The New York Jets are not good at football. They haven’t been good at football in many, many seasons. And their demise from playoff runs to statistically one of the worst teams in the league did not happen overnight.
So where did things go wrong? How did a team on the brink of being perennial playoff contenders fall to such mediocrity, and ultimately inferiority?
Could it be bad juju from the get-go? The fact that the New York Titans never eclipsed a .500 season? Unlikely. After the fall of Mark Sanchez and the firing of Rex Ryan, things have never been the same. As The Football Flies: The New York Jets Story is a football soap opera/docuseries on the rise and downfall of the New York Jets to see how exactly we’ve gotten to chasing 0-16.
2009: New York Jets Draft “The Sanchize”
It’s the 2009 NFL Draft. After Matthew Stafford is taken off the board first overall, the Jets are sitting with the 5th overall pick. Mark Sanchez, the man out of USC is sitting right there. Highest completion percentage in the PAC-10, most passing yards in the PAC-10, most passing touchdowns in the PAC-10, most total yards in the PAC-10, and most touchdowns responsible for the in PAC-10 among other accolades. The 6’2” Californian would be coming to The Big Apple. Or East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Under new head coach Rex Ryan, Gang Green would go 9-7, which was good enough the finish second in the AFC East, and secure a Wildcard spot. This came predominately off the shoulders of the number one defense in the NFL that year. Whereas the Jets offense finished 17th in the league in terms of points per game (21.8), the defense finished first in the league (14.8). Three Pro-Bowlers on the offensive line (Ferguson, Faneca, Mangold), and two on the defensive side (Ellis, Revis).
However, experts had predicted this team to go 11-5 that season. The 9-7 fell short of expectations, and as such, the team ran through the playoff race. They would go to Cincinnati and beat the Bengals in the Wild Card, 24-14. Next, it was San Diego, where the Jets would edge out Philip Rivers and Ladanian Tomlinson (remember that name) 17-14. The team, who snuck into the playoffs, would ultimately be sent home by Peyton Manning‘s Colts. They would go on the lose the Super Bowl to one of the other greatest QB’s of time in Drew Brees.
Side note: the 2009 NFL season would also catapult Darrelle Revis into every household that watched football in America. During this time, “Revis Island” would be born after posting one of the most, if not singlehandlely dominate seasons by a cornerback in League history. Some of the greatest wide receivers in recent memory would face #24, and all of them would disappear.
- Andre Johnson would post 4 receptions on 7 targets for a grand total of 35 yards. This would be the most yards Revis Island would allow all season.
- In the first meeting of the Jets/Patriots divisonal rivalry, Randy Moss would be held to 4 receptions on 7 targets for 24 yards, while Revis would intercept Brady once.
- Against the future Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, Marques Colston would be held to 2 receptions on 6 targets for 33 yards.
- Against Buffalo the first matchup, Terrell Owens would be reduced to 3 receptions on 8 targets for 13 yards. His longest catch that day was 11 yards.
- Against Jacksonville, Torry Holt would be targeted 6 times, catch 2 balls, and total 24 yards.
- Back against New England, Randy Moss would record 5 receptions on a whopping 11 targets for 34 yards and one touchdown.
- In a bouncback win against Carolina, the legendary trash talker Steve Smith Sr. would catch only one ball on 6 targets for 5 yards. Darrelle Revis would intercept Jake Delhomme twice this game.
- In a revenge game against the Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills, Terrell Owens would get another 3 receptions, this time on 9 targets for 31 yards. Revis would notch another INT.
- During a 37-0 blowout against the Bengals to get the Jets into the playoffs, Chad Ochocinco would be disappear entirely, zero receptions on 4 targets.
The New York Jets hadn’t been to an AFC Championship since 1998. The 2009 season was a welcome relief and a sign of good things to come. Is it possible that the Jets drafted the future of the team? There were a few missing pieces, and maybe, just maybe if the team could solidify the chemistry, and allow Rex Ryan to really get into his roll, the follow up to Broadway Joe could be near in the future.