Turn On The Jets NFL Wild Card Round Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Rant and Best Bets for Wild Card Weekend

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Let me start my column with some killer football insight, to keep up with the excellent, best-Jets-stuff-on-the-Internet precedent that’s been set this week by the entire Turn On The Jets staff –

Rex Ryan definitely lost a bet. TATTOOGATE is so obvious. Before the season, Rex Ryan and his lovable twin brother Rob, defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, got together over pork rinds, Skittles, and bourbon and made a bet: Whoever’s team finished with a worse record in 2012 would have to get a tattoo of their wife wearing nothing but the jersey of their starting quarterback. That also explains why Rex Ryan refused to go to Tim Tebow early on this season. God, this all makes so much sense now.

In related news, all I had to do was throw “SOURCE:” in front of my theory, make up a quote or two and BANG I just knocked out a Daily News exclusive.

Before we take a look at this week’s playoff games, I thought it would be fun to look back at my preseason gambling picks. I did three team Over/Unders, which I went 2-1-0 on. I missed by a hair on Baltimore at under 10, and was right on Jacksonville under 5.5 and Denver over 9. This quote on the Broncos stuck out when I re-read:

“Peyton Manning throwing with his left hand could win 10 games if he gets half the support Lefty Jesus got last year from this defense, special teams and running game.” Welp, that’s about right.

What I whiffed on were my “good bets” for MVP and Super Bowl Champs. I thought Eli Manning had a chance to have an incredible year, and thought at 18/1 for MVP was worth taking a crack at. Instead, Eli reminded us that he just isn’t in the same stratosphere as his brother, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. That isn’t to say that if I had to win one game tomorrow, I wouldn’t take Eli. I may; he’s certainly at the top of the discussion. The Giants could have won the Super Bowl again if they snuck in this year because he would have been the 2nd best quarterback in the NFC playoffs, plus he’s beat Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs on the road before. But his 2012 season was pedestrian at best. I’m not going to go all Ian O’Connor, who offered this drab after the season ended:

“In his heart of hearts, Eli Manning knows this was a winning season in record only. He knows he had a chance to do something no New York Giants quarterback had ever done, a squandered chance that might haunt him for the balance of his career and beyond.”

Yup Ian! You got it! Forty years from now when we interview an old, shriveled Eli Manning (gross image alert), he’s not going to talk about the legendary wins in Green Bay or the Super Bowl titles. Nope. It’ll be a sad tale of the 2012 season, the one that has kept him up countless nights over the years, with nightmares of throwing 26 touchdowns and finishing a dire 12th in the league in passing yards and winning a putrid nine games (the same amount he won in the regular season a year prior when winning a Super Bowl, mind you). How horrifying. Nevermind that Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora combined for 16.5 sacks, with Tuck having 1.5 less than Quinton Coples.

Eli’s legacy is secure. If he never throws another pass for the Giants, he’s a true New York sports legend, in the conversation with Mark Messier, Derek Jeter, Clyde Frazier and of course Jeff Cumberland. But let’s also understand that Eli’s legacy is what it is for a reason, and that’s his clutchness. People scoff at those who say he’s not “elite”, but if your definition of “elite” is “dominant, transcendent, consistently excellent over the course of many seasons”, then you know what? Maybe he isn’t. That doesn’t mean he isn’t great, or isn’t a legend. You can be one but not the other.

And then there was my 18/1 pick of the Saints as Super Bowl Champs. I blame it on going to New Orleans twice in nearly a year from May 2011-July 2012. When you go there, you’ll believe anything. Crawfish? Why not. Open container anywhere? Great idea. Jazz? Still relevant. Voodoo? Not totally unreasonable if you think really hard about it!

So we’ll close the book on what was a pretty weak season by me picking games, and unlike the Jets I have a chance to redeem myself in the postseason. Let’s just go ahead and pick them all:

Cincinnati +4 at Houston – My thought all year has been that the Texans would lose at home in their first playoff game. I always thought it would be during the Divisional Round, after a bye, but some late season stumbling has them playing on Wild Card weekend. I’ll stick with my guns and say Cincy pulls the upset. Plus, AT LEAST one road team is winning this weekend.

Packers -8 vs. Vikings – The Adrian Peterson story is amazing, but I think last week was the Vikings’ Super Bowl. If it’s even ever possible for there to be a letdown in a playoff game, the Vikings might feel it. This has a very 2001 Jets/Raiders feel, with the dog beating the favorite in the regular season finale in dramatic fashion to set up a rematch the following week. I don’t like the chances of the Vikings beating the Packers twice in as many weeks, and with Aaron Rodgers at home, I think it’s a pull-away-late type of game for Green Bay. Who knows…maybe Charlie Garner will come out of retirement and salt the game away for the Pack on an 80-yard touchdown run on 3rd down in the final minutes.

Indianapolis +6.5 at Baltimore – The Ravens lost three of their last four to close out the season. It’s going the wrong direction for them. And the last thing America really wants is some memorable Ray Lewis swan song. Whoever wins, I think it’s a close one.

Washington +3 vs. Seattle – Home dog in the playoffs? I’m taking the points. And with no real GREAT team in the league this year, anyone without a dog in the fight has to be rooting for a Luck/RGIII Super Bowl, right?

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week – Hockey! Wait, what? I thought they canceled that sport forever? Well, even though the NHL has decided to sever any thread of relevance they were hanging on to, there is hockey being played in Russia: The World Junior Championships! And the USA is in tomorrow’s final against Sweden after blasting the favorite Canada 5-1 in the semis, which probably put all the Dougies and Gordos and Scotties and Stevies and Jonesys in Canada in mourning. Good. If you’re hanging your national pride on the backs of a bunch of 18 and 19-year olds, you deserve to lose and realize how ridiculous you are. With that being said, USA! USA! USA! at -190.

Turn On The Jets Week 17 Best Bets: Closing Out The Season

Chris Celletti with a rant on Rex Ryan and his final Best Bets of the 2012 NFL regular season

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Just like the Jets, I have nothing to play for (or pick for) this week. My 1-2 record in Week 16 brought my yearly record to a stellar 15-31-2. I always thought this column would net some bad results, but even I didn’t think it would be this bad. Again, sorta like the Jets.

With just three days left until the Jets’ 2012 season mercifully comes to an end, the reports and rumors are swirling about anything and everything this point. The latest report – which came from Manish Mehta of The Daily News, who operates only slightly more in certainty and facts than the Mayans or that Rapture dude – has Rex Ryan wanting out if owner Woody Johnson doesn’t open up the checkbook and fix the team’s problems on offense. In order for the Jets to really change things on offense, this means changes at offensive coordinator, starting quarterback, and probably about four of five out of the 11 starting offensive players total.

