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“We’re going to win the game. I guarantee it.” Those famous words spoken by Joe Namath prophesized an unlikely championship victory against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts back in 1969. The confidence and bravado that fans were accustomed to from their franchise quarterback was backed up with phenomenal play on both sides of the ball for the New York Jets as they defeated the Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III. This legendary tale represents the highest point in the history of this team.
Fans of Gang Green suffered through many seasons that would be described as mediocre at best following their lone championship season. Owner Woody Johnson is hoping that the present-day team could be the group to turn things around. He is committed to the future of this club, and has chosen to shake things up with a coaching. Todd Bowles was let go after the 4-12 finish in 2018.
Things were a little different, yet the same last season at MetLife Stadium. After the departure of several recognizable faces in the Jets lineup, New York elected to start journeyman quarterback Josh McCown under center. Making the best of what he had in his arsenal, McCown relied on the talents of Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse at wide receiver and Bilal Powell at running back. Demario Davis and Darron Lee led the defensive side of the ball. The resulting record of 5-11 sunk the Jets to the bottom of the divisional standings and outside of the playoffs.
After the season ended, the message coming from the top was clear that the Jets were moving on. The team had been trying to piece together a contender the past few years, but now it was clear that they needed to start over. A healthy draft prior to this season and a few key moves primed the squad for 2018.
The biggest move came when the Jets selected Sam Darnold, a quarterback from USC with the 3rd overall pick. Management clearly has a lot of faith in Darnold and believes that he is the Jets long-term solution under center. McCown has seen his role change to become the backup in addition to serving as a mentor to the young QB. Matt Forte’s retirement led to the signing of Isaiah Crowell from Cleveland. Bilal Powell has formed a formidable running back tandem with Crowell, who is getting the majority of the touches.
The receiving corps played well, with Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson anchoring the position along with Quincy Enunwa. 2018 4th round draft pick Chris Herndon has been a great addition at tight end. He has developed a chemistry with Darnold and serves as an outlet valve for him when the receivers are covered.
However, for all of the changes New York has made, the resulting product on the field has not been very different. Eliminated from playoff contention in 2018, incoming head coach Adam Gase will have their hands full molding their new players into the next generation of New York Jets greats and bringing them back to prominence. With Gase coming over from Miami, the rest of the coaching staff can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel and think that they can turn this franchise around soon.
Legends of the gridiron including Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Joe Klecko, Curtis Martin, and Mark Gastineau have all worn the green and white jersey of the New York Jets. More about the history of the New York Jets can be found by clicking here.