Jets on pace to make history, set futility marks for turnovers

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Somewhere in the middle of his endless monologue earlier in the week, general manager John Idzik touched on the essence of his team's struggles: Turnovers.

When it comes to turnovers, the New York Jets stink. They don't protect the ball and they don't steal the ball, and anybody with even a cursory knowledge of football -- or any team sport, for that matter -- knows that is a formula for disaster.

The Jets have a league-worst turnover margin of minus-15, but that doesn't begin to tell the story. We're talking about a bad run of epic proportions. At the midpoint of the season, they are on pace for the fewest takeaways in NFL history.

The fewest amount in a 16-game season is 11, set by the Houston Texans last season. The all-time futility mark is held by the 1934 St. Louis Gunners, who made only nine takeaways ... in a three-game season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Jets, reviving the spirit of St. Louis, have three -- one interception and two fumble recoveries. Do the math.

"I've been a part of a lot of record-setting defenses, but I never thought I'd set one in futility," Rex Ryan said. "Thank goodness the year isn’t over. I bet we won’t be there, I bet we won’t break that record before the year is over, but we can’t buy one."

A few mind-boggling factoids on the turnover drought/plague, according to ESPN Stats & Information:

  • The Jets could threaten the record for worst turnover margin in league history -- minus-30, by the 1965 Pittsburgh Steelers. In the post-merger era (1970 to present), the mark is minus-28, by the 2000 San Diego Chargers.

  • At their current clip, the Jets will blow past the franchise record -- minus-21 by the 1976 Jets. That's pretty awful, because it happened in a 14-game season. The 16-game mark was set in 1996 by the infamous Kotite Jets -- a minus-20. The current outfit is a safe bet to break that mark.

  • The scary part is, this season isn't an aberration. As of now, three of the six worst turnover margins in Jets history are the past three seasons. You can thank Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith for that.

  • Relax, you don't have to worry about them setting the futility mark for most giveaways in a season. In the post-merger era, it's 63 by the 1978 San Francisco 49ers. The Jets' record is 55, way back in 1962, when they were known as the Titans. Since the merger, it's 53 in 1976, Lou Holtz's one and only season as the coach. Currently, they stand at 18. They would need a few more Buffalo debacles to challenge the mark.

  • They're an absolute lock to hit a franchise low for takeaways, 15. Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman wants to avoid that indignity, saying, "I hope we don’t shatter that record."

In case you're wondering, which Jets team produced only 15 takeaways? The Kotite Jets? The Holtz Jets?

Nope, it happened last season.