13 December 2011
Say what you want, but these two men, forever linked, have put the Jets in Super Bowl striking distance...again.
Jets Trivia Time!
What do the dates December 20, 2009, December 12, 2010, and November 17, 2011 all have in common?
Your answer: The Jets season ended.
Confused? Think about it. Rex Ryan said himself the Jets couldn't make the playoffs after losing to the Falcons on 12/20/09. Every football pundit across America declared the Jets dead after they lost to the Dolphins at home on 12/12/10. Deion Sanders even famously declared, "Team built for now. Quarterback built for later." And of course the Jets season went down in flames on 11/17/11 when they were Tebow-ed in Denver.
Yet despite these annual pre-January season funerals, the Jets somehow managed to sneak into the playoffs in '09 and '10, and currently control their postseason destiny in 2011. Why does it always have to go down like this? Why can't they play a strong 16-game season and win a division title and host a playoff game? It's hard to say. You can blame the Patriots, the quarterback, or injuries, but in the end, the Jets have simply not been good enough to play at home in January.
For the second straight year the Jets find themselves in a eerily similar situation.
Check it out.
-If they make the playoffs they will (likely) end 2011 with the same record as 2010: 11-5.
-If they make the playoffs they will be the same playoff seed as 2010: 6.
-If they make the playoffs they will have to play with the same shitty, incompetent right tackle from 2010: Wayne Hunter.
-If they make the playoffs they will likely have to follow the same Super Bowl path as they did in 2010: Beatable AFC South foe, the Patriots, and an AFC North team in the AFC CG.
-If they make the playoffs they will be missing the same starting safety they lost in December 2010: Jim Leonhard.
-IF THEY MAKE THE PLAYOFFS IN 2011 AS THEY DID IN 2010: NO ONE WILL PICK THEM TO WIN.
Is this year's team as talented as last year's squad? I'd argue no. But that doesn't matter much. There is great parity in the AFC this season. You cannot identify the best team in the conference yet. It's way too early. I am of course in no way inferring the Jets will prove themselves to be the AFC's elite team, but to choose the Packers Super Bowl opponent would be premature. Shit, the Jets might not even make the playoffs. My point is, just like last year at this point, the Jets still may not have played their best game(s) of the season. The 2011 Jets are not a finished product.
So here we are again. You and I. The Jets. Rex Sanchez (back from its hiatus). In December. Controlling our Super Bowl destiny. History tends to repeat itself with the Jets. They've been given incredible breaks the past two years. Curtis Painter in '09. The 5-9 Redskins beating the Jaguars to give the Jets get the backdoor clinch in '10. And in 2011...we'll see.
There's still a long way to go until January, but after a rollercoaster season that has seen the darkest days of the Rex Sanchez era, we find ourselves in a similar December situation. Win out and you're Super Bowl champs.
Let's try this again.