Of course, this makes plenty of sense. Rex Ryan isn’t dumb (well, I’m not exactly so sure about that, but…). He knows that if the Jets bring back both Tony Sparano, Mark Sanchez and don’t make any significant personnel changes on offense, then the 2013 Jets will quite closely resemble the 2012 Jets. If that happens, he’ will likely be fired after next season. So Rex Ryan is crying to ownership to fix the offense or just fire him now, because what the hell? He’d rather go blabber on ESPN for a season then take over as the Head Coach in Detroit in 2014 than deal with another minute of coaching this Jets team.

Maybe I’m the only one laughing and shaking my head here. Does Rex Ryan, and do his staunch supporters, fail to see that he’s also responsible for the deterioration of this team, of the team’s offense? I know, I know “Mike Tannenbaum is the GM! He picks the players while Rex shows up in August and is like ‘Wait, we have LaRon Landry? WHO KNEW?!'” “Rex is a defensive coach!” “Rex never wanted Tebow!” “Rex is the next coming of Tom Landry if he’d only be surrounded by great talent and great offensive coaching!”

The Jets’ demise from contenders to mess is an overall organizational failure. Stop pretending that Rex Ryan isn’t a part of that. He’s the head coach of the team. Doesn’t anybody else find it hilarious that – if true – the head coach of a football team would be begging his owner to help him fix the offense? If the Giants’ defense became all-time bad, would Tom Coughlin cry to John Mara to fix the side of the ball he knows nothing about? Oh wait, that would never happen because Tom Coughlin, while an offensively-trained coach, is also a FOOTBALL coach (much like Tim Tebow is, you know, a FOOTBALL player), who has a damn good feel about every aspect of the entire sport. Thing is, the Giants defense would never get that bad under Coughlin, because he’d see it coming a mile away and start fixing it before it got to the point where it could cripple his team. Rex Ryan has zero feel for offense, and something that’s malicious in the NFL in 2012, he has zero feel for the quarterback position. Have you watched how Rex Ryan has handled this QB disaster in 2012?

Okay, Tim Tebow was thrown on him by ownership so the Jets could steal some headlines. We all understand that. Then how come after the Jets made the Tebow trade, Rex talked up Tebow’s potential in the Wildcat and all that? Remember Rex proclaiming that there could be games where he’d get 15-20 snaps in the Wildcat? Here’s how a smart coach who had a clue about how important your quarterback is in the NFL would have handled the Tebow mess from the start:

“Tim’s a really versatile player who is our clear back up quarterback. The great thing about having Tim is that you’re able to use him in a few different ways than you could with other backups. He could add a wrinkle to our offense and we may be able to use him in certain special teams situations too. And if Mark ever unfortunately gets hurt and can’t go, we can start a guy who has won games recently in the league.”

No proclamations about Tebow being a major part of the team. No mapping out snap totals. No public endangering of Mark Sanchez’s job. For a guy whose greatest strength as a coach might have been his way to play the media to his team’s advantage, Rex Ryan couldn’t have handled the Tebow mess any worse. And I personally think that the way this QB situation was handled all season is a huge reason the Jets will finish with a losing record this season.

If you follow my columns at all you’ll recall that I think Rex Ryan is a defensive coordinator masquerading as a head coach. The Ground-And-Pound ethos is an archaic bunch of garbage that no title-winner in the past 10 years has subscribed to. The league is different these days, and there is no place at the summit of an NFL sideline for a guy who has no feel for modern offense. Your defense better be the ’85 Bears or the 2000 Ravens in order to win with a middling offense. We know the Jets defense is good but it’s nowhere near all-time good.

And after all that, I accept and am okay with Ryan being back next season as head coach. If I were running the team he would be gone, but I’m not going to act like he’s Rich Kotite or something. The Jets have made deep playoff runs under his lead (although I think the case can be made that he took over Eric Mangini’s teams and the more and more he’s gotten his handprints on this franchise, it’s gotten worse). The idea of fixing the Jets’ offense is the right one. Rex can coach a defense that’s good enough to win a title even with mediocre talent. The Jets need to spend money on an offensive rebuild to have any chance of being successful.

Ryan has the right idea. It’s just amazing to me that he has to ask his owner to do the fixing for him. But he needs the help. He can’t do it himself. He doesn’t know enough about it. That’s not a good place to be in the NFL in in 2012, 2013 and beyond.

And now, mercifully, the final picks of the season:

Eagles +7 at Giants – I’m more rooting for this than anything, okay.

Packers -3 at Vikings – The Packers are playing for something. Oh yeah, also, nobody is really talking about the Packers, who are going to win the Super Bowl this season.

Bears -3 at Lions – Remember when the Lions were good? That was fun.

Bonus Non-NFL Bet of the Week (Record: 6-9-1) – Alabama -10 vs. Notre Dame. Notre Dame sucks.

Thanks for reading all season. I promise my picks next year will be not worse.

Happy 2013. May you break all your resolutions by January 8th.

Turn On The Jets Week 16 Best Bets: Best Of 2012

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets and a collection of “Best Of” Lists for 2012

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Week 15 Record: 0-3

Season Record: 14-29-2

Unfortunately, there are TWO more weeks of the regular season in the NFL.  God why can’t this just end sooner?

I will be doing a Best Bets piece for Week 17 (I’m sure you’re all in tatters with excitement), but Week 17 falls on Dec. 30 this year. I plan on spending the week between Christmas and New Years bathing in alcohol and greasy food, so I’ll just alert you now; I’m probably going to mail in my Week 17 column like Mike Francesa in August.

So because I’m sure you haven’t seen enough year-end “Best Of” or “Top (insert whatever here) of the Year” lists, here come a bunch more. You’re welcome, everybody. Here are my Top 5 in a whole bunch of important things from 2012:

Movies of the Year

1. Zero Dark Thirty – I saw this last night and the first thing that came to mind when I walked out of the theater was “I’ve just seen the best movie of the year, if not the last five years.” Super intense, brilliantly paced, well-acted all around. It’s impossible to make a movie about this subject do a better job than Kathryn Bigelow did. The scene of the actual raid of the Bin Laden compound was action film-making at its finest. Oh yeah and all those torture scenes that the government are telling you are “factually inaccurate”? Yeah, please, we totally did all that.

2. Silver Linings Playbook – If everything about this movie was the same except the Solitano family was from New York or New Jersey and they were massive Jets fans instead of Eagles fans, there’s a chance this would be my favorite movie of all time.

3. The Master – Daniel Day-Lewis is going to get the Oscar for Best Actor for Lincoln, but Joaquin Phoenix is just as deserving if not more.

4. Argo – As much as it may pain me to say this, Ben Affleck made a great movie.

5. Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson quirkiness at it’s best. Children acting like adults, adults acting like children. Hilarious, outrageous and heartwarming at the same time.

Honorable Mention: Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, ParaNorman (no, really), Lincoln – and I fully expect Django Unchained to be great.

Mike D’Antoni Quotes of the Year (No explanation required)

1. “Uhhhhhhhhh”

2. ” Well, uhhhhhh”

3. “Now you’re startin’ to piss me off.”

4. “Uhhhhhh…Let’s go! Comeonnow! Let’s go!”

