multiple tilts in the attractive 4:25 p.m. “late” window.

To be exact: Three more prime time games that cannot be flexed, four 4:25 p.m. contests (including Sunday’s tango with Dallas), and the new 3 p.m. Nov. 24 Black Friday contest vs. Miami on Prime Video. That matchup will also air on “free” over-the-air TV in the home team markets.

The NFL Schedule Gnomes were drooling over Rodgers, a future Hall of Famer, playing in the nation’s largest media market. That’s why they gave the Jets deluxe TV treatment. Before even playing one down, Rodgers, a media magnet, provided a combination of leadership and spirituality that drastically elevated the perception of the Sad Sack franchise and its even sadder, kvetching fan base.

Pulled from the wreckage of the Rodgers disaster are these eye-popping TV jewels. But if it were possible, would the NFL, and its millions of fans, be better off if commissioner Roger Goodell could suddenly proclaim the Rodgers-less Jets Not Ready for Prime Time?

That would be a large mistake. For, in many respects, the product Robert Wood Johnson IV, Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh will bring to Dallas on Sunday is equally as fascinating as a Rodgers-led Gang Green. No, the Jets won’t have any player with the star power of Rodgers, especially his replacement, the erratic Zach Wilson.

What Gang Green has is a number of irresistible story lines that should appeal to a national audience, especially after their improbable Monday night win. Now, for their next act, the Jets will attempt to pull themselves out of a mess on the biggest of TV stages. In some respects, this is the football version of rubber-necking on the side of the NFL’s television highway.

Besides the enormous life-without-Aaron storyline, The Jets have enough personalities (Quinnen Williams, Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Garret Wilson, Breece Hall) who should bring big-time eyeballs to the screens and keep the buzz surrounding the team alive.

Once the Jets landed on Rodgers, the NFL set the foundation for a green-and-white summer by “forcing” the Jets to appear on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” The show gave Rodgers and the Jets a national platform. Fans from coast-to-coast got to know them.

The Jets continued on the national track opening on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” against Buffalo in the Meadowlands. Rodgers was over-and-out after four plays in the Jets first series. But Gang Green won dramatically in overtime with Hard Knocks “star” Xavier Gibson unleashing a 66-yard punt return for the winning score.

Apparently, no one bailed when Rodgers was officially ruled out of the game. Just over 22.6 million viewers tuned in making Bills-Jets making it the most watched ESPN “MNF” tilt.

They watched while Wilson tried to start picking up the pieces of his own career. The quarterback, who had no pressure coming into the season, is back to dealing with the harsh characterizations, on and off the field, that regularly come his way.

Wilson is no Buzz Machine. And things could go south in a hurry, but his story, and the intrigue surrounding a team that instantly lost its leader for the season, makes the Jets a compelling watch.

At least until Thanksgiving.


In terms of broadcasters, Zach Wilson found a soft place to land Sunday against the hard charging Cowboys defense.

CBS’ Tony Romo will be working the game with Jim Nantz. In the summer of Wilson’s rookie season, Romo believed Wilson’s upside was over the moon.

“I think Zach Wilson is going to be in the discussion as one of the top three to five quarterbacks [in the NFL] very quickly. Within the next couple of years,” Romo said at the time. “I think you’re going to see him rise. I think he’s unbelievable. His ceiling is so high.”

As he watches Wilson perform Sunday, it will be interesting to hear how much Romo has altered his opinion of the Jets quarterback.


With the MSG Network recently releasing its 2023-24 Knicks schedule, thoughts turned to the legend Walt (Clyde) Frazier, 78, and his broadcast future.

Early in the summer, Frazier said he wants to cut back on road tilts, but is all-in on yakking during home games. NBA TV sources say MSGN brass is considering a few different voices to fill-in for Frazier, including Jeff (Shecky) Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.

Watching both Jax and JVG, in a combo or singularly, reunite with their former ESPN partner Mike Breen, would not only be great TV but tremendous theater as well.

In June, obviously believing great broadcast teams grow on trees, ESPN’s Kangaroo Court, in what it called an economic move, fired both JVG and Jax.


There is no NFL analyst as consistently reliable as Giants radio voice Carl Banks.

The former Giants linebacker, who works with Bob Papa, did not wait until Dallas got too far ahead of the Giants, in the 40-0 blowout, before he started questioning Brian Daboll’s play calling.

Banks wondered why the coach went away from plays that were scripted in the opening series. In nine plays (mostly runs by Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones) the Giants moved the ball to the Cowboys 8-yard line before things started falling apart.


Many moons ago, Joe Benigno cornered the market on the downtrodden (Jets/Mets) fan persona. He flaunted it. Not that he gave a damn but his undying allegiance left his credibility in question. Now, Joey B., has competition. Since the coming and going of Aaron Rodgers, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and WFAN’s Brandon Tierney (Did you see his Animal House-like rant, aka “Bluto’s Big Speech?”) have made this latest Jets “tragedy” more about THEM than the team. The moaning and whining about THEIR Jetsian misfortune suggested someone in need of a Pity Party. Unfortunately, on this occasion, it also left the perception they are more fan boys than serious broadcasters. … While SNY’s Mets postgame show can’t contractually be pre-empted, it needed to be Monday night. As soon as the Jets won in OT, we switched to SNY for the Jets postgame, only to see Gary Apple and Todd Zeile discussing Arizona’s 4-3 win over the Mets. The closest SNY got to the Jets was a crawler saying the postgame was coming up next. Couldn’t wait. Went back to ESPN for its MNF postgame. That was too slow moving. Put on 98.7 and, fortunately, caught the Main Event, Robert Saleh’s press conference. … Is he kidding? Or is Christopher (Mad Dog) Russo really ticked? Doggie said he thought he was going to be a participant in Stephen A. Smith’s Wednesday 28-minute interview with Roger Goodell on “First Take.”  And Dog was not happy when production staffers basically threw him a stick and told him to chase it. There were only two seats on the set — one for SAS and one for the commissioner. Russo knows when you dish it out you’ve got to take it. Russo, rightfully so, has been tough on Goodell. The Dog should not expect any niceties in return. … In the middle of the participants fawning over new “The NFL Today” cast member J.J. Watt, Phil Simms delivered a sarcastically funny line. He quoted an NFL type who said Dak Prescott just “can’t throw” more interceptions. Simms: “That’s ground breaking stuff.” Even Bill Cowher laughed.

NFL Week 2 Bettors Guide: Cardinals a perfect rebound foe for Saquon Barkley, Giants

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For facing the media.  After suffering another injury that left his Yankees career in doubt on Sept. 8 vs Milwaukee, the hard-luck pitcher did not duck any questions. Severino told boss scribes he “felt like somebody shot me.” Through his tribulations, the right-hander has been up-front and available.


How many great games and memories did Tom Brady provide CBS the past 20 years? And yet the network took a pass on televising the halftime ceremony honoring his legendary contributions. It put readily available halftime game highlights over history.


What Robert Saleh said: “We’ve got a lot of faith in Zach [Wilson].”

What Robert Saleh meant to say: “For now, Zach is our only option.”

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