Pro Football Teams


New York Jets:

Hoping Pennington can launch them to new heights

The New York Jets are sometimes thought to be the second team of New York, but for the Jets faithful they are the only team in New York. The team plays in a stadium adorned with Giants stuff and the name of the stadium is Giants Stadium. The team isn’t concerned what the name of the stadium is or who the city loves they just play football. The Jets of old are best characterized by the man who led their best teams, quarterback “Broadway” Joe Namath. Namath is one of the greatest characters in sports history. He was the anti-hero of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. He had long shaggy hair with long sideburns and a cockiness that seemed to capture the imagination of the country. If Namath were to have been around in this era we wouldn’t look at him twice but back then he was the symbol of change. The Jets were a team that loved to throw the ball, which was unheard of at the time, and would rather throw a short pass on 3 rd on 2 then do the traditional thing of running the ball. The Jets represented everything the AFL stood for which, incidentally, was everything the NFL stood against. In Super Bowl III the Jets were 19 point underdogs and no one gave them a chance against the NFL’s poster team of the Baltimore Colts. The Colts were led by Johnny Unitas the polar opposite of Namath; he had a crew cut and was very reserved to name a few. Before the game Namath guaranteed a victory which created the very first national hype around a Super Bowl. The Jets went on to stun the Colts 17-6 and Namath was awarded the MVP after completing 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards. In more recent years the Jets haven’t been quite as charismatic or as successful as their predecessors. Super Bowl III was not their only Super Bowl win but also their only Super Bowl appearance.

Last season, after they saw a number of their players defect to the Washington Redskins, the Jets were hit by the injury bug. In the preseason starting quarterback Chad Pennington fell on his wrist and broke it which kept him out of the first seven weeks of the season and the team lost four of the six games he was out. Despite the comeback of Pennington the team only managed a 6-10 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2000 season.

During the off-season the Jets made a number of moves to help improve their team by becoming younger and more athletic. The team let go of aging players like linebacker Mo Lewis, cornerback Aaron Beasley, safety Tyrone Carter, and wide receiver Curtis Conway. They then brought in younger players like linebacker Eric Barton, cornerback David Barrett and safety Reggie Tongue.

In the draft the Jets knew they needed to get some young defensive players to give it a much needed shot in the arm. With their first round pick the Jets got Miami linebacker Jonathan Vilma. The 6’1” 223 pound linebacker led the Hurricanes in tackles for the past three years. Vilma is just a freak of nature that can run a 4.54 40-yard dash, bench press 365 pounds, and can hit the snot out of people. With their second pick of the draft, which came in the 3rd round, the Jets selected Oklahoma cornerback Derrick Strait. He was said to be a coach on the field by the Oklahoma coaching staff and is a player who has a knack for making a big play when the team needs it.

The Jets offense, despite finishing 21 st overall in total yards, isn’t a unit to be overlooked. The team is led by their 6 th year quarterback Chad Pennington, constant running back Curtis Martin and wide receiver Santana Moss. Martin is one of the most consistent running backs in the NFL he has rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his nine seasons. The fans will still buy Jets tickets just to see their high powered offense.

On the defensive side of the ball the team wasn’t quite as tough as they thought they would be. The team finished 20 th overall in total defense and due to the disappointment management decided to overhaul the defense. Of their first three draft picks the Jets took two defensive players who will more than likely start in the 2004 season.

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