Throwback Thursday – The Mud Bowl

TJ Rosenthal goes Throwback Thursday on the Mud Bowl – The Jets heartbreaking loss in the 1983 AFC Championship Game

Thirty-One Years Ago Today, The Jets Super Dreams Died In The Mud

How could something like this happen? How could the Orange Bowl’s field have not been attended to during a monsoon in the days leading up to the big game? Thirty-one years ago today on January 23, 1983 the AFC Championship between the Jets and Dolphins in the strike shortened season of 1982 pitted the two bitter AFC East rivals. Who clashed under adverse field conditions that eventually did the Jets in.

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Throwback Thursday: Jets at Bengals, September 28, 1997

Chris Celletti goes Throwback Thursday on a Jets/Bengals showdown back in 1997

Fanbases of both franchises probably don’t want to hear this, but the Jets and Bengals have a lot of similarities. Both teams were pretty good in the 80s; the Jets made the playoffs four times during the decade, while the Bengals made it thrice, appearing in two Super Bowls. The bulk of the 90s was pretty bad for both teams — for the Bengals, it was an entire decade of horror, bleeding over into the naughts. Cincinnati made the playoffs in 1990 and 2005, and exactly zero times in between those years. The early and mid 90s were among the Jets’ darker days as well, in some irony, highlighted by two former Bengals in QB Boomer Esiason and offensive coordinator-turned-Jet-head-coach Bruce Coslet (thanks, guys!)

Both teams haven’t been able to sustain much long-term success. Neither is the laughingstock they’re quite often made out to be anymore, but they also haven’t been able to stack too many positive seasons together. When it feels like they’ve turned the corner, reality seems to rear its ugly head.

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Throwback Thursday: Jets vs. Steelers – December 14, 2003

Chris Celletti goes Throwback Thursday on Jets/Steelers, looking back at a 2003 showdown

Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about past great Jets games against the upcoming week’s opponent. (Word to be taken with an enormous grain of salt: “great”)

Let’s mix it up a bit. Things are good in JetLand right now. Why rain on the parade? Miserable, Francesa-calling Giants fans are already doing that, but let’s leave that to them and keep the positive vibes going here. When we look back at Jets-Steelers history, there is plenty of bad to choose from. The Steelers lead the all-time series 16-4, including playoffs. Out of the four Jets wins, only one of them only one was really important or impressive, during the 2010 regular season up in Heinz Field. But that’s not the one we’re going to concentrate on. This is, after all, TOJ Throwback Thursday.

Instead, let’s go back to Giants Stadium in December of 2003.

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Throwback Thursday: Jets vs. Falcons, December 20, 2009

Chris Celletti goes Throwback Thursday on a memorable day in Jets/Falcons history

Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about past great Jets games against the upcoming week’s opponent. (Word to be taken with an enormous grain of salt: “great”)

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Throwback Thursday: A Trip Down Jets-Titans Memory Lane

Chris Celletti goes Throwback Thursday and takes a look at past games between the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans.

Usually at Throwback Thursday, we pick one game from the Jets’ past against the week’s upcoming opponent and reminisce about how awful it was. Myriad games exist from Jets history that warrant a negative look back (even a lot of the wins!), and the act of harping on these fits perfectly with the self-loathing respect in which Jets fans generally operate. For a week, we’ll take a mini-break from that, perhaps because things seem pretty good in JetLand these days. It’s worth remembering some of the good times in franchise history too. Right?

But don’t fret! This week isn’t going to pull an entire 180. The Jets and Titans have played each other six times prior to this Sunday’s game. Of course, this isn’t going back to 1960 when the Jets were the Titans and the Titans were the Oilers and in Houston, but then they were the Tennessee Oilers for those two years, because it all just gets too confusing. Let’s just stick with the very-recent New York Jets vs. Tennessee Titans history.

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Throwback Thursday: Jets vs. Bills, October 28, 2007

Chris Celletti goes Throwback Thursday on an “epic” game in the history of the Jets/Bills rivalry

Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about past great Jets games against the upcoming week’s opponent. (Word to be taken with an enormous grain of salt: “great”)

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Throwback Thursday: Jets vs. Buccaneers, October 9, 2005

Throwback Thursday – Chris Celletti takes a look back at the October 9, 2005 game between the Jets and Buccaneers.

Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about past great Jets games against the upcoming week’s opponent. (Word to be taken with an enormous grain of salt: “great”)

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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.

Throwback Thursday – Jets at Titans, December 23, 2007

This week’s “Throwback Thursday” looks at Jets vs. Titans back in 2007, when Chad Pennington led the Jets into Tennessee for a loss

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”)

When I scoured the all-time box scores in the Jets-Titans/Oilers history, I realized that the Jets have only lost once to the Titans since they moved from Houston. Before that, the Oilers absolutely OWNED the Jets, delivering them crushing losses late in seasons and in the playoffs. I have faint memories of this season-ending debacle in 1994, where the playoff hopes of the 8-7 Jets were dashed in a 24-0 loss by backup QB Cody Carlson. In a must-win, the Jets got beat by a guy who sounds like a lax bro. So Jets.

But since they became the Tennessee Titans, it’s been almost all Jets. Remember in 2008, when Brett Favre led the 7-3 Jets into Nashville and beat the undefeated Titans, enrapturing the city in Subway Super Bowl talk? Then in 2009 the surprising 2-0 Jets, behind rookie head coach and rookie QB Mark Sanchez, beat the Titans 24-17 to improve to 3-0 as Jets fans streamed out of Giants Stadium and took to the streets proclaiming “FINALLY, WE HAVE A FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK!!!” Gee how perfectly that all worked out.

However, since we like to revel in self-pity here as Jets fans and on Throwback Thursday, I of course am going to focus on the one loss in Jets’ history against the Tennessee Titans. That came on December 23, 2007. Before we get to it, let’s set the scene…

Billboard No. 1 Song in the U.S.: “No One” by Alicia Keys. How appropriate! That is, if you watched the 12/12/12 Sandy Relief concert last night, where Alicia Keys killed a slowed-down version of this song, the weird “Put your cellphones in the aiiiiiir!” bit notwithstanding. And how about our beloved ass-fumbling QB making making an appearance in Adam Sandler’s “Hallelujah, Sandy Screw Ya” song? Vintage Sandler, by the way. If the recent epic failures of “Jack and Jill” and “That’s My Boy”, coupled with last night’s hilarious song isn’t proof that Sandler should stop making movies and go back to making comedy music albums, I don’t know what is. 

No. 1 Movie in the U.S.: “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”. Is there a bigger injustice in the world than the fact that the current “Oscar for Best Actor” count is Nicolas Cage: 1, Leonardo Di Caprio: 0?  Tell me if you can think of one, because I can’t.

Jets Record Before: 3-11

Titans Record Before: 8-5

The 2007 Jets were absolutely horrific. Injuries, instability at the quarterback position and iffy skill position players put the Jets behind the eight ball from the get-go (sound familiar?!). Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens both started eight games apiece. Despite being injured and playing on a flawed team, Pennington actually put up decent numbers. He threw for an average of 196 yards a game, completing 68% of his passes with 10 TDs and 9 INTs. Can someone please explain to me how 2007-Chad Pennington, with his right arm being held together by paper clips and twine, could throw for the same amount of yards per game than a healthy Mark Sanchez? This should be grounds for Tony Sparano’s firing in and of itself. Wait, you’re telling me that in 2008, Pennington revived his career and led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and a division title under Sparano?! Nothing in my life makes sense anymore.

So in Week 16, Pennington led the Jets into his home state of Tennessee, hoping to hand the playoff-seeking Titans a death blow. Much like I would expect this Monday’s game to be, this one was a defensive struggle (a.k.a: lower than C-SPAN on the Excitement Meter). The first five drives of the game ended with punts. On the Jets’ third possession, Pennington was intercepted by Reynaldo Hill, giving the Titans good field position on the Jets’ 40. They converted it into the game’s first score, a four yard run by Chris Brown (the middling NFL running back, not the Worst Man in America pop star).

After a boring first quarter, Brown’s touchdown seemed to open the game up, if only for a few moments. The Jets responded with what was probably their best drive of the 2007 season. They took over on their own 23, picked up a first down and got to their own 41, setting up a 2nd-and-7. Pennington connected with Jerricho Cotchery for a 48-yard pickup, getting the Jets in scoring position. Two plays later, Pennington and Cotchery hooked up again, this time a 9-yarder for the game-tying touchdown.

Except Mike Nugent’s extra point was BLOCKED. The Titans remained up, 7-6, and Cotchery’s touchdown catch would be the Jets’ last points of the day.

Gang Green seemed poised to take the lead on their next possession, but Pennington was picked off in the end zone by Keith Bulluck. After THE NUGE missed a 51-yarder late in the second quarter, the Jets only had FOUR total possessions in the second half. Those went like this: Punt, Punt, Punt, and on their final drive, Pennington was sacked on fourth down, giving the Titans the ball and the ability to run the clock out. Somewhere along the way, Tennessee picked up a field goal so the final score read Titans 10, Jets 6.

Pennington actually had a pretty good day despite the two bad picks, finishing with 264 yards on 26-of-32 passing. 154 of those yards went to Cotchery. For some perspective, Stephen Hill has 163 yards in the last five games he’s played. But once he learns how to catch, watch out everybody.

This time around, the Jets are the ones clinging to their playoff lives and the Titans are the ones playing spoiler. If Monday’s game plays out just like the 2007 barnburner did but the Jets end up on top, Rex Ryan will be one happy man. As will all of Jets Nation.

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.