On Nov. 23, 2008, the New York Jets defeated the then-unbeaten Tennessee Titans 34-13 and were set to put the rest of their season into cruise control. Their quarterback was firing on all cylinders, their defense was at the top of its game and Eric Mangini was starting to look like the genius everyone made it out to be.
Then, the next five weeks happened. The Jets went 1-4 after toppling the Titans, with its only victory coming in a 31-27 squeaker against the Buffalo Bills. The passing offense fell apart. As did the defense. In Week 17, Brett Favre's arm basically came undone as it symbolized how quickly the Jets' season fell apart.
But hope springs eternal in the greater New York region as the Jets welcome a new coach, a new defense, a new quarterback and his very attractive lady friend.
However, it just won't be enough to be better than the Chicago Bears, this year's Super Bowl champion.
1. The Ryan Family Coaching Tree. I like Rex Ryan, a lot. From a media member's standpoint, he gives good quotes. From a fan's standpoint, he plays hard-hitting, aggressive defense. From a Southern Illinois University Carbondale alumnus' point of view, he makes me happy because his defense helped former Saluki Bart Scott become a very wealthy man. (P.S. Saluki Way needs your support, Mr. Scott).
Yet, after his father's mediocre run as a head coach, it makes me wonder whether or not young Rex can cut it in the NFL. 55-55-1 won't cut it anywhere, let alone New York City. For every Mike Smith, there's a Butch Davis.
2. Got "Stick 'Em" for your receivers? The Jets have had some pretty good receivers if recent memory serves me correct, for Laveranues Coles, Santana Moss and Jerricho Cotchery have each been pretty good pass catchers in their time. But only Cotchery remains and if you don't count Thomas Jones coming out of the backfield, I'm hard-pressed to be impressed with Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney, Wallace Wright and Huey Whittaker.
Unless one of the role players steps up in a big way (Dustin Keller?), Joe Namath could be slinging the pigskin and it wouldn't matter.
3. Favre is gone, there's no pressure to succeed. As Brett Favre goes, so goes the media circus. Now, who's going to follow the team with the drama queen now out of the picture. Chris Mortensen will no longer be at door steps. John Clayton will no longer be hiding inside trash dumpsters. Sean Salisbury will no longer be showing his junk to cheerleaders.
On second thought, maybe the circus leaving town is a blessing in disguise after all...
4. D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Dude's got the coolest name in all of football, but Jets fans should heed this warning. The last time the media slurped a team because of one player's cool name, Chief Kickingstallionsims and the Alabama State Hornets were one-and-done in the NCAA Tournament.
5. They play in the AFC East. Unless you've been living under a rock, or one of Rick Majerus' chins, the division the Jets play is stacked at the top like Jessica Simpson in a push-up bra. At 10-6, the Patriots didn't even make the playoffs last year. And the Bills will be better until T.O. turns on the team during the playoff stretch.
But if you happen to get stuck with a New York Jet on your fantasy team it better be running back Thomas Jones. Who?
Tomorrow's runner-up to the 2010 Super Bowl Champion Bears: Cincinnati Bengals