5.”Uhhhhhhhhhh”

Honorable Mention: “Well…uhhhhhh, you know…uhhhhhh”

Albums of the Year

1. Japandroids – Celebration RockWhen your quarterback could learn a thing or two about attitude from the lyrics of a Canadian alternative outfit… “When they love you, and they will, tell ’em all they’ll love in my shadow / And if they try to slow you down, tell ’em all to go to Hell”…you know your football team sucks.

2. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball –An 11-track anthem for the 99%.

3. Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE –If I was doing a Top Songs of the Year list (I’m not), “Pyramids” would be vying for the top spot. That song is mind-blowing.

4. Fang Island – Major – I didn’t know it was possible for an indie band to make anthems that are loud, fast AND fun. Major proved to me that you can.

5. Green Day – Uno! –Pop this in and you may think it’s 1994 all over again. Which would be great if you’re a Rangers or Knicks fan, and not so brilliant if you’re a Jets fan.

Honorable Mention – Rex Ryan f/Mike Pettine – “Sounds of a Defense”. My favorite tracks are “BOOOOOM” “46 Bear 4 Life” and “F&$!@% Sanchez”

Athletes of the Year

1. LeBron James – Thanks to this Grantland article, I was reminded that in Game 4 against the Indiana Pacers with his team down 2-1 in the series, LeBron went for 40 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists. Holy hell.

2. Lionel Messi – He scored more goals in a calendar year than anyone in history. I’d say that’s fairly impressive.

3. Adrian Peterson – Putting together a year this great, in a league that’s going away from the run, after his knee was decimated late in 2011?

4. Rory McIlroy – Won the PGA Championship by a record 8 strokes, helped the European team to an all-time comeback at the Ryder Cup, and finished atop the PGA Tour’s Money List.

5. Henrik Lundqvist – A goaltender who played so ridiculously good over the course of an entire season. John Tortorella deserves a ton of credit for the Rangers finishing first in the East and making a deep playoff run, but the Rangers are nowhere near that good with standard goaltending. He deserved to win a Stanley Cup in 2012.

Honorable Mention – Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Nonito Donaire, R.A. Dickey, Jeremy Lin, Shonn Greene

“Same Old Jets” Plays of the Year:

1. Buttfumble – Sanchez’s Bubby Brister moment.

2. Season-Ending Snap Cluster%&!# – Blame it on Nick Mangold, blame it on Sanchez, take your pick. Picture perfect way for the meaningful part of Gang Green’s season to come to a close.

3. Joe McKnight’s Kickoff Fumble vs. New England – Couldn’t help but start laughing.

4. Sanchez’s OT Fumble in New England – The beginning of the end.

5. Tim Tebow signing a contract – Wait, no, THIS was the beginning of the end. While we’re at it…

Tim Tebow Plays of the Year:

1. 3-yard plunge

2. 2-yard plunge

3. Loss of 6

4. Incomplete Pass

5. 4-yard swing out to Jeremy Kerley

WHAT A FOOTBALL PLAYER!!!

Games/Events of the Year:

1. Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV – If you read this column (first off, thanks!) you know where I stand on this.

2. Manchester City’s Title-Winning Comeback – Watch this clip. If you say you’ve ever heard an American sports crowd go anything close to as insane as this, you’re lying through your teeth. Goalkeeper Joe Hart running around by himself in celebration is an incredible image. Martin Tyler’s call is probably the best call in live sports broadcast history. I’m not exaggerating.

3. Saints at 49ers, Divisional Playoffs  – I wish every football game was played like this. Rex Ryan doesn’t.

4. Winter Classic – Rangers vs. Flyers – The Rangers go down only to come back to take a lead in the third period. In the final minute, Henrik Lundqvist stones Danny Briere on a penalty shot with a slim one-goal lead. All in the fresh, open air.

5. Linsanity vs. the Lakers – Jeremy Lin outdid Kobe Bryant, dropping 37 points on the Lakers at MSG. Linsanity’s fever pitch.

Honorable Mention – Raul Ibanez pinch hits for A-Rod, hits game-tying and game-winning HRs, The Ryder Cup’s final day, Olympics Women’s Soccer Gold Medal game – U.S vs. Canada, No. 15 Lehigh beats No. 2 Duke

Oral Histories of the Year:

No yeah screw that, oral histories suck.

Jets Websites of the Year:

1. TurnOnTheJets.com – Yeah that about rounds out the list.

And now…the vaunted picks:

Redskins -6 at Eagles – Skins need it, Eagles are dead.

Giants -2.5 at Ravens – Ravens defense will have trouble with Eli, Cruz, Bennett etc.

49ers PK at Seahawks – Will be a defensive battle, but the Niners have the better big play capability.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 6-8-1) – Knicks -6 vs. Bulls AND the over (187)

Happy Holidays y’all!

Throwback Thursday: Jets at Chargers, September 22, 2008

Throwback Thursday! Chris Celletti takes a look back at Jets vs. Chargers in 2008, when they were still getting humiliated in primetime!

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Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about great Jets games in the past against their upcoming opponent. (Word to not take seriously in that last sentence: “great”)

So yeah, the Jets’ quarterback situation is a mess. Where we’re at right now, with Greg McElroy starting in Week 15, Mark Sanchez likely never taking a meaningful snap for this team again and Tim Tebow standing on the sideline with his fists on his hips while a nation wonders how a professional sports team could be so mean and unfair to a professional athlete…well, the disaster didn’t start this season. It didn’t start last season. When something is this much of a mess, it’s origins can be traced far back. We can probably go even further back than we will today, but let’s head on back to 2008.

The Jets just came off a 4-12 season with an iffy quarterback situation going forward (When has that EVER happened to the Jets?!) Chad Pennington was all sorts injured, and Kellen Clemens didn’t show a ton in his second season. But likely, the Jets were going to head into the 2008 season, coach Eric Mangini’s third, with Pennington and Clemens battling it out in training camp for the job. That is, until owner Woody Johnson said “The Giants just won the Super Bowl, we need to make a splash”. Enter the spokesman for Wrangler Jeans, the Pride of Gulfport, Mississippi, Brett Lorenzo Favre.

/Gives up on life when realizing Brett Favre’s middle name is Lorenzo

So the Jets crapped on Pennington right before training camp (funny how there weren’t people all up in arms about the Jets’ treatment of one of their best QBs in team history, yet, they somehow owe the country an explanation for why Tim Tebow hasn’t been given a shot), and handed the keys to Favre. The early returns were okay, the Jets won their opener in Miami before falling at home to the Matt Cassel-led Patriots. In Week 3, the Jets visited the San Diego Chargers.

At the time…

Billboard No. 1 Song in the U.S. – “Whatever You Like” by T.I. This song had three different multi-week stints atop the charts, which is an incredible accomplishment for a song built around a hook that sounds like a slogan for a fast foot chain.

