Sitting around, as the lockout goes into it’s fourth month, got me thinking about the past. Specifically, what it has been like to be a Jets fan for all these years. I have been a Jets fan since 1985, and have seen my share of heartbreak.
25 years ago we were watching a 1986 season that started so promising. 10-1. Leading the NFL by a wide margin. Ken O’Brien was throwing the ball all over the place. Wesley Walker running like a gazelle up and down the field. Chants of Al “Tooooonnnnnn” raining from the East Rutherford air. Then, the five game losing streak. Ken O’Brien is benched for Pat Ryan. The injuries, and we back into the playoffs. Won the wild card game against Kansas City. Then….Cleveland. Remember that 10 point lead? All I can say is…Mark Gastineau. Anyone who remembers that game knows EXACTLY what I am talking about.
Then, the lean years. Many, many lean years. The wonderfully lean years, beginning with Bruce Coslet, going through the Rich Kotite era. “We were swarming”, he would say. We were swarming a lot for a team that won 4 games in two years, weren’t we? How about before that, the fake spike? I think my wife my hurt me if I mention the fake spike one more time. But we all felt the pain in that one.
Then Bill came along. The Messiah. The Big Tuna, he was going to lead us back. 1998 came around and we were one half short of our Super Bowl. 1999 came along, and the turf monster attacked Vinny, and there went 1999. The plight of a Jets fan. A team ready to contend, loses its QB, to its home turf. You can’t make it up, can you?
After a few playoff teams, in the Herman Edwards era , and the Eric Mangini era, the heavens open for us again. Enter Rex Ryan. The confident son of one Buddy Ryan. The ties to the 1968 team. The confidence. The coach who is here, “not to kiss Belichick’s rings”. And he makes good on that, beating New England the first time they play under Rex. 2 straight seasons we come within a breath of the Super Bowl. Although Jets fans are disappointed, we can rejoice in the fact that, we are finally going in the right direction. This is the time for us, we are finally, once and for all, in a position to make a run at the Super Bowl. So what happens?
THEY SHUT DOWN FOOTBALL! Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be for us? We finally are ready to win, and it’s like the man upstairs said. “The Jets are good, that is against the natural order of life, so we must stop this, so football stops now.” The plight of a Jets fan.
The moral of this story? Please end the lockout. The world is ready for the Jets to be good. We certainly are.