Can you believe a decade has passed since the infamous "spike game"?
Move over Red Sox. Enter the New York Jets. Yes, ladies and gentlemen sport’s next great curse, 35-years and counting.
Alright, there is about a 50-year difference, but there sure are a lot of events that would make you think twice.
Sunday was a microcosm of the Jets 45-year history. Who would have thought one play could make such a difference in a game, and probably the season?
Jets fans, that’s who.
But was Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens the worst loss in team history? You can make a case for it. Jet fans can also recall the numerous other times they’ve had their hearts ripped out and tossed on the cold cement of Giant Stadium.
To each his own.
Maybe yours is Dan Marino’s fake spike a decade ago. Maybe it was the 1987 Divisional Playoff game versus the Cleveland Browns. The Jets squandered a trip to the AFC Championship with 4:14 left and a 20-10 lead, losing in double OT. Don’t forget the last unforgettable match up against the Ravens in 2000. Al Groh’s Jets had shredded one of the leagues all-time greatest defenses throughout the first half before Vinny Testaverde was picked off at the goal line by Chris McAlister who returned it 98-yards for the touchdown. Only the Jets could be bitten by the same bug twice. And how can we forget the AFC Championship in Denver six years ago where some of us were making Superbowl travel arrangements at halftime before the Jets imploded in the second half.
With one guarantee and a wag of his finger, Joe Namath sold his soul and the fortunes of the Jets to the football gods.
It has been an arduous journey for Jet fans since Super Bowl III. Years filled with gut-wrenching defeats, heartless performances, and draft day debacles. For every Jeff Bagwell the Red Sox have, the Jets have a Blair Thomas or Kyle Brady. The Jets have passed over countless superstars such as Marino, Junior Seau, and Warren Sapp only to draft the Same Old Jets.
It is no wonder why everyone in Giant Stadium knew the game was over with Lamont Jordan’s errant pass. As the ball sailed toward Baltimore SS Ed Reed, I stood in Section 123 and watched a crowd silenced by utter disbelief. Seventy-thousand plus stunned that it happened again. The Jets had struck again.
The Jets are a masochist’s best friend. This franchise has gone 35 years without a trip to the Super Bowl. Even the Mets have won two World Series since the Jets last Super Bowl appearance. All that took was a Miracle in ’69 and a run-in with Bill Buckner and the Red Sox in ’86. The Jets history is clouded with bad coaching, untimely turnovers and stupid penalties. No matter the owner, the general manager, the coaching staff or the players, the Jets have always come up short.
The Jets cannot afford to lose three straight and fall into another midseason collapse. As the week winds down and the Jets enter Sunday’s game against the Browns, fans will see if this Jets team can exorcize demons of the past, get back to winning and ultimately bring home a long deserved championship for their fans.