The New York Jets won Super Bowl III when I was five. I think it was on in my house but nobody seems to remember. I was aware of it and Joe Namath was my favorite quarterback as a result. As with most kids I thought this kind of winning would continue so the Jets were my team.
As all of us know the Jets haven’t even been back to the Super Bowl since then. It’s a been a long 49 years. There have been some highs but mostly lows and yet I’m still hanging in there.
In 2000, I was at the NFL draft in New York City. The Jets had four picks and one of them was quarterback Chad Pennington. We had just started the website that year and I did an on-location broadcast/podcast with Doug Cataldo. I was pumped. Bill Parcells was the coach, what could go wrong?
As we all know Pennington had shoulder issues that derailed him early on and he gutted it out. He could never throw the long ball and it eventually cost the team in key games. Since then the Jets have been searching for their franchise quarterback.
In 2009, the Jets drafted Mark Sanchez and again there was a spark and some championship game appearances but no trip back to the Super Bowl.
This year’s draft is important. This year’s free agent pool is just as important. If the Jets get Kirk Cousins signed they could be contenders. If not they will continue to build the defense that features, Jamal Adams.
I’m 90% sure the Jets won’t be drafting a quarterback with the sixth overall pick. Christian Hackenberg aside, and Bryce Petty, maybe one of them gets retained and the Jets will draft a quarterback at some point but they will still need a quarterback for the next 2-3 years unless they want to go the route that the Cleveland Browns have chosen and that won’t fly in New York or Northern Jersey.
I’m not looking back with the Jets. I’m trying my best to ignore the past and forget about who the Jets could have drafted. Hope is all I have left. I know I’m not alone. I’m now hoping the same way I would hope the Mets would get better back in 1978 when I was among hundreds at that Opening Day.
I feel like if the Jets get this draft and free agent class wrong, and come up empty, this could cost them for the next decade. There’s nothing to suggest you can win in the NFL without a decent quarterback and right now that’s what they need and continue to search for. The hope is they find one before I die. That gives them a fair amount of time but I know I probably don’t have another 49 years in me.