Debunking the ‘Same Old Jets’ Myth
By GEORGE BRETHERTON
It’s the season for the “Same Old Jets” remarks. Focusing on failure makes for a great narrative, especially after a loss of the magnitude of Thursday’s 49-19 shellacking by New England. As critics sharpen their knives, they will search for ways to characterize the “hapless” J-E-T-S, or “Just End The Season,” as they might say. It all sounds smarmy and smart, except for one thing: the history and the reality don’t support it.
To be fair, some of the harshest criticisms have come from inside Jets nation. The noted Jets fan Ed Anzalone announced on Sunday that he was retiring from his game-day role as Fireman Ed, mainly because of increased hostility toward him by a small but vocal minority. Anzalone says he has been accused of being “bought” by wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey at games this season (a charge Anzalone vehemently denies).
Hard to believe all of this hysteria is coming with the Jets at 4-7. Don’t you think Kansas City General Manager Scott Pioli and Coach Romeo Crennel would sign up the 1-10 Chiefs for the Jets’ record right now?
So here goes, some facts for the enablers of the ” Same Old Jets” myth:
1) The Jets haven’t had a losing season since 2007.
How difficult is it to string together seasons without having a losing record? Since 2007, only four A.F.C. teams – Patriots, Steelers, Ravens and Chargers — and eight teams over all are in the same company. The Jets would have to lose two of their last five games — and their schedule is favorable — for their streak to be broken.
2) The Jets have had only three losing seasons since 1997, when Bill Parcells took the reins. Few would argue that 15 years is not a significant sample size. How impressive is the Jets’ total of 3 out of a possible 15? Only New England (1) and Green Bay (2) have had fewer losing seasons during this stretch. Pittsburgh and Denver are tied with the Jets at 3. Detroit and Cleveland lead all teams with 11.
3) The Jets have had seven postseason appearances since 1997. Once again, the Jets’ total puts them among the upper crust of N.F.L. teams. In the A.F.C., only four teams have qualified for the playoffs more times than the Jets during this stretch, led by New England and Indianapolis, with 11 times each. Green Bay leads N.F.C. teams with 10 appearances.
4) The Jets have played in three conference championship games since 1997. This number stands out when you consider that six A.F.C. teams have failed to reach one title game over this period. The Patriots and the Steelers lead the N.F.L. with six each and are the only A.F.C. teams with more appearances than the Jets. Denver, Baltimore and Indianapolis are tied with the Jets’ total of three.
5) The Jets are one of the 18 N.F.L. teams to have actually won a Super Bowl. Yes, this does not change the fact that 44 seasons is a long time to go without a title, which is where the Jets’ drought will almost certainly stand after this season. But they HAVE won it before. Fourteen teams have yet to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and only 11 teams have won more than one, led by Pittsburgh, which has won six times.
Two seasons ago, Rex Ryan crowed about the “same old Jets” being back in the A.F.C. championship game. It may have seemed like a boast, but it was closer to reality than the saying’s negative intent.