No. 1 Movie in the U.S. – “Lakeview Terrace” starring Samuel L. Jackson. The IMDB description reads: “An LAPD officer will stop at nothing to force out the interracial couple who just moved in next door.” Well, then.

Jets’ Record Before: 1-1

Chargers’ Record before: 1-1

The Jets couldn’t have asked for a better start, as David Barrett intercepted Philip Rivers on the Chargers’ third play from scrimmage and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to put the Jets up 7-0. San Diego came right back and got three points back, and Thomas Jones coughed the ball up on the ensuing possession to give the Chargers good field position. A few plays later, Rivers hit mike Tolbert from a yard out, 10-7 Chargers. And then Brett Favre went and reminded Jets fans why they should temper their excitement just a tiny bit.

On the first play of the second quarter, with the Jets at midfield, Favre tossed one out towards the sideline that was caught and ran in for a touchdown by Antonio Cromartie. In September of 2008, Antonio Cromartie played for the San Diego Chargers. 17-7. The rout probably would have been on if not for Leon Washington, who returned the kickoff to the Chargers’ six yard line. Favre found Laveranues Coles and the Jets had life down just 17-14 despite not taking very much care of the ball.

Sensing the wild nature of the game and rightly taking advantage of it, the Chargers went for a surprise onside kick and recovered it. Five plays later, Chris Chambers caught a 27-yard score. But fear not Jets fans! You’re never out of a game when Favre is your quarterback! Except for those NOT RARE times when he throws the ball up for grabs and it’s picked off, which is what happened on the Jets’ next possession. San Diego took a 31-14 lead into the halftime break on Antonio Gates’ 6-yard TD catch with under three minutes left.

If the Jets had any chance they needed a stop right out of the gate in the second half, but that’s not what they got. The Chargers went 79 yards in seven plays capped off by a short touchdown run by future Jet LaDainian Tomlinson to make it 38-14. That was about it for the meaningful action, although Favre kept throwing and throwing and throwing. He finished with a classic Brett Favre statline: 30-of-42 for 271 yards with 3 TDs and 2 INTs. After all was told, it ended 48-29 Chargers.

I’ll say this for the one-year Favre Jets. At the very least, they were exciting. If you’re going to lose games, I’d rather lose them like the way the Jets lost this game. At least they were putting up some points early and things were actually, you know, happening on offense. Unlike this year’s Jets, who make you wonder if you weren’t paying attention and the NFL decided to all of a sudden play games on a field half the size.

Of course, what happened during the 2008 season and beyond was classic Jets. They were a Super Bowl favorite at 8-3 only to collapse and finish 9-7 while Pennington led the Dolphins to the Division title. After the season, Favre announced his retirement only to un-retire again and have an MVP-like season for the Minnesota Vikings. So, Pennington leaves the Jets and succeeds, Favre leaves the Jets and succeeds, so what do the Jets do? Trade up for Mark Sanchez, of course.

And when we look back on the Mark Sanchez Era, there is no doubt that the 2009 and 2010 seasons will be the one silver lining. A lot of people believe those Jets teams won in spite Sanchez, but they didn’t win in spite of Favre in 2008. Instead of building on the early success of Sanchez, the Jets bungled the operation completely, and on top of that Sanchez played like trash for two years, playing himself out of a career.

So as the Jets embark on another quarterback journey this Sunday as McElroy makes his first career start, I can only wait with bated breath to see how the Jets can screw up another quarterback. And if they don’t screw McElroy up in this short remainder of the season, based on past history one can only think it’s only time until they do. Or, for that matter, ruin whoever else ends up taking snaps next season.

Turn On The Jets Week 15 Best Bets/Rants of the Week

Chris Celletti with his Best Bets and weekly rants for week 15 of the NFL Season

Week 14 Record: 1-2

Season Record: 14-26-2

When I sit down every week and scour the NFL betting lines and look to pick three games for this column, it’s sort of like when someone hands Mike D’Antoni a clipboard during the defense portion of practice.

Okay, I know what I’m doing here, right. Wait no, I DON’T. What is a ‘hedge’ again? Don’t freak out, just pretend you know what you’re doing, say it with confidence and they’ll believe you.

-I can’t tell you how beautiful it was to watch last night’s Knicks-Lakers game from a Knicks fan standpoint. And especially from someone who since Day 1 did not want D’Antoni anywhere near the Knicks and had to endure three-plus seasons of his “system”, it was almost cleansing to be on the other side of a classic D’Antoni game. Get used to it, L.A. You’re going to have first quarters where you give up 40-plus points. You’re going to have games where you fall behind by 20-plus only to claw back in but ultimately fall short. You’re going to have games where you can’t get a stop when you need it – or all freakin’ night for that matter. Last night, all of those came together and that’s what you get. Yes, when the picture-perfect only man on earth who D’Antoni can win with, Steve Nash, returns the Lakers will be better. They’re going to make the playoffs. But a 39-year-old Steve Nash, who couldn’t guard a water bottle in his prime, isn’t going to fix all the Lakers’ real problems.

-I turned 26 this week, and 26 is very odd age. I’m now on the downside of my 20’s, which is fairly depressing. I have distinct memories of when I was 16 years old and some of those don’t seem that far away. So now I’m equidistant to age 36 than I am to 16. Weird. And one thing I can’t stand is when someone my age complains about getting older, and then someone who’s like 30, or 38 or 47 goes “Oh come on! You’re 26! Please.” So just because I’m younger than you means I can’t complain about my age? Untrue. I have no problem telling someone who just turned 19 that it’s a crappy age to be. 18 is fun because you can do stupid things like buy lotto tickets, and get into “18 to party, 21 to drink” places (who goes to those?!). 19 and 20 are agonizing. 26 isn’t great. Although if I were a Jets’ starting linebacker, I’d be the young buck of the group.

-If you want to watch the Best Sporting Event of 2012, HBO is re-showing Juan Manuel Marquez’s dramatic knockout win over Manny Pacquiao tomorrow night. I advise you to watch, or if you have a social life and are going to be out, at least DVR it. It will be worth the 40 minutes or so it will take up on your DVR and the time it takes to watch it. In my opinion it’s the best sporting event of the year. Two high-level technicians, two of the absolute best in the world at what they do in their fourth fight against each other – the first three featuring 36 action-packed rounds in which about 33 of them were a total toss up – and it couldn’t have unfolded in a more jaw-dropping fashion. Off the top of my head I can’t think of anything that was better from a sports perspective this year. Of course this depends on who you root for and what sports you fancy. I would expect a Giants fan to say the Super Bowl was better, some NASCAR freak probably thought the Pennzoil 400 or whatever was scintillating. In my mind, the NHL’s Winter Classic was pretty memorable, similar to the Pacquiao-Marquez fight in the event ending dramatically and living up the hype and build-up. And yes, I love boxing so my view is skewed (but that’s what debating sports is really all about, no?), and for my money it didn’t get any better than those six rounds in 2012.

And now let’s lose some money:

Jets +1.5 at Titans – Oh yeah I did!

