Since this blog was created with the intention to provide an outlet to discuss and analyze all things sports related, on occasion I will feature entries authored by friends and family of mine. This entry is written by my former freshman year roommate and one of my best friends, Anthony Cillis. Unlike myself, Anthony is a fan of New York’s other professional football franchise, the New York Jets. With the Super Bowl looming around the corner, I thought it only appropriate to post his write-up on what it is like to be a New York Jets fan during Super Bowl Weekend. I hope you all enjoy!
It’s that time of year again; Super Bowl Week. It is a time when the teams prepare for media obligations, arrange tickets for families and friends and put the finishing touches on their biggest game plan of the season, perhaps their careers. For the fans, it is a time to prepare for partying, arranging Super Bowl boxes and prop bets and put the finishing touches on their best appetizers.
For fans of the New York Jets, this has always been the time of year for daydreaming, for grand thoughts of ‘one day.’ For it is has been 42 years since the Jet’s sole trip to sport’s biggest stage. January 12th, 1969, Super Bowl III. A 16-7 victory over the Baltimore Colts. 42 years since a New York Jets’ victory parade through the Cannon of Heroes in New York City.
42 years is a long time to wait for something, a long time to wait for that ‘one day.’ And so the story has gone, for 42 years, 42 Super Bowls have been played, and 42 Super Bowl Champions crowned, none being the New York Jets; New York’s little brother.
It wasn’t until the Giants upset the “unbeatable” New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII that Jets fans finally had a reason to cheer in February. The Patriots, you see, have been the bad boys on the AFC East block, the team that seemed to enjoy tormenting New York’s little brother. Whether it was the infamous “I resign as HC of the NYJ” or Spy-Gate the Jets were simply living in New England’s division, having no defining moment of victory. Until the day when New York’s Big Brother decided they had finally had enough. ‘One day,’ the Jets would have their day too.
Then, after years of watching others pop champagne and dance in confetti, a brash, larger-than-life figure arrived and ‘one day’ seemed sooner rather than later. Rex Ryan made us believe that ‘one day’ wasn’t just something to get us through this time of the year, but that ‘one day’ was going to happen.
So in his rookie season, Rex Ryan took a rookie quarterback and took the NFL by storm. With shocking comments and more shocking victories, the Jets ‘one day’ seemed to be upon us. Even though the Jets got into the playoffs with a little help from Indianapolis’ practice squad and an uninterested Cincinnati team in the final weeks of the season; the Jets made their presence felt in the playoffs.
After the Jets laid waste to Carson Palmer and the Bengals in the Wild Card Round, they blew past Phillip Rivers and the Chargers in the Divisional Round en route to their first AFC Championship game since 1998. Peyton Manning and the Colt Machine was all that stood between the New York Jets and their ‘one day.’ Even though the Jets eventually succumbed to the Colts in 2009, there was promise with Rex at the helm and his band of misfit toys. Jet fans finally had something to believe in, that ‘one day’ was coming.
So in 2010, after more bold talk from their loud mouth coach, the Jets once again found their way into the playoffs. The road to Super Bowl XLV was dubbed “Mission: Impossible.” First up? Peyton & Co. A wobbly, last second field goal by Jets kicker Nick Folk set up the rematch of all rematches with the hated and despised rival. Again the Jets rose to the occasion and toppled the once unbeatable Brady & Co. All that stood between the Jets and that ‘one day’ now was the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After a slow start and exhilarating finish, the Jets would once again come up one game short and be on the outside looking in to Super Bowl Week, waiting again for that ‘one day.’ But this year has a much different feel to it. In a win-now league with a win-now team, ‘one day’ may very well have passed the New York Jets by. In a league without guaranteed contracts and even less guaranteed success and a sleuth of high priced talent set to either hit the free agent market or head to retirement, it’s all but certain the Jets once promising future seems to have come and gone.
The NFL is a fickle beast; yesterday’s doormats are tomorrow’s champions, yet for this Jet fan, tomorrow doesn’t seem that promising. This year’s emotional ride has taken its toll, and the Super Bowl is about as appealing as a Dancing with the Stars result show. As any fan of the New York Jets can attest to, it’s been engrained in us that ‘one day’ may never happen. And while Rex gave us all something to believe in, this year’s rollercoaster playoff run and heartbreaking exit may be as good as it gets.
This Sunday was when ‘one day’ was supposed to become ‘our day.’