Rasputin and the New York Jets
Rasputin is Alive and Well and Advising the NY Jets
Joel Stern, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Rasputin, often called "The Mad Monk," was a mystic, a healer and/or a prophet, depending on who you asked, in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. Rasputin had the ear (and some say many more body parts) of Alexandra, the wife of Russian Emperor Nicholas II, as well as the Tsar and his only son, Alexei, who was a hemophiliac.
Rasputin - Advisor To The NY Jets
The Tsar considered Rasputin to be a holy man and a friend. But things got ugly for the Mad Monk during the later stages of World War I. The Russians were literally losing millions of soldiers and the war was obliterating what little wealth was left minus what the Royals drained for themselves. When the Tsar went on a trip to the front to see his troops, Rasputin used this as an opportunity to get in some sack time with the Tsarina - after all she believed that God spoke to her through Rasputin.
Well good 'ol Rasputin used his "mystic powers" over Alexandra to convince her to fill some government posts with some buddies of his. This ended up turning out badly. He ended up pissing off the wrong people at the wrong time and the whole soap opera ended up in one helluva shooting match.
Not So Merry Christmas
On Dec. 16, 1916, Rasputin was lured into a basement by some noblemen evil-doers, much like Joe Pecsi was in "Goodfellas," and whacked. Poisoned, shot, beaten senseless, rolled into a carpet and dumped into a river. Did he die? My theory? Rasputin didn't die - he lived and is advising the New York Jets.
"Hey, Welcome To The Big Apple Monk"
One of the first of the many tragic calls Rasputin made for the Jets happened oddly enough during the year they won their only Super Bowl. I guess Rasputin was just getting settled in.
It happened Nov. 17, 1968. Jets and the hated Raiders played in Oakland. Jets up 32-29 with 1:05 left. The suits at NBC were going to begin airing "Heidi" at 7:00 pm eastern standard time come hell or high water. Both came and there was plenty of both. The problem was that the game wasn't over. But it was for tv viewers in the eastern half of the nation.
Rasputin to NBC program switching geeks: "Time for Heidi. The game is over, the Jets won, time for Heidi."
So instead of seeing two Raiders touchdowns in a span of nine seconds in the final minute, Jets fans saw a little girl on top of a Swiss mountain. In black and white no less. We were better off not seeing it, but at least we should've been able to see it. Final - Raiders 43 Jets 32.
Rasputin continued his black magic in August of 1971 during a Jets pre season game against the Lions. Jets running back Lee White fumbled at the Jets 29.
Rasputin, invisible to the rest of us, sitting on Joe Namath's shoulder whispered to him, "Go for the tackle Joe, go for the tackle…"
Namath heard him loud and clear but missed nailing Lions linebacker Mike Lucci and instead had his left knee crushed by Lions linebacker Paul Naumoff. End result - two torn ligaments, wrecked cartilage and a ruined Jets season.
Rasputin has also been highly active in helping the Jets during the draft. His most notable piece of piece of work happened in 1983:
Rasputin to Jets brass: "Screw Dan Marino, go for the sure guy - Ken O'Brien out of Cal-Davis…"
That wasn't all. He continued his strong influence during the 1990 draft:
Rasputin to Jets brass: "Don't be a putz - you need a franchise running back and Blair Thomas out of Penn State is a sure thing. You gotta trust Joe Paterno…Cortez Kennedy is just a fatso and Junior Seau? Who knows how to play football in Samoa???…"
Rasputin had also maintained a mystical influence over the Jets late owner, Leon Hess. He told Hess to fire the up-and-coming Pete Carroll after his only season in 1994 when they went 6-10.
Rasputin to Hess: "Leon, you're not a spring chicken anymore, you need to win now. Who better to replace that young Carroll punk than with a respected former player and coach Rich Kotite?"
So at Kotite's press conference with Rasputin a shadowy figure in the background Hess came clean: "I'm 80 years old and I want results now."
Well Hess sure got results in a hurry. In Kotite's first game and the Jets' lone national appearance of the season, the Raiders opened a can of steaming hot boo-yah trashing them 47-10. That was the highlight of the season and they finished 3-13. Instead of firing Kotite after one season like they did Carroll, Hess stuck with him.
"Good thing," Rasputin told him. "He deserves another chance."
So a year later following a 1-15 white-out, Rich Kotite stepped down. And as he walked off the field at Giants Stadium for the final time, Kotite was drenched with a full cup of beer. No doubt poured by the Mad Monk himself.
And let us not forget the Bill Belichick fiasco. Before Bill Parcells resigned in 1999, he arranged for Belichick to take over as head coach. He kept the job one day. As Belichick approached the podium for his I'm-the-new-Jets-head-coach press conference, Rasputin struck again.
Rasputin to Belichick: "Shmuck, what are you getting yourself into? These guys haven't won squat since LBJ was wearing bell bottoms!"
Belichick, wasting no time, scrawled on a piece of loose leaf paper the following: "I resign as HC of the NYJ."
Rasputin took some time off and it showed. The Jets went to the AFC title game two years in a row but he returned just in time for the 8-8 season that followed. In fact he had this advice for general manager Mike Tannenbaum…
Rasputin to Tannenbaum: "Look, you need big help at right tackle - Wayne Hunter has earned the spot…"
Jets fans can only hope management stops listening to this madman once and for all. But it doesn't look like that's the case. Just when we thought Mark Sanchez was their man for the next couple of years after signing an extension, we find out that's not the case.
Rasputin to Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan:
"Do I have a quarterback for you! Tim Tebow is going to turn this franchise upside down! Can't throw? So he can't throw. He wins! And he'll push this lazy bum you got so maybe you won't need him except for an occassional wildcat formation. And the best part? He'll pray at the drop of a hat. Just like me!"