Patriots -5 vs. 49ers – I’m a big Colin Kaepernick fan, mostly because when he torched the Jets in the Wildcat back in Week 4, I thought to myself “Oh, this is what the Jets could have with Tim Tebow, if only Tebow was actually fast like this dude.” And then I watched as Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith, saw him throw and run an offense, and the guy’s pretty legitimate. But I don’t think the Niners have the downfield threats that you need to really hurt the Patriots’ defense. I think the Pats hold San Francisco down a bit and continue their torrid offensive play.

Colts +9.5 at Texans – I think the Texans win this game but it’s a close one throughout. Houston’s defense has been exposed a bit recently. If Chad Henne can chuck it for 400 yards on you, you may not be as dominant as everyone thinks. J.J. Watt wrecking this game scares me a bit, but I think Andy Luck and the Colts keep it close enough to cover.

(And yes, I know it’s “Andrew Luck”, but sometimes I like to pretend that athletes use the different version of their given name sometimes. Oh how different things would be if B.J. Roethlisberger were starting for the Steelers this week.)

Bonus Non-Football Bet of The Week (Season Record: 5-8-1)

Tough loss for Manchester City last week against Manchester United. Of course City fans responded gracefully to United’s late winner by pelting coins at Man U’s players, opening a nice gash over Rio Ferdinand’s eye. Not unreasonable at all for a mid-season loss. And Bart Scott wants to cry about a few fans dropping F-bombs. How soft.

Man City looks to rebound at Newcastle and I’ll hop on the 1-goal spread at +120 and roll with a 3-1 City win.

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 14 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his Best Bets for week 14 of the NFL season and a brief rant on the Knicks and the NHL Lockout

Week 13 Record: 0-3

Season Record: 13-24-2

Well, at least I’m not in last place in The Race For The Steak (sorry, Joe). At this point my picks are becoming valuable, because you can win some money if you do the exact opposite of what I say. I’m sort of like the new Evan Silva. This sucks.

Before we get to my picks, a few things swirling around my mind other than football, because the Jets are garbage and I suck at picking football games:

-What the hell happened last night? I’m referring to that basketball game played in Miami, where the sans-Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks destroyed the Heat in their building. The Heat have only lost three games by 20-plus points since LeBron Decisioned his way to Florida, and the 2012-13 Knicks are responsible for two of those. Do the Knicks have the Heat’s number? Or are these two wins just a weird anomaly? It’s probably somewhere in the middle. If the Knicks and Heat began a 7-game series tonight, the Heat would still be favored and rightly so. Regardless, the Knicks do match up well with the Heat and that’s not a mistake.

You have to hand it to Glen Grunwald and the Knicks’ brass for building a team with facing Miami in the playoffs in mind. The Knicks are strong in the defensive paint with Tyson Chandler and Rasheed Wallace and whenever-he-gets-healthy Marcus Camby, have good perimeter defenders in Ronnie Brewer, Jason Kidd and Iman Shumpert, and have perimeter shooting with J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Raymond Felton, ‘Melo, Kidd, etc. What last night proved, if nothing else, is that the Knicks are a true title contender, a Top-5 or so team in the league. And they’re that way because they had a great offseason. They made tough and shrewd decisions, the most scrutinized being letting Jeremy Lin go and replacing him with Felton. Do you think the Knicks win last night with Lin at point guard? Do you remember when LeBron and Co. slapped the breaks on Linsanity in Miami last season? Also, the signing of Kidd looks more each day like the smartest roster move they’ve made in years.

There’s a team or two in New York, a certain football team comes to mind, that could learn a little bit from the Knicks.

-It’s hysterical to me that you can read a report about the NHL Lockout negotiations, the quotes from both sides, the predictions from the media, and if you swapped out the names and locations you could be reading about the Fiscal Cliff. Maybe the parties involved should do just that, swap places altogether and give it a shot. Chris Matthews interviewing Gary Bettman would be epic. “You know, Gary, you guys are like a bunch of bullies, shoving the the younger, littler guys into lockers and stealing their lunch money. This is the United States of America, Gary.  This isn’t Oak Hills Elementary School!”

-The Grammy Nominations came out this week. The Grammys are the most bi-polar awards ever. Some years all the nominees and winners are pop artists, and sometimes the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences straight up trolls pop music (also, the “National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences” is the most asinine, outdated name for the organization that gives out music awards in the 21st century. There is more science to Mark Sanchez trying to parallel park a car than there is to Katy Perry recording a song). Once every five years, the Grammys give out major awards to people you’ve never heard of or artists 40 years past their prime to serve as a reminder that their awards are meaningless. In 2008, Herbie Hancock won the Album of the Year award. 47 people on Earth have ever listened to that album. This year the five nominees are all popular artists, so expect the 2014 award for Album of the Year to go to k.d. Lang.

It will be a grave injustice if “Call Me Maybe” doesn’t win Song of the Year.

Pick time:

Bengals -3 vs. Cowboys – The Bengals like the throw the ball around and the Cowboys aren’t very good at stopping it. Could be similar to the Bengals’ blowout win over the Giants a few weeks ago.

Saints +5 at Giants – You don’t need to watch any Giants football the rest of the year because I’m going to spell out for you everything that’s going to happen to them from here on out. They’ll lose their next two (vs. Saints, at Falcons) to fall to 7-7 and it will be panic time. They’ll go into Baltimore in Week 16 and beat the Ravens on a late touchdown by Eli, then blow out the Eagles at home in the regular season finale to finish 9-7 and with a division title. They’ll host Seattle in the Wild Card round and win 24-14, setting up a date in Atlanta in the Divisional Round. The Giants will win that game 31-10, then visit the Packers in the NFC Title game and win 27-21 in overtime on a 53-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz after Aaron Rodgers fumbles a snap. Of course they’ll play the Patriots in the Super Bowl and win because they own New England. Woody Johnson will respond by firing Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum and hiring Brett Favre as Coach/GM. Rinse and repeat.

Packers -6.5 vs. Lions – Anyone who has Aaron Rodgers in fantasy will win this week.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 5-7-1) – Boxing again! Should be a fascinating fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday. Quick primer: they fought to a draw in 2004 and Pacquiao eked out highly-controversial decision wins in 2008 and 2011. A fourth fight is definitely a bit of overkill, but all three have been absolute wars and this one should be no different. Marquez is maybe the world’s best counterpuncher and because of that he gives Manny fits. But the reason to be excited for this one of that Pacquiao is going to be in total knockout mode, trying to quell any doubts about the first three fights. I think Marquez will be a bit too amped for a knockout himself and may leave himself open. If Pacquiao still has any power left, which is certainly a question at this point in his career, he can score a KO or stoppage in this one. Pacquiao by KO or TKO is +200. Take it.

