Take it from one who knows about sports curses: This Jets thing is real.
As you all know by now, Jets quarterback/savior Aaron Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon in the opening minutes of “Monday Night Football” and is lost for the season.
The Most Jets Thing Ever.
Rodgers was supposed to take the Jets back to the Promised Land for the first time since Joe Willie Namath won a Super Bowl for them in 1969. But Rodgers didn’t stick around long enough to complete a single pass. It was another in a long line of “only the Jets” moments.
It reminded me a little of that night in Cleveland in 2017 when brand-new Celtic Gordon Hayward broke his leg in his sixth minute of action in the first game of the season. Unlike the 2023 Jets, that stunning injury did not end the team’s season. Those Celtics still had Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and (gulp) Kyrie Irving.
It’s different for these Jets. Rodgers was the face of the Jets franchise. He was the biggest sports star in New York since … Derek Jeter? The Jets’ acquisition of the four-time MVP was a bigger New York sports story than Aaron Judge’s march to 62 homers in 2022.
Rodgers gave the Jets hope. He gave New York football hope. And then, in a period of 24 hours, the Giants lost to the Cowboys, 40-0, and the 39-year-old Rodgers was lost for the season.
NFL scoopmeister Adam Schefter wrote, “Aaron Rodgers’ torn Achilles might be the most devastating injury to a team and fan base in NFL history. There has never been a player who received more off-season hype, who raised another team’s expectations more, who had his season end 4 plays in without ever completing a pass.”
Aaron Rodgers’ torn Achilles might be the most devastating injury to a team and fan base in NFL history. There never has been a player who received more off-season hype, who raised another team’s expectations more, who had his season end 4 plays in without ever completing a pass.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 12, 2023
Boomer Esiason, a former Jets quarterback, now a commentator on New York sports radio’s WFAN, opened his Tuesday program with, “Yeah, I’m sick to my stomach, man.”
At Caesars Sportsbook, the odds of the Jets winning the Super Bowl were 16-1 before Monday’s game. Those odds are now 50-1.
In many ways, the Jets Experience is worse than what Red Sox fans endured in the Curse of the Bambino years from 1918-2004. Red Sox Nation endured lots of bad luck and some ghoulish near-misses, but those teams were stocked with stars and were almost always in the hunt after the magical summer of 1967.
The Jets Experience is more like what the Chicago Cubs endured before finally winning a World Series in 2016. It’s the experience of being annually bad. A laughingstock. Like the Cleveland Browns or the Detroit Lions.
The Jets are forever a clown show. They gave us crazy-eyes coach Adam Gase. They gave us Mark Sanchez’s buttfumble, Rex Ryan’s wife’s feet, and Namath’s woozy attempt to kiss ESPN’s Suzy Kolber on national television. The Jets lost starting QB Vinny Testaverde (ruptured Achilles’) on opening day in 1999. In January of 2000, the Jets named Bill Belichick head coach, only to gasp in horror a day later when Bill handed them a scrap of paper telling them he was resigning as “HC of the NYJ.” In 1983, the Jets selected quarterback Ken O’Brien when Dan Marino was still available.
Comic genius Larry David spoke to his life as a Jets fan in a 2020 segment of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
In the fictional episode, Larry regularly watches the Jets with a character named Carl and one day gets a call informing him that Carl has died by suicide. When Larry is told that Carl left a note that read, “I can’t take any more disappointment,” Larry seizes the moment, exclaiming, “That’s what he used to say when we’d watch the Jets games together! … And they just kept losing and it kept eating at him and eating at him and he just — he couldn’t take anymore disappointment! The Jets killed Carl!”
Since Namath threw his last pass for New York in 1976, the Jets have started 37 different quarterbacks, including Richard Todd, Marty Domres, Tony Eason, Bubby Brister, Neil O’Donnell, Glenn Foley, Chad Pennington, Brett Favre, Michael Vick, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Darnold, Joe Flacco, and Zach Wilson, who will start in place of Rodgers against the mighty Cowboys Sunday.
Darnold is the one who famously said, “I’m seeing ghosts out there,” when he came to the sideline trailing the Patriots, 24-0, on “Monday Night Football” in 2019.
The ghosts were back at MetLife Stadium Monday, haunting Rodgers.
The Most Jets Thing Ever.