Chad Pennington’s Deserved Place in Ring of Honor
As a Chad Pennington fan, I would like to make the case for him to be inducted into the Ring of Honor at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Chad took his place as the Jets starting quarterback in 2002 by storm, when Herm Edwards named him the quarterback, following a week 4 relief appearance in Jacksonville. He earned the job going 21-34 in that game for 281 yards and 1 TD. As a starter that season, Pennington went 8-4, leading the league in passer rating (104.2), and capping the season with a drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card game 41-0.
After a season in 2003 that started late due to a preseason wrist injury, Pennington came back with a vengeance in 2004, throwing for 2,673 yards and 16 Tds vs. only 9 INTs, a 91.0 QB rating, and a return trip to the playoffs. In the Wild Card win vs. San Diego, Chad went 23-33 for 279 yards, 2 Tds and no INTs. The following week, he led the Jets to two Doug Brien FG misses from the AFC championship game. He did this, remember, with a torn shoulder that needed surgery in the off-season. You can question Chad Pennington on many levels, but NOT his toughness.
We all know that 2005 ended quite early for Chad, with another shoulder tear. It ended at home vs. Jacksonville, but not before a near heroic comeback by this underrated quarterback once again. After Jay Fiedler was injured replacing Chad Pennington, Chad came back into the game, with what we now know was another shoulder tear. What did he do? He led the team to the game winning TD in regulation before it was reversed on replay review. A one-armed Chad nearly came to the rescue. And is the QB the subject of ridicule by detractors. Not fair.
2006 and the Eric Mangini regime begins. The Jets draft Kellen Clemens(great move). Does Chad complain? Mouth off? No. He leads the team to another playoff appearance, earning himself the Comeback Player of the Year award. Consummate professional, and the epitome of a Jet, through and through.
2007 was a mediocre year, where Chad was benched mid-season for the “QB of the future” Kellen Clemens (how did that work out again?) Pennington still managed an 86.1 QB rating in half a season. Not bad. Did he complain about the benching? No. He worked his tail off for a comeback in 2008.
How did the Jets treat him for working hard? They didn’t. They replaced him for the great Brett Favre, who wouldn’t acknowledge an injury that ruined his season, and clearly was using the Jets as a path to the Vikings. Did they even trade Chad? No, they had so little regard for his ability, that they allowed him to go to the division rival Dolphins, where he earned the Comeback Player of the Year once again, beating the Jets the last week of 2008 to earn the division title. Did he speak badly of the Jets even then? No, and he probably would have been justified in doing so.
Let’s not forget that he has the highest completion percentage in the history of the sport.
In a league without a lot of good guys, here is one. He did the Jets proud in his time here, gave them a lot of great moments. They treated him badly in return, but induction to the Ring of Honor would be an appropriate way, and deserving way to make it up.