In a year where the Chicago Cubs ended their ‘Curse of the Billy Goat,’ the New York Jets are no closer to the cessation of their own personal journey through the wilderness. In fact, they may be further away from the Super Bowl then at any time in the past decade.
The argument could be made that it is even worse than that and that the team is as rudderless as it has ever been.
All of which brought several dozen Jets fans together at the now infamous Lot L7 tailgate on Sunday. The fans chose to “exorcise” the demons of their own past prior to a heart-wrenching home loss to the New England Patriots. And the exorcism had a very New England flavor to it.
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This is a New England franchise, after all, that had been through its own personal hell prior for much of its existence to the 2000 season. And their recent fortunes have come at the expense of the Jets, who saw a Hall of Fame head coach slip through their fingers in embarrassing fashion.
The fans chose to burn a mocked-up version of the note that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick scrawled on a napkin prior to a press conference where he was supposed to be announced as the next head coach of the Jets in 2000. Instead, Belichick went on to win four Super Bowls with the Patriots and has his team headed for yet another AFC East title. He cited his lack of comfort with the direction of the Jets as his reason to resign.
The other item offered up as a sacrifice to the football gods was a photo of Mo Lewis, the former Jets linebacker, who infamously injured former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe. The hit ushered in the Tom Brady era and now Brady and Belichick are arguably the best quarterback-head coach duo in NFL history.
At the tailgate, the fans dropped the mock resignation note from Belichick and a photo of the Bledsoe hit into a bucket. The contents of the bucket were then ignited and the fans did a ceremonial drink.
On Sunday, Brady got career win No. 200, tied for most all-time. The Jets sunk to 8-8, ensuring that they won’t have a winning record for the fifth time since they went 11-5 in the 2010 season. It is also the last time that the Jets have made the playoffs, something they’ve done just six times since 2000.
The Patriots have made the playoffs 13 times since hiring Belichick and are primed for another appearance this season, likely as the top seed in the AFC.