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12 Weeks In 37 Years


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Brett_Favre12 weeks in 37 years. There have only been 12 weeks in my life as a New York Jets fan that I really got to enjoy truly great quarterback play. They were the first 12 weeks of the 2008 season and Brett Favre was playing the position like I had never seen a Jet play it my entire life. It was the only time that I ever felt confident that we were going to win, no matter who we were playing and no matter where we were playing, because we had a truly great quarterback.

We’ve been teased throughout my life. The first of those teases came from a certain Alabama alum – you guessed it – Mr. Richard Todd. In 1981, during his sixth year in the league and his third as the unchallenged starter, Todd seemed to finally be turning the corner. He threw 25 TDS against only 13 INT (great numbers for that era) and led the Jets to a 10-5-1 record after an 0-3 start and their first playoff appearance in more than a decade (and the first of my lifetime.) In the strike shortened 1982 season he was actually even a little better, leading the Jets to a 6-3 record and an improbable playoff run that sadly ended in the AFC Championship Game in Miami (don’t get me started.) But the Jets drafted Kenny O’Brien in the first round of the 1983 draft and Mr. Todd did not respond as one would like. In 1983 the man imploded and played like a guy who knew his days were numbered.

We actually didn’t wait long for the 2nd tease. Kenny O’Brien’s first full season as the Jets starter in 1985 was probably the most promising we’ve ever seen. The guy led the team to an 11-5 record (the most wins in a single year since 1968,) led the league in passer rating and he went to the Pro-Bowl. Who cares if we got bounced in the Wild Card round? We had a 25-year-old QB who looked AWESOME.

1986 pretty much brought more of the same. Kenny led the team on an amazing 9 game winning streak and a return trip to the playoffs. A minor injury late in the year kept him out for the Wild Card win over the Chiefs but he returned the following week to lead the team to perhaps their most disappointing playoff loss of my life – a loss that led to my Grandfather being restrained from beating up Joe Walton in a bar in Puerto Rico, but that’s a story for a different time.

After that, Kenny was never really the same. It was like someone reminded him he was a Division II guy who was probably lucky to be drafted in the first round and he bought into it. He never threw more than 15 TDs in a year after that.

The next 10 years was the worst. We sat through the decline of O’Brien, the disaster that was Browning Nagle and the comedy of errors of the Boomer Esiason/Bubby Brister/Frank Reich/ Glenn Foley/Ray Lucas/Neil O’Donnell era.  And then the next beacon of hope was provided by the unlikeliest of sources…

At the start of the 1998 season, Bill Parcells actually seemed content to start the season with Glenn Foley as his starter, which most of us thought was a great idea since Foley’s backup was the unmitigated mega-bust known as Vinny Testaverde. Lord help us if Vinny has to play.

Well guess what? In weeks 1-2, Foley was significantly worse than any of us thought Vinny would even be capable of being. Testaverde got the start in week 3 and was magnificent, tossing 4 TDs in our first win of the year. In week 4, he was even better, throwing for nearly 300 yards and 3 more TDs with no picks in a win over the Pats. And then guess what happened? Friggin’ Parcells brought Foley back and he was terrible. So bad in fact that benching him for Vinny in the 2nd half wasn’t good enough to give us the win over a Rams team that only won four games that year. Vinny was made full time starter the following week and had the best season we had ever seen a Jet QB have since well… ever. Even Namath never did anything like throw 29 TDs against only 7 INTs.

But sadly, like with all Jets QBs, it couldn’t last. It was unrealistic to even believe it would. Vinny was 35 years old after all. Vinny would remain as starter for the next few years after coming back from his Achilles injury. But the next time we would see inspired QB play the likes what Vinny did in 1998 would be by another first round tease – James Chadwick Pennington.

Pennington is perhaps the most frustrating of all Jets QBs. Anyone who says he didn’t play brilliantly in 2002 is insane. The guy was amazing. He was fearless. He made throws he was never supposed to be able to make. He fit passes into tiny windows and put them in places where only his receivers could catch them and for a guy who didn’t have the strongest arm in the world he was remarkably accurate on deep throws. And then came the Raiders game.

Raiders DC Chuck Bresnahan is not a household name. He didn’t have a particularly notable NFL coaching career. But the guy figured out exactly how to stop Chad Pennington and Pennington was never as effective again as he was prior to that day. He played some good football. He even led the Jets back to the postseason in 2004 and again 2006. But he was never the same. The guy who went into New England on a Sunday night in December and played circles around Tom Brady disappeared. I don’t think he ever beat a top 10 defense again after that. And keep in mind, he didn’t have his first shoulder surgery until February of 2005.

Favre thankfully supplanted Pennington in 2008 and played like a god until his own shoulder gave out in week 13. He “retired” again for a few weeks after that season and the Jets moved on to the butt fumbling Mark Sanchez – we all know how that worked out. I know I said some very nice things about Sanchez early on but most of that was just me wanting him to be the guy so badly. Let’s face it, he was terrible.

