The Jets were angry their quarterback’s miked-up comment was aired on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
“It bothers me, it bothers the organization,” coach Adam Gase said Tuesday, 12 hours after a 33-0 loss to the New England Patriots. Gase acknowledged it’s “part of the deal,” coaches and players being miked for prime-time games, but he added: “Obviously, you never anticipate something like that happening. The fact that it did, it gives us pause to really cooperate anymore because I don’t know how we can allow our franchise quarterback to be put out there like that.”
Darnold played his worst game as a pro, committing five turnovers. In the second quarter, after his third turnover, he went to the sideline and said, “I’m seeing ghosts.” The clip instantly went viral.
Essentially, Darnold admitted he was befuddled by the Patriots’ defense — an embarrassing moment, to be sure. He handled it well after the game, telling reporters he always tries to be honest with his coaches and that he needed to “see the field a lot better” against New England’s blitz-heavy defense.
A day later, he addressed the “ghosts” fallout.
“I’m not embarrassed by it,” he said during his weekly radio spot Tuesday on ESPN New York’s Michael Kay Show. “It is what it is. Worse things have happened to me. But at the same time, yeah, it’s just a bummer that it was live. It’s a lot more common a phrase than it’s being made out to be.”
Darnold said he doesn’t hold grudges and would have no problem being miked up in future games.
NFL Films determines which audio clips from miked-up players are used on the air. The teams expect NFL Films to act as a gatekeeper, counting on its producer to disregard in-game comments that might cast teams and players in an unflattering light.
NFL Films had a representative at MetLife Stadium and cleared Darnold’s “ghosts” remark for TV.
The NFL had no immediate comment on the matter. ESPN, which has the freedom to decide which clips to use, deferred comment to NFL Films.
The NFL screwed Sammy over…there’s not one player in the NFL who’s cool with having every sideline convo broadcasted to millions…there’s a reason we’ve never heard other QB’s frustrated on the sideline like that before…that’s crazy, @NFL did Sam dirty as hell https://t.co/2XmYXNTNoL
— Le’Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 22, 2019
The Jets were furious after the game. The Patriots, too, seemed stunned that Darnold’s remark was allowed to air. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy asked reporters, “He really said that?”
Darnold was out of sync the entire game, throwing an interception on his first pass. He completed only 11 of 32 passes for 86 yards, including four interceptions. His passer rating was only 3.6, one of the worst in franchise history.
Gase said he expects Darnold to rebound. The coach saved his anger for NFL Films, although he didn’t identify it.
“We’ll be looking into that pretty hard,” Gase said. “That’s one of those things that I was really disappointed to hear about after the game. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that, where somebody that was miked up was basically … a comment like that was allowed to air.”