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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, under the instruction of head coach Todd Bowles, can restore the team to former glory. After going 10-6 in his first season with the Jets, the defensive minded Bowles has struggled to rally his team in a tough AFC East.
Things were a little different, yet the same last season at MetLife Stadium. Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jets quarterback of the last few seasons, had departed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His backup, Geno Smith, had signed with the New York Giants. So, too, did standout receiver Brandon Marshall. Tight end Kellen Davis and Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold also left the team for free agency. Fans were excited to have back wide receiver Eric Decker, who had been rehabbing an injury and would be one of the only recognizable faces in the lineup. However, he was dealt to the Titans leaving the Jets with a completely new team. Even the Jets defense, previously anchored by Darrelle Revis, needed to find a new leader. Revis signed on with the Kansas City Chiefs.
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 were starting over. A healthy draft this season and a few key moves primed the squad for the new season. However, for all of the changes, the product on the field did not seem to change. Bowles and company had their hands full molding new players into the next generation of New York Jets and bringing them back to prominence. They will continue this process into the 2018 season.
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. Journeyman quarterback Josh McCown took the majority of the snaps for the Jets last season, but will change roles to become the backup in addition to serving as a mentor to the young QB. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell have formed a formidable running back tandem behind him. Forte’s retirement led to the signing of Isaiah Crowell from Cleveland. Additionally, Powell will have an added workload for the upcoming season. The receiving corps played well, with Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson standing out from the rest. Terrelle Pryor Sr. looks to add another dimension to the group, signing with Gang Green in the off-season.
The defense, with names like Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, and newcomer Jamal Adams are working to get the rest of the roster up to speed. Adding to the young backfield is Marcus Maye at Safety, hoping to improve upon a strong rookie campaign.
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.