Which brings us to Geno. Geno wasn’t good last year. As a matter of fact, through the first 12 weeks he downright stunk. Sure he flashed here and there but he was only consistent at being inconsistent. He improved dramatically after his benching and led the Jets to wins in 3 of their final 4 games and played pretty well doing it. They actually won those games because of Geno.

But realistically, I don’t have much of a reason to believe in him, except that I am a Jets fan and the hope of finding our guy is one of those things that keeps me coming back year after year. I have no faith in Michael Vick. Forget about his off field shenanigans, I just think he’s a guy who’s never realized his potential because he always relied on his athleticism and now, at 34, he can’t rely on that so much and he’s never bothered to learn to really be a quarterback.

If Vick starts at any point this season, I think we’re in huge trouble. Because it will mean only one of two things – Geno is hurt or worse, Geno wasn’t good enough. Which will mean we will all want the Jets to lose enough to get us a good enough draft pick so we can try to find the guy again next year.

I want this search to be over. I want Geno to be the guy. I implore you, football Gods, make Geno the guy.

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Vinny in 98 was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than Favre in 08, not even close.

 

C'mon, a punt-like chuck & duck landing in Stuckey's hands trumps on-target throws to the 2 WRs who finished #1 and #2 in the league 3rd down receptions.  From a L.I. guy playing QB like his hero, as opposed to someone who was here merely as a bridge to get to where he actually wanted to go, in Minnesota.

 

At least we get to reminisce about Mangini making him take laps after throwing picks in practice.  Lol I'm sure that went over just great with Favre.

 

The Arizona game was fun, though, until that meathead Eric Smith broke Boldin's jaw in garbage time.

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Vinny in 98 was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than Favre in 08, not even close.

 

 

What JFIC said

 

 

C'mon, a punt-like chuck & duck landing in Stuckey's hands trumps on-target throws to the 2 WRs who finished #1 and #2 in the league 3rd down receptions.  From a L.I. guy playing QB like his hero, as opposed to someone who was here merely as a bridge to get to where he actually wanted to go, in Minnesota.

 

At least we get to reminisce about Mangini making him take laps after throwing picks in practice.  Lol I'm sure that went over just great with Favre.

 

The Arizona game was fun, though, until that meathead Eric Smith broke Boldin's jaw in garbage time.

 

You guys are all missing the point. Vinny was more enjoyable than Favre, no doubt. But even when Vinny was playing his best football in 98 you were still fearful that Interceptaverde would rear his ugly head. 

 

That 12 week stretch with Favre was the only time in my lifetime where heading into every game I felt like we had a 75% or better chance of winning. There was confidence that this guy could make it happen. 

 

I want what Colts fans got to experience with Manning, what Pats fans have experienced with Brady, what 49ers fans experienced with Montana and Young. 

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You guys are all missing the point. Vinny was more enjoyable than Favre, no doubt. But even when Vinny was playing his best football in 98 you were still fearful that Interceptaverde would rear his ugly head. 

 

That 12 week stretch with Favre was the only time in my lifetime where heading into every game I felt like we had a 75% or better chance of winning. There was confidence that this guy could make it happen. 

 

I want what Colts fans got to experience with Manning, what Pats fans have experienced with Brady, what 49ers fans experienced with Montana and Young. 

 

Maybe you were but I wasn't. Hell, one of Vinny's 7 picks was a last-play-before-halftime hail mary pass that counts on paper but meant nothing.  

 

He was awesome in '98, and '98 was a more enjoyable season once he came in there than with Favre (with the exception of the Arizona game).

 

I am surprised anyone felt Favre was doing much more than going through the motions.  He acted like he didn't care about anything and I was infinitely more fearful of a pick from Favre than from Vinny, even before the injury.  Some of the non-picks - like the one to Stuckey that I referenced - was just dumb luck.  Mark Sanchez has thrown a thousand better passes than that.

 

Favre '08 was ridiculously more careless with the ball than Testaverde '98.  That Arizona game was the only game in a 5-game stretch where he didn't throw 2-3 interceptions.  And that stretch was before he messed up his shoulder.

 

I have no choice but to believe that you watched the Jets in neither season.

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Maybe you were but I wasn't. Hell, one of Vinny's 7 picks was a last-play-before-halftime hail mary pass that counts on paper but meant nothing.  

 

He was awesome in '98, and '98 was a more enjoyable season once he came in there than with Favre (with the exception of the Arizona game).

 

I am surprised anyone felt Favre was doing much more than going through the motions.  He acted like he didn't care about anything and I was infinitely more fearful of a pick from Favre than from Vinny, even before the injury.  Some of the non-picks - like the one to Stuckey that I referenced - was just dumb luck.  Mark Sanchez has thrown a thousand better passes than that.

 

Favre '08 was ridiculously more careless with the ball than Testaverde '98.

