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Kicked In The Gut Again
By Chris Pine
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 25th, 2003
Just when you thought the Jets curse was over. (Faytok-Star Ledger)
Just when you thought the Jets curse was over. (Faytok-Star Ledger)
So I feel pretty good. I went to a party Saturday night. My favorite baseball team looks like they are on the way to winning their division. I am moving into a new and amazing apartment. I just played an unconscious round of Golden Tee this weekend allowing me to talk trash for an hour or so; always a good time. Football season is coming up and I am excited because my team is kicking off the regular season. So basically all is right in my little world. And then it happens. Then "The Jets" happens. I was oblivious of course. I skipped out on watching the Jets play the Giants in the annual Snooze Till One Team Loses Bowl. I had to find out that next morning as my buddy Tom called me up screaming obscenities about Pennington's wrist breaking and how he was out for the season. Now knowing Tom I had to check this out for myself since he is the chicken little of Jet fans. Everything is a catastrophe. Last week he was pulling his hair out and dropping F bombs because Cherebet hadn't caught a ball during the first ten minutes of the game against the Saints. So you could understand my skepticism.

So I went downstairs and immediately logged on to Jets Insider.com to see the bad news in black and white. I then hit every website I could think of. I saw reports stating Pennington would be out anywhere from as little as six weeks to as severe as indefinitely. I wanted to be angry or sad or worried, but I couldn't. I was numb to it. I just shook my head and laughed a little. I mean what did you expect? Smooth sailing?

I remember back in '99 when Vinny looked like he was unstoppable and everyone and their mother were picking the Jets as a Super Bowl lock. They were amazing. I know you remember that feeling too. When all of a sudden we were a scary team. How long did that feeling last? I think it was about eight official NFL minutes before we watched Testeverde get carted off the field with all of our hopes and dreams going with him. Remember Keyshan, tears welling up in his eyes as he slammed his hands down on the podium. I think that was the last time I allowed myself to feel devastated by anything the Jets threw at me. It wasn't a conscious decision it just sort of happened. I was immune to the disease that is "The Jets".

Well here we are again. Our beloved quarterback going down before the regular season in a meaningless game. Someone we rallied behind and believed in is now gone. In typical Jets fashion this injury couldn't happen while Chad was riding the bench for two years when it wouldn't have bothered us. Nope. We aren't that lucky.

I am just surprised that this injury didn't happen during the game coming up against the Redskins. I can picture it now; Chad is seven for seven, Jets are poised to score. All of the Jet fans are jubilant. We are rolling and about to take the lead against the newest public enemy number one and then it happens. Crack! Maybe there is a fumble too. Some gigantic defensive lineman rumbles about 88 yards for a touchdown while Pennington writhes around in pain. That would be a better example of "The Jets." We got off easy this time.

I know I may be getting too crazy about this. I know that having Vinny to step in is better than having Rick Mirer but before we get nostalgic just remember why Chad was in there in the first place. I know we all fell back in love with Testeverde and give him standing ovations whenever he came into a blowout last season and took a knee or two but remember that he is forty years old. Remember that he looked absolutely awful last year. Remember that he has hardly played this preseason.

I know that the best-case scenario is Chad coming back sometime in November and Vinny performing well enough to keep us in the hunt but then I get the symptoms that can only be one thing.

It starts off with a rush of excitement. There is possibly a little swell of confidence directly following some touchdown pass or run. Then without warning you feel a tinge of worry; you get cold. There is a stalling drive or two. You are still cheering but you feel as though you are working against a force greater than you know. Suddenly something terrible happens like an interception returned for a score and the whole house of cards crashes down around you. You break out in sweats and begin to see things so horrific that you can't even speak. Then it hits you. You have contracted a case of "the Jets" curable only by three to four weeks of baseball playoffs followed by a Miami Dolphins December collapse.

Keep the faith Jets fans. Things may work out for the best. If anything, this experience further gives us understanding on how Red Sox fans feel.