The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, December 15, 2008
The Days The Jets' Dream Died
In the decade before the arrival of Bill Parcells, the Jets had one winning season and played one playoff game.
In the nine years since Parcells resigned as head coach, the Jets have not been nearly as bad as during the later Joe Walton years or the Bruce Coslet, Pete Carroll and R*ch Kot*te years.
They have had six winning seasons since Parcells left, and have gone to the playoffs four times - and can of course make it five with two more wins.
And as a result, Jets fans have been lulled to sleep and become relatively complacent about the fact that the Jets' Super Bowl chances are remote.
Parcells was all about winning a Super Bowl. During his tenure, it was clear that was the goal. In 1998, he almost made it happen.
Sitting in traffic on the way home from Sunday's game, my mind flashed back to the end of the Parcells era.
Y2K had come and quietly gone without mass computer crashes. The next day, superfeldman and I (it was not a fast day) watched the Jets win the 1999 season finale to finish at 8-8 after a 1-6 start.
Parcells would not commit to returning during his post-game press conference, though most expected him to be back for one last season, reasoning that he would not want to quit after '99 was ruined by Vinny Testaverde's injury in Week 1.
Anyway, even if Parcells left, we were assured that Bill Belichick would take over and would retain Parcells' staff, including Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel - who would be promoted to defensive coordinator.
The day after the '99 season ended, I made my first visit to LA. I immediately liked the warm January air, the palm trees leaving LAX, and the valleys and mountains on 405 North that remind me of Israel.
I pulled into the driveway of my friend's Encino home when I heard the news: Parcells had resigned. Belichick was taking over and would appear at a press conference the next day.
The news was very disappointing, but I had a good feeling about Belichick, despite his prior failures as a head coach.
The next day, I hung out at Venice Beach, at the Santa Monica Pier, and in Pico-Robertson. After dinner, I drove to the Staples Center, where the Clippers were hosting the Lakers.
Staples was brand new, and even my LA friends were excited to be there. Standing outside the arena, I for some reason called my friend in New York. I asked him whether Belichick had anything interesting to say during his press conference.
He asked in amazement, "You didn't hear?" and proceeded to provide the sordid details.
The thing is, it still didn't seem so bad. On the next Sunday, just before I went home, I watched Keyshawn Johnson being interviewed on a playoff pre-game show. He was full of optimism about the future of the Jets. With Vinny back, they'd be contenders in 2000, he said.
Keyshawn never played another game for the Jets. Whether or not the trade was a good one on paper (debatable, though I think not), severing the team from their emotional leader was ultimately the wrong move for the Jets - and bad for Johnson too.
Nine years (and six southern California trips) later, listening yesterday to Eric Mangini talk about how "pleased" he was with the win epitomized what's been wrong with the Jets since Parcells quit.
Post-Parcells, the goal has been to make the playoffs, and the Jets have actually met that goal relatively often.
They are not the Detroit Lions. But their chances of winning a Super Bowl aren't that much higher than the Lions'.
It's true, Parcells didn't win a Super Bowl in New England, or here, or in Dallas. But what he did do is instill the understanding that a championship can be the only goal.
Parcells' draft record was mixed and the Johnson trade a mistake, but he left the Jets with some talent. Vinny Testaverde and Chad Pennington at QB. Curtis Martin at RB. Richie Anderson at FB. Laveranues Coles and Wayne Chrebet at WR. A solid offensive line led by Kevin Mawae, Randy Thomas and Jason Fabini. On defense, a core of Shaun Ellis, John Abraham, Jason Ferguson, Aaron Glenn, Mo Lewis and Marvin Jones.
Herm Edwards took away the recognition that a Super Bowl was what the Jets needed to shoot for. His teams were not the most talented in the NFL, but they had enough talent that when opportunities arose, an elite coach would have taken advantage. Had Herm not been the coach, would the 2002 Jets' run have stalled against Oakland? Would the 2004 Jets have managed to blow the Pittsburgh game?
Mangini, to his credit, actually does know what the real goal is, but just doesn't seem to have the staff or the credibility with his players to make it a real possibility. He doesn't have Belichick's football mind, or Parcells' dominating personality that forces players to play hard every week. He has reason to be concerned about his job security and probably can't afford to express lofty goals like winning a Super Bowl.
This year, with New England decimated by injuries and with the Jets having avoided injury to key players, the Jets actually are the most talented team in the AFC East. Where would they be with the best coaching?
We really have no idea. And that's the problem with the post-Parcells Jets.