 

Fine and good. Its still not the point of the article. 

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Fine and good. Its still not the point of the article.

 

Hey, you brought it up, dookie breath.

 

I disagree that there were only 12 weeks with great QB play and it was Favre.  It may have been only 12 weeks with an all-time great QB (while he was healthy), but that's not what the article said.

 

Truth is not only was Vinny '98 better than Favre '08, but he was better by a lot.  And frankly, so was Pennington '02 (until the playoff game in Oakland).  Way better than Favre was with the Jets, by a considerable margin, and while I'm far from a Pennington lover, he was awesome in '02.  That awesome season ended with the Raiders manhandling him in week 19; Favre's ended with a torn shoulder in week 12; each ended, but Pennington's season lasted longer. 

 

So while I'll freely agree that as a Jets fan that seeing great QB play hasn't exactly been commonplace.  But I disagree that the only time you've seen it was the first 12 games of 2008.  You may have been starstruck by his obvious presence, but Favre was not great in any way in 2008.  He had a handful of good games and the last 3 up to and including beating up the undefeated Titans I loved having him here.  Then reality set in.  Then you look back in hindsight and realize he had some good games, had a bunch of bad ones, and a couple that seem good on paper but weren't (like opening day with the Stuckey TD I referenced).  

 

He did not play like a god.  There have been multiple seasons you've seen better QB play. 

 

And I hope Geno is going to be great also.  All I saw from him was some improvement the last month.  He's going to need to be better than that, though, because even though his stats were good, he still missed some pretty easy plays due to not seeing it, not seeing it fast enough, or not hitting his man.  All can be improved with experience.  Unlike Sanchez, who was wild in every direction, Geno seemed to be "only" behind his receivers on a high percentage of his misfires.  It says to me that once things slow down for him mentally, he can be on target (though it doesn't mean he will be).  His predecessor will never be good because you can't fix too high, too low, too ahead, too behind, too hard, too soft; all this on top of a rookie-like pocket presence after more than 4 NFL seasons.  There's still plenty of hope for Geno, though.  First let's see him win the starting job over anyone not named Matt Simms.

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LOL where do you come up with this stuff?

 

Ken O'Brien was lights out the first 10 games of 1986. if it wasnt for the Jets horrendous O Line at the end of that season (and the refs letting Andre Tippet pile drive obrien into the ground without calling a penalty) and that ****i9ng gastineau roughing Kosar when the Jets had the playoff game won. the Jets may have very well beaten Denver and the Giants in the super bowl.

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Vinny in 98 was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than Favre in 08, not even close.

 

 

there was also that one year with o'brien

 

 

edit: i see some people already mentioned o'brien

 

 

the one common theme with the one year of o'brien, one year of testaverde and partial year with favre? it didnt last and it ended with a complete meltdown

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Vinny in 98 was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than Favre in 08, not even close.

Favre got hurt against Oakland and was never himself after that. I agree that Vinny in 1998 was awesome. Problem with O'Brien is the Jets drafted poorly on the OL with Dave Cadigan and Haight taken in the first round in back-to-back years. O'B was far from mobile and had a hard time with Walton's offense and the fact that the Jets had no real burner opposite Wesley Walker. Jets always have done well with late round OL's like Joe Fields, Dan Alexander, Jim Sweeney, Cal Dixon, Supe Malamala and Dwayne White.

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Don't think Farve played so great for us. I much more enjoy seeing homegrown guys (guys we drafted) than guys on their last legs like Farve was. Pennington gave us some great years. Todd sucked and OBrien was at fault for being a total statue. Vinny was fun to root for. He didn't come to us used up like Farve, and he made a career comeback and vindication with us. The guy had a gun, and I still remember that playoff game against Denver where I thought we might take it, until the second half came started...

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You guys are all missing the point. Vinny was more enjoyable than Favre, no doubt. But even when Vinny was playing his best football in 98 you were still fearful that Interceptaverde would rear his ugly head. 

 

That 12 week stretch with Favre was the only time in my lifetime where heading into every game I felt like we had a 75% or better chance of winning. There was confidence that this guy could make it happen. 

 

I want what Colts fans got to experience with Manning, what Pats fans have experienced with Brady, what 49ers fans experienced with Montana and Young. 

I understand your point and I agree. That was an epic first 12 weeks. I remember like it was yesterday when we broke the Titans 10 game winning streak to go 8-3. I don't ever recall another year that I seen the Jets with an 8-3 record. It may have happened but it was so damn long ago I just can't recall it off the top of my head like I do that 2008 season. After we beat the 10-0 Titans I really in my heart thought that the Jets was going to the Super Bowl, like SERIOUSLY going to the Super Bowl. Then, like we all should have known would happen, they end the season 1-4 losing to Chad Pennington's Miami Dolphins and their kitty cat offense. 

 

That year was like the gift and the curse. It was the best of times, and the worst of times lol. Those first 12 weeks were epic though. 

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