Throwback Thursday: Jets vs. Jaguars, September 25, 2005

Chris Celletti with a look back at a Jets/Jaguars game in 2005 and a needed rant on how Jets fans treat their quarterback

Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about great Jets games in the past against their upcoming opponent. (Word to not take seriously in that last sentence: “great”)

The Jacksonville Jaguars have only been around for 18 seasons, but our beloved New York Jets have faced them quite often despite the teams being in different divisions. This Sunday’s mammoth matchup will be the 11th all-time meeting between the two, including playoffs, so there were a bevy of choices for this week’s Throwback Thursday. There were some real gems in there, like the 2006 41-0 Jags victory, or the 1999 16-6 Jags win – but we’re not going to go back to 1999 and subject ourselves to any more Rick Mirer memories, because one look back at Rick Mirer in a Jets uniform is one far, far too many.

There’s one game in Jets-Jaguars lore that makes almost too much sense to take a look back at in this current time. Before we get there, let’s set the scene:

Jets vs. Jaguars – September 25, 2005 – Giants Stadium

At the time…

Billboard No. 1 Song in the U.S.: “Gold Digger” by Kanye West f/ Jamie Foxx. It’s good that Kanye doesn’t want to deal with with a chick who’s going to be super expensive and high maintenance and all.

No. 1 Movie in the U.S: “Flightplan” starring Jodie Foster. The IMDB description reads:

“A claustrophobic, Hitchcockian thriller. A bereaved woman and her daughter are flying home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet the child vanishes and nobody admits she was ever on that plane.”

“Hitchcockian”! Who knew Peter King wrote descriptions for IMDB. This movie made over $223 million. This should be the test for whether or not the U.S. economy is in good shape. Make a horrible movie starring Jodie Foster and if it makes $223 million, we’re doing just fine thank you.

Jets Record Before: 1-1

Jaguars Record Before:  1-1

The 2004 season ended like so many others in Jets history; they ripped your heart out of your chest and used it as a pinata. If you’re a real Jets fan you don’t even need to be reminded, but I’ll do it for you anyway DOUG BRIEN YOU SUCK. In between the 2004 and 2005 seasons, the body of Jets’ starting quarterback Chad Pennington continued its Civil War, as the battered QB underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. He was the unquestioned starter heading into the 2005, but the Jets brought in veteran Jay Fiedler as his backup. Pennington got off to a rough start in 2005 but the Jets were 1-1 heading into a Week 3 battle with the Jaguars.

The Jaguars took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter on a touchdown pass from Byron Leftwich to Ernest Wilford, but the Jets responded with a 9-play, 80 yard drive that was capped off with a one yard TD plunge by Jerald Sowell. But the third quarter is when things got really interesting at Giants Stadium.

Sometime in the period Pennington was sacked twice in a row, and after the second one came up visibly hurt, hanging his previously-injured right arm limp at his side as he came slowly towards the sideline. I remember this vividly because I was in the building, and it’s not easy to forget what happened next. As the struggling Pennington came towards the sideline, clearly hurting, cheers started cascading down from the Jets “faithful”. The fed-up mob of “fans” were cheering the fact that their quarterback – who had brought them within a field goal of the AFC Championship game less than eight months earlier – was hurt. In came Fiedler, who was clearly going to save the day and lead the Jets and their fans into a decade-long glory period with multiple Super Bowl titles, plentiful food and naked chicks abound. You know, sort of like Greg McElroy.

Well Fiedler played a few snaps and injured HIS right shoulder, which got awesome-if-you-just-give-him-a-chance third stringer Brooks Bollinger warming up on the sidelines. But Pennington fought through and made his way back to the field, and the Bollinger-era would have to wait until a little later in the season.

The Jets took a 14-10 lead in the 3rd on a defensive touchdown, a 33-yard fumble recovery by James Reed. The teams went back and forth; Josh Scobee kicked a field goal and Fred Taylor scored a TD for Jacksonville, and Mike Nugent kicked a field goal to cut the Jags’ lead to 20-17 late in the fourth. Afterwards, Jacksonville receiver Reggie Williams fumbled and David Barrett recovered at midfield and brought the ball to the Jags’ 21, setting up a chance for the Jets to snag a victory late. On third and goal from the seven, Pennington appeared to have won the Jets the game and given a big double middle finger to the crowd, hitting Wayne Chrebet in the end zone. But the play was reviewed and Chrebet was judged to have bobbled the ball, and the Jets had to settle for a game-tying field goal.

On to overtime we went, and the teams traded interceptions before the Jets punted the ball away to the Jaguars from their own end zone. On third down, Leftwich hit Jimmy Smith for a 36-yard winner. 26-20 Jaguars, and the Jets’ poor 2005 season was off and running.

Pennington’s statline was downright awful. Shield you eyes, kids: 9-of-19, 76 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs. With a slow start to the season, it was pretty clear that the Jets’ QB wasn’t healthy and likely tried to rush back because he knew if he didn’t play and either Fiedler or Bollinger did, the Jets would go something like 4-12. Well, the Jets went 4-12.

But it’s obvious why this game is so appropriate to look back on with the Jets’ current mess and the toxic atmosphere surrounding the team. I should have taken the cue in 2005 being in that stadium that Jets fans were capable of anything. If last Sunday, Mark Sanchez got hit low and had to limp off the field on one leg, and you DON’T think that the majority of MetLife Stadium would have erupted in joy, well I’ll give you a few bucks so you can go buy a clue.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with fans booing players for poor on-field performance. Actually, few things make me madder than people who say “When your team is down is when you should support them the MOST! Puppy dogs and ice cream!” You pay a lot of money for your seats, and when you go to a game and a player plays awful, boo them all you want. But what is it about Jets quarterbacks that bring out the worst in some of these people? What the hell did Mark Sanchez or Chad Pennington ever do to you that you’d actually cheer for them when they got hurt or root for them to fail – which again, there WILL be Jets fans doing this Sunday, don’t kid yourself. You want to know what Pennington said after this game, with the Jets heading to Baltimore to face the Ravens and their vaunted defense?

“They’ll have to cut it off for me not to play.”

Maybe I’m just as bad because in 2008, when Pennington brought the Miami Dolphins into Giants Stadium and beat the Jets to win the division, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there was a part of me that was happy. At the very least I felt great for Pennington, who gave a lot of Jets fans what they deserved after the way they often treated him.

All the Jets fans who thought Pennington wasn’t good enough to lead the Jets to victory ended up being right. They didn’t win with Pennington. Those who don’t think they’ll ever win with Sanchez will likely end up being right too. But they didn’t win with Vinny Testaverde, or  Brett Favre, or Ken O’Brien or Boomer Esiason. But when those feelings of rage you get when you see Mark Sanchez start creeping up on Sunday, just remember 2009 and 2010, and remember the names like Rick Mirer, Brooks Bollinger, Frank Reich, Kellen Clemens and Browning Nagle.

You’re a Jets fan. It’s been worse. And there will be times when it is much, much worse than having Chad Pennington or Mark Sanchez.

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 13 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets, including an argument for the New York Jets to fire Rex Ryan

Week 12 Record: 1-1-1

Season Record: 13-21-2

Let’s go back, briefly, to my pick from last week’s Falcons/Buccaneers game. I’ll just copy and paste it verbatim because it’s glorious:

“Falcons -1 at Buccaneers: I think the Falcons win this game, and to me, if they win it they’re going to cover a one point spread.

/Watches in dismay as the Falcons win by 1″

Just in case you guys forgot, the Falcons won 24-23. YAY.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me respond to Chris Gross’ excellent, well-thought out and researched piece defending Rex Ryan by naming him the Captain of Team Pro Rex, while countering and calling myself the Captain of Team Anti Rex. I’ll use this space to state my case as to why I’m just not a big Ryan fan, even though I’m like most Jets fans and fell in love with the guy in 2009.

Chris used mainly numbers to justify that Ryan is coaching a collection of players that simply aren’t good enough, or at least very much below the average of their opponents at basically every position on the field. There’s no arguing that, and I would never ever argue that Rex isn’t getting the full potential out of this lot of crappy players that the Jets have assembled in 2012. No team is going to win a lot of games giving major reps to guys like Edmond “Clyde” Gates, Chaz Schilens, Austin Howard, Matt Slauson, and, in 2012 at least, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas. The Jets do not have playoff talent, so I don’t expect Rex to lead this team to the playoffs.

Do I expect better than four wins at this point in the season? Maybe. But I certainly expect the team to be more competitive on a week-by-week basis and not get blown out five times, thrice at home. That, I believe, is largely on the coach. It’s my opinion that teams in the NFL, a league designed so that every team can win every week, don’t get blown out consistently if they have a truly great coach on the sideline. Regardless of the talent on the roster.

Now, Mike Tannenbaum deserves every ounce of blame he gets for the Jets’ being the way they are this year. He doesn’t deserve to be the GM of this team anymore. But you cannot simply blame Tannenbaum and nobody else, and that includes Rex Ryan. It’s not like Rex went on vacation all offseason and parachuted into Florham Park in mid July and was like “Woah, Tanny, what the hell is this? This is who I have to work with?” It’s impossible that Rex has NO say whatsoever in the personnel on his team. I understand that there are salary cap implications and the like, but you can’t tell me that Rex Ryan couldn’t go to Tannenbaum right after last season and say “Mike, I can’t go into next year with these four linebackers. And we need a better right tackle. And a fullback. And a…” and you get the point. And if he doesn’t have any say, at all? If it’s literally that he just shows up and coaches the guys he’s given, well that tells you all you need to know about the Jets organization.

What this also brings up is a question I often ponder, and that’s whether coaches make players or players make coaches in the NFL. I think there are strong arguments either way. Bill Belichick did not have great success as a head coach before going to New England and having Mo Lewis deliver Tom Brady into his lap. There’s no doubt that Brady, or any great quarterback, can hide the shortcomings of a head coach. But I personally think there are more examples of “system” players, guys that can thrive in the right situation, if used correctly and maximized by the coaching staff.

My favorite example in this case is Victor Cruz. I respect the hell out of Cruz, and I’m in no way trying to say that the guy lacks talent or anything. You don’t put up record-setting seasons like he did last year if you’re not any good. But football is the ultimate system sport. Tom Coughlin is an offensive coach, a wide receivers coach by trade, and I have a tiny feeling that he knows exactly what hes doing in terms of utilizing Victor Cruz. I look at someone like Jeremy Kerley or Randall Cobb, and I’m honestly not so sure that there’d be that big of a drop off if the Giants replaced Cruz with one of those guys. Maybe they wouldn’t put up numbers that were as gaudy, but it’s not like Cruz makes the Giants an 11-win team where they’d be a seven or eight win team with Kerley or Cobb. That’s because Tom Coughlin is a great coach – and it definitely doesn’t hurt having a top quarterback like Eli Manning either.

I’m sure there are instances in which Ryan has gotten more out of certain players than other coaches would. Maybe Muhammad Wilkerson wouldn’t be half the player he is with the Jets than if he were on half the other teams in the NFL. I don’t think Rex is an incompetent football coach, and this brings me to my next point that I’ve always feared with Rex, and that he’s a great defensive coordinator but an average-at-best head coach. There are a lot of signs that this is the case, from poor clock and game management, to the fact that he admitted that this season, his FOURTH AS A HEAD COACH, that he’s going to more offensive meetings and getting more involved on that side of the ball than ever before. I’ve never played football on any level, so maybe I’m naive and this is just how head coaches work, but if that’s the case then that’s asinine. You’ve always gotten the sense with Rex that his defense was all important, and the offense was just the other side of the ball. Which brings me to my last point, one that I think is the most relevant in today’s league.

I think that the type of football Ryan wants to play is archaic. That’s my opinion. The league has changed over the past 10 or 15 years, and you need to change with it in order to be successful. The worst thing that ever happened to Rex Ryan was being on the Ravens’ staff in 2000 when they won the Super Bowl with an all-time defense, a good running game and an otherwise pretty bad offense, with a middling quarterback and receivers. He’s trying to recreate that with the Jets, but it’s 2012 and that doesn’t work anymore. Look at the teams that have made and won the Super Bowl over the past few seasons. New England constantly wins 13 games and goes deep into the playoffs despite having one of the league’s worst defenses nearly every year. The Giants’ defense has patches every season where you think “they cannot win with this”, yet they do. The Colts, for years, had Peyton Manning and a bad defense, yet they won a Super Bowl and went to another. The Saints, the Packers…these are the types of teams that win in the NFL these days.

What all of those teams have in common is great quarterbacking, and that’s not something the Jets have. But it goes beyond that, and it’s about the culture of those teams and how they’re built. It’s not about punching someone in the mouth and giving up 10 points. It’s not about running the ball to control the clock and keep the other team’s QB on the sidelines. All those successful teams we just mentioned didn’t have shut down defenses, they had defenses that could make big plays at big times. They had the ability, and most importantly the desire and were designed to, put up a lot of points and hit big plays. Watching the Jets over the past three-plus seasons, I don’t get the vibe it’s just that the Jets can’t play offense this way, it’s that they don’t want to. Too risky. Too much potential for turnovers. Well if your defense is so great, how about picking up the offense when it inevitably turns the ball over? I’m sorry, you don’t hand-pick Tony Sparano to run your offense if you want to succeed in the NFL in 2012.

This is not even to get into the idea of Ryan’s boasts, the ridiculousness that constantly surrounds this team, etc. I honestly don’t even believe in that stuff too much. That’s the type of thing that is all well and good when you’re winning, and is a disaster when you’re losing. I have no problem with that.

And I honestly hate that I feel this way because I did love Rex Ryan when he took over in 2009. It felt like he changed the culture of the Jets, but I think the past two seasons are a clear indication that he really didn’t. He merely turned the Jets from a team that nobody bothered paying any attention to into to one that people love to point and laugh at and root against. Either way, they aren’t winning. At one point, us Jets fans thought that we had our coach in Herman Edwards, in Eric Mangini, when those guys surprised us early on by bringing us to the playoffs. I think Rex is a better coach than both of those guys, and I really hope that we don’t look back on him the same way we do those guys.

