New York Jets: A Look Back 30 Years to a Special Season…Almost
By Alan Schechter
2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the 1982 New York Jets. 1982 season was a year that the Jets made a run at the Super Bowl, and by many accounts, should have gone to the Super Bowl if it wasn’t for the handling of the field in Miami. More on that later.
Throughout the 2012 season, we will look back at the 1982 season week by week, as the dates of the games arrive. We will recap, and week by week bring to life, this almost special season for the Jets. Let’s look back and take a general recap.
The Jets in 1982 were coming off a season where they went to the playoffs, with a 10-5-1 record. They were looking for a return to the playoffs under head coach Walt Michaels.
This was also a season marred by a long players strike, limiting the season to only nine games, and eliminating division play for the year. The top eight teams in each conference went to the playoffs in the altered system.
After splitting the first two games of the season prior to the strike, the Jets came out of the work stoppage and won 5 out of their last 7 games, giving them a playoff berth with a 6th seed. Freenman McNeil (pictured), won the rushing title with 786 yards.
The Jets opened the playoffs in Cincinatti for a wild card matchup against the Bengals. The Jets won in decisive fashion, 44-17, and Freeman McNeil dominated the game on the ground, rushing for 210 yards and a TD, and throwing for another on a halfback option play. Wesley Walker added 145 yards receiving on 8 catches with 1 TD.
The next week, the Jets travelled to the LA Coliseum, for a playoff date with the Raiders. The Raiders were up 14-10 in the fourth quarter, when Scott Dierking rushed for the go ahead TD, and the Jets defense forced 2 turnovers late to seal the victory. Freeman McNeil rushed for 105 yards in the game.
The Jets travelled to Miami for the AFC Championship game at the Orange Bowl. This became known as the “AJ Duhe” game, will explain. The Jets were known for speed on both sides of the football. Interestingly, there was torrential rain the week of the game, and mysteriously the field never was covered. The Jets cried foul, but their was no rule against leaving the field uncovered at the time(a rule was written after the fact).
The Jets lost 14-0, and the game became associated with Duhe because he recorded 3 of Richard Todd’s 5 INTs on the game. The game was over, as was the Jets season.
A good season by the Jets, that was almost special. By many accounts, it should have been special, but instead, it fell to the “same old Jets” moniker that we all know far too well.