Robert Saleh is the upbeat first-year head coach of the perennially downtrodden New York Jets. He has brought excitement and hope to a punch-drunk fan base. His “All Gas, No Brake!” mantra was quickly adopted by the faithful who packed public practice sessions at the Jets’ recently completed training camp in Florham Park, New Jersey.
While GreenSportsBlog admires Saleh’s enthusiasm, we believe his use of “GAS” as the fuel that will power the team to success is a mistake, given its contributions to global climate change.
So, we were excited that Coach Saleh took some valuable time to talk to GSB* about the motto — and how to improve it — with the regular season opener at Carolina only two weeks away.
* OK, Coach Saleh didn’t actually talk with us. This is a MOCK INTERVIEW. But we’re pretty sure he would have said what we said he said.
GreenSportsBlog: Coach Saleh (SAHL-uh), thanks so much for your time today. I’ll keep it brief since I know your J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! JETS! host the Philadelphia Eagles in the final preseason game tonight. As a long-suffering Jets fan, I can’t wait to see you put your stamp on the team, starting when the regular season starts in Carolina on September 12.
As the GreenSportsBlogger, there is one thing that concerns me going into your first season as the head man of the team that is known as Gang GREEN.
Coach Robert Saleh: I know…you’re worried about the defense because of the injuries we’ve suffered this summer, especially with our newly-signed pass rushing beast, Carl Lawson, going down for the season with an Achilles tendon tear. Hey, that was a brutal injury, no doubt, for Carl. But he’s already rehabbing and will be back, ready to go and better than ever, for 2022.
For us, we’re gonna be fine. We’re living by our “Next Man Up” motto.
GSB: I get that, Coach, but it’s one of your other sayings that has me concerned and that is “All GAS, No BRAKE!”…
Coach Saleh: Really? What don’t you like about it? It encapsulates how we want every Jets player to conduct themselves in the classroom, in the training room and on the field. Going full-out all the time, stopping for no one! And when you face a challenge, an obstacle you KEEP. GOING. All GAS, No BRAKE!
And I’ll tell you, the fans get it and they love it! I remember at one of our first public practices in July, I took the mic in front of the stands and I gave them: “All GAS”, and the fans were GREAT, yelling back in response, “No BRAKE!” It was AWESOME!
NY Jets first year head coach Robert Saleh gets Jets fans involved with his “All Gas, No Brake” chant at training camp in July (starts at 0:36 second mark)
GSB: I get it. And I LOVE the sentiment. It’s the “GAS” that’s the issue…
Coach Saleh: Why? You need to put the GAS pedal to the metal to win in this league, all the TIME!!!
GSB: Here’s why: Because GAS, when burned — whether you’re talking about GASoline, refined from oil to fuel your car, or natural GAS, which powers, heats and cools buildings — is a massive contributor to the greenhouse GAS emissions that are the main cause of global climate change that is threatening millions of people, including Americans, now.
Coach Saleh: Ahhh, I get it. OK, I don’t know much about climate change, don’t think much about it. But my wife Sanaa and I have six kids and our two oldest, Adam and Zane, have been talking more and more about it at home.
They’ve been learning about it in school.
GSB: What have they been saying?
Coach Saleh: Adam told me that it’s really been a big problem in Lebanon, which is where our ancestors are from. He said that there has been more drought. And when it does rain, there has been more flooding. Both hurt the economy.
I thought climate change would mainly be a problem for, you know, our grandkids and great-grandkids, not something that we need to deal with now. But Zane said that his teacher told him that it’s happening now, all over the world. Sanaa said that the worst thing about climate change now is that poor people, who don’t have the ability to audible, to change their lives, are the ones who are suffering the most.
GSB: And it’s impacting sports! Including football, with the extreme heat making training camp much more challenging, health-wise…
Coach Saleh: …Oh I’ve been noticing that the last couple of years when I was with the San Francisco 49ers, the heat has been BRUTAL. And then we were dealing with wild fires. But do we know that the heat and the fires are really due to climate change? And that it’s human-caused?
GSB: Yes. And Yes. Science has shown that climate change is making the extreme weather, including the heat waves and wild fires, worse. Did you watch any of the Olympics in Tokyo?
Coach Saleh: Very little, just some highlights. I’ve been very busy trying to change the culture around here. We’ve got some incredible young men — did you know we’re the youngest team in the league! — who are working hard to improve every day!
GSB: The reason I ask is that Tokyo had such oppressive heat during the Games, that many athletes had a lot of trouble dealing with it. Daniil Medvedev, the world #2 ranked men’s tennis player, told the chair umpire during a match “I can finish the match, but I can die.” The marathons were moved 300 miles to the north to Sapporo. Etcetera.
Coach Saleh: I get it. Climate change is happening now, it’s human-caused, and it’s impacting sports. So, what does that have to do with “All GAS! No BRAKE!
GSB: Well, if humanity is going to have a shot at keeping global temperatures within a range that avoids climate change’s most cataclysmic impacts, we have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and faster than Jets rookie receiver Elijah Moore. To do so, we have to move away from GAS and move towards clean energy. In transportation, we have to accelerate the move to ELECTRIC mobility starting yesterday.
So, since the Jets have a massive platform, how cool would it be if you tweaked your mantra from All GAS, No BRAKE to All ELECTRIC, No BRAKE? As in Electric Vehicles or EVs?
Coach Saleh: A couple of our guys have Teslas. But, All ELECTRIC, No BRAKE…It just doesn’t have the same ring to it!
GSB: I hear you, Coach. But right now, we are in a global climate crisis. So we have to sacrifice ‘ring’ for ‘messaging’. And it would make you and the Jets look and sound cool! What do you say?
Coach Saleh: We’ll be cool as soon as we start winning games! But ‘All ELECTRIC! No BRAKE!’? I’ll work on it. Maybe it’ll sound better as time goes on.
GSB: And maybe the team could get a new EV sponsor by making the switch?
Coach Saleh: [Team Owners] Woody and Chris Johnson will like that…
GSB: So, you’ll give ‘All ELECTRIC! No BRAKE’ a go?
Coach Saleh: YES! But do we have to change the ‘J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS!’ chant because jets are powered by gas?
GSB: Well, let me tell you about Sustainable Aviation Fuel…That’ll be a conversation for another day. For now, good luck this season, Coach! And of course, make sure the guys stay hydrated, using reusable water bottles!
A 3 minute video about the history of the J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS! chant
Photo at top: First-year NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh (Photo credit: New York Post)