I fear, however, that we will.

Oh yeah, the picks:

Jaguars +6 at Bills, 49ers -7 at Rams, Jets -4.5 vs. Cardinals

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 5-6-1): Boxing Bet Alert: Miguel Cotto vs. Austin Trout. I like Cotto at -230 to win, and under 9.5 rounds at +220.

 

Throwback Thursday: Jets vs. Cardinals, November 7, 1999

Throwback Thursday! Chris Celletti takes a walk down memory lane, remembering an epic 1999 showdown between the Jets and Cardinals.

Throwback Thursday is a new feature here at Turn On The Jets, where we’ll take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about great Jets games in the past against their upcoming opponent. (Word to not take seriously in that last sentence: “great”)

I was talking with my brother, esteemed Sanchez Breakdowner at Turn On the Jets Rob Celletti, and we were talking about how potentially miserable this Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium between the Jets and Arizona Cardinals might be. And we’re not talking like 2012 blowout losses vs. the Patriots, Dolphins and 49ers-type miserable, more in the sense of “Sweet Jesus this is a horrifying display of football.” You see, when you have a history like the Jets do, where once about every three or four years you’re absolutely terrible, you rack up a bunch of these types of games. So Sunday’s tussle between these two 4-7 behemoths has a chance to be really, really bad, but it isn’t the first time these teams have played each other and made everyone in attendance want to leave the stadium and rob a charity. Oh no. Do you remember November 7, 1999? No? Well that’s what we’re here for.

Before we get to the ’99 doozy, simply looking ahead at the Jets’ remaining schedule this year we have a lot of excellent Throwback Thursdays in store to get you through the rest of this season. The Jaguars? Titans? Chargers? Have to be some real horrors in there. Now, if we decide to continue this into next year, hopefully the season won’t be lost by Week 6 and we’ll decide to sprinkle in a few actual positive memories from Jet Land. They are few and far between, but they do exist. But, until then, let’s get to it. If you’re a Jet fan you’re a masochist anyway, so these feelings should be comforting.

Jets vs. Cardinals – November 7, 1999 – Giants Stadium

At the time…

Billboard No. 1 Song in the U.S.: “Smooth” by Santana f/ Rob Thomas (aka, the song that Santana made to say “If I’m gonna sell out and take a dump on my entire 30 years of work, I’m taking Rob Thomas’ credibility as a rock artist down with me”)

No. 1 Movie in the U.S.: “The Bone Collector”, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Never seen it, but Bobby Cannavale (aka Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire) is also in it, so that may make it worth watching.

Jets Record Before: 1-6

Cardinals Record Before: 2-5

The ’99 season is one that sticks out in Jets fans’ minds distinctly and in a bad way. It was the one season that the Jets were well respected all around in preseason and were not just a sexy pick to win the Super Bowl, but a realistic one. They’d just come off the ’98 AFC Title loss in Denver, and with Bill Parcells manning the sidelines and having taught Vinny Testaverde to remember what color he was supposed to throw to, an in-prime Curtis Martin, an in-prime Keyshawn Johnson and oh yeah a defensive coordinator named Bill Belichick, the Jets were one of the best teams in the league, no question. And then in Week 1 Testaverde’s Achilles’ tendon exploded into 40 pieces and the season was over. They entered Week 9 off a bye at 1-6, with their lone win coming in Week 4 against Denver.

The Jets welcomed in a 2-5 Arizona team led by better-than-Shonn-Greene Michael Pittman, former Jets Adrian Murrell and Rob Moore and former Giants quarterback Dave Brown (Jake Plummer was the starter, he was either hurt or was benched for a miserable start to the season – I’m not sure but it really isn’t important). The best thing about Dave Brown as an Arizona Cardinal was the fact that he wore his entire name on the back of his jersey. Yes, the back of his jersey said “DAVE BROWN”. More people in the the NFL, and all sports for that matter, should do this. It would be funnier if after throwing a back-breaking pick and chasing a cornerback down the field in despair, it said “MARK SANCHEZ” instead of just “SANCHEZ”.

The Jets drew first blood on a John Hall field goal, but the Cards took a commanding 7-3 lead into halftime through Pittman’s four yard touchdown in the second quarter. Just when you thought those Jets would hang their heads, realize the season was over, look at their starting quarterback Rick Mirer and fight the urge to rip his index finger off so could never throw another pass…well whatever the Big Tuna said at halftime worked like a charm.

Gang Green stormed out of the half and put up a crucial three more points on the board, getting within striking distance entering the fourth quarter at 7-6. And that’s when the magic really happened. The stout Jets defense held DAVE BROWN in check, sacking him six times. Six times! Do the Jets have six sacks this season? The Jets’ six sacks came from James Farrior (he owes every Jets fan a personal apology), Mo Lewis, Ernie Logan (2 sacks),  Rick Lyle and Roman Phifer. How many of these guys could start for the Jets defense THIS Sunday? The jury is still out.

So that left things up to Mirer and the offense to bring it home, and home is where they brought it! The one-score-per-quarter trend kept up, with Mirer hooking up with Keyshawn Johnson for a 43-yard game-winning touchdown. The Jets went for two, and missed of course, which is where we got our brilliant final score: Jets 12, Cardinals 7. Sadly, this would be the last game Rick Mirer ever played as a New York Jet. He threw for 122 yards on 12-of-18 (Loogit that completion percentage you guys – hey Sanchez, why can’t you just be more like Rick Mirer?!?), which means that if you took out his 43 yard outlier, he threw for a whopping 79 yards. On the other hand, despite getting sacked six times, DAVE BROWN threw for 199 yards and had a respectable QB rating of 85.  In related news, Rick Mirer sucked.

The Jets leaned heavy on their defense and running game, with Curtis Martin piling up 131 yards on 38 carries. Where was Rex Ryan on Nov. 7, 1999? Why do I envision him watching this game in a dark basement, rubbing his wife’s feet while scarfing down fried chicken and pork rinds and yelling “GROUND AND POUND, BOOOOOM BABY!” at the top of his lungs? Games like this get Rex Ryan all tingly in the wrong places.

This game had two legendary bad quarterbacks, six total fumbles, nine sacks, 28 combined pass completions, just over 500 yards in total offense and 25 first downs. The Jets moved to 2-6 with the win, spurring on a three game winning streak and a 6-2 run to finish a respectable 8-8 with Ray Lucas under center. Now in 2012, Ray Lucas sits at a studio outside Radio City with a bad makeup job and tie knots the size of my fist and bashes the one organization who gave him a chance. Without the New York Jets, Ray Lucas would be a gym teacher in New Brunswick.

Let’s all hope this Sunday’s tilt between these two banner franchises can mirror the excitement of their meeting 13 years prior.