In light of TOJ Editor-In-Chief Joe Caporoso’s absence, the weekly 12 pack will be put on hold until next Friday. For today, we have a special request from TOJ Twitter frequenter Tommy Lessman to breakdown the five greatest New York Jets from the year 2000 on.
Vinny Testaverde - Although Testaverde is certainly a fan favorite of New York Jets fans, primarily for his vast bravado, along with taking the Jets to a game within the Super Bowl in 1998, Vinny’s best years with Gang Green came prior to the new millennium.
Mo Lewis - Lewis was All-Pro in 2000, but like Testaverdere, his best years as a Jet came during the 90s. Lewis is also responsible for propelling the New England Dynasty by famously knocking out Drew Bledsoe in week 2 of the 2001 season, paving the way for Tom Brady and three Super Bowls.
Chad Pennington - I always say that if injuries didn’t hamper his career, Pennington would have been an outstanding quarterback for the Jets. He led New York to two playoff victories in two separate seasons, including a 41-0 rout of Peyton Manning and the Colts in the 2002 playoffs. Pennington also holds the highest completion percentage in league history (with a minimum of 1,000 attempts), having completed 66.0 percent of his passes over his 11 year career. Unfortunately, countless rotator cuff injuries did hamper his career, and by the time he left New York in 2008 upon the arrival of Brett Favre, Pennington’s throwing shoulder was seemingly hanging on by a paper clip. Still, we love you Chad.
Wayne Cherbet - Cherbet is the ultimate underdog. Undrafted out of Hofstra in 1995, he churned out a very solid 11 year career with the Jets, and remains 2nd in franchise history in receptions with 580, while he is 5th in yards from scrimmage with 7,365. Cherbet compiled 41 touchdowns over his 11 seasons, and was awarded the Jets Alumni Association’s “Jets Player of the Year” Award in 2001, while also receiving the Ed Block Courage Award in 2005. Unfortunately, like Pennington, Cherbet’s career was hampered by injuries, and he was forced into retirement in 2005 after a long history of concussions.
T-5.) Nick Mangold - Upon being drafted by the Jets in 2006, Mangold had the immense responsibility of stepping in for New York legend Kevin Mawae at the Center position. The first round pick out of Ohio State did not disappoint one bit. Starting all 16 games as a rookie, Mangold allowed only 0.5 sacks, while committing just 3 penalties throughout the entire season. He is a 4 time consecutive Pro Bowler from 2008-2011, as well as a 3 time consecutive All Pro from 2009-2011. He was the anchor for the league’s top rushing offense in 2009, and the fourth best rushing offense in 2010. In 2010, the Jets rightfully made Mangold the highest paid Center in the history of the NFL. His value was even more exposed last season, as displayed by the Jets’ horrific offensive struggles during his absence due to injury.
T-5.) Shaun Ellis - Over his 11 seasons as a Jet, Ellis compiled 559 tackles, 72.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles and an interception. Prior to departing via free agency to rival New England last season, Ellis was the longest tenured New York Jet. He was a 2 time Pro Bowl selection in 2003 and 2009, and was the recipient of the 2010 Ed Block Courage Award. He always handled his business with class, and was the foundation of the Jets defensive line for over a decade. Ellis will always be remembered in the history of Gang Green, and could eventually find himself a spot in the Jets Ring of Honor.
4.) John Abraham - In his 6 seasons with the Jets from 2000-2005, Abraham compiled an astonishing 275 tackles, 53.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries. He was a 3 time Pro Bowl selection as a Jet in 2001, 2002, and 2004, and is a member of the New York Jets All-Time Four Decade Team. Abraham is also the last Jets player to record double digit sacks in a single season. Oh, what New York would surely give to have a healthy John Abraham in his prime with Rex Ryan at the helm.
3.) Darrelle Revis - Revis came on the scene after the Jets traded up in the 2007 NFL Draft to obtain him with the 14th overall pick. At the young age of 26 years old, Revis already holds the franchise record for most career passes defended with 95, along with holding the record for the longest interception returned for a touchdown (100 yards vs. Miami on 10/17/2011) in franchise history. Other than the two records the young CB already holds, he has compiled 283 tackles, 18 interceptions, 3 touchdowns, and 1 sack during his 5 seasons as a Jet. Revis is a 4 time consecutive Pro Bowler from 2008-2011, as well as a 3 time consecutive All Pro from 2009-2011, was the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, and is widely regarded as the best defensive back in all of football. By the time it is all said and done, we may not be deeming Revis the greatest Jet of the 2000s, but rather of all time.
2.) Kevin Mawae - Mawae was the Jets ultimate Iron Man, having started 177 games from 1994-2005. In 2000, he anchored the Jets offensive line that ranked 1st in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed with only 20 throughout the entire season. He was a 6 time consecutive Pro Bowl invitee with the Jets, including five in the 2000s from 2000-2004. Mawae was also a 6 time All Pro with Gang Green, 4 of which came in the 2000s from 2000-2004. He was voted to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, while maintaining a spot on the Jets All-Time Four Decade Team. A torn left triceps in 2005 not only ended his consecutive starts streak, but his career as a Jet as well. Mawae was a vital part of Curtis Martin’s immense success as a Jet, and is one of the greatest contributors to the star Running Back’s Hall of Fame career.
1.) Curtis Martin - No one can argue that the first ballot Hall of Famer has been the greatest Jet to date since the year 2000. Martin was a 5 time Pro Bowler, including 3 with the Jets, 2 of which came in the 2000s. He was also a 5 time All Pro, and was the oldest player to ever win the NFL Rushing Championship at age 31 in 2004, when he compiled a total of 1,697 yards on the ground. Martin was the NFL Alumni Running Back of the year in that same year, along with the FedEx Ground Player of the Year. The following season, he was awarded the Bart Starr Man of the Year Award.
Martin is the New York Jets All-Time leading rusher with 10,302 rushing yards as a Jet, and his total career rushing yards of 14,101 rank 4th all time among the NFL’s all time leading rushers, behind only Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, and Emmitt Smith. He ranks 7th All-Time in yards from scrimmage with 17,430 yards. Martin is a member of the New York Jets Ring of Honor, while holding franchise records not only in rushing yards, but touchdowns as well (58). He ran for over a thousand yards in each of his first 10 seasons, including 7 of his 8 years with the Jets, 5 of which came in the 2000s. While Darrelle Revis certainly has the potential to eventually dethrone him, Curtis Martin is undoubtedly the greatest Jet since the turn of the century.