It’s been nearly 50 years since the New York Jets won their first and only Super Bowl Title. On that fateful Miami evening, the Jets pulled off one of the greatest upsets sports history as they defeated the Baltimore Colts 16-7 to win the AFL-NFL Championship Game, or as most people view it now as Super Bowl 3. The Colts entered the game as 18-point favorites over their opponents from the American Football League and they were expected to thoroughly dismantle the Jets. But the Jets ruined those plans as they were led by a brash quarterback in Joe Namath who guaranteed victory. Namath would go on to be named as Super Bowl MVP, while his confidence and flamboyance would be the symbol of Jets football during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. However it’s been 42 years since Namath played for the Jets and shockingly the Jets have never been able to replace him.
Since Namath last played for the Jets, New York has had 30 different starting quarterbacks, while they only been able to win 11 playoffs games as another Super Bowl Title has continuously eluded them.
Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles are entering their fourth year with the Jets as general manager and head coach respectively, and it is still hard to figure out what this regime is doing. In three years Maccagnan and Bowles have yet to find themselves a franchise quarterback, and this off-season has only made things more perplexing.
As free agency in the National Football League began earlier this month, the Jets went to the scrap heap to find themselves some help at quarterback by signing both Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater to one-year deals. McCown has 16-years of experience in the National Football League, but he has primarily been a backup. McCown spent last season with the Jets and in 13 starts he was 5-8, while throwing 18 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. Bridgewater was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings back in 2014 and he was expected to be their franchise quarterback. But in the summer of 2016, Bridgewater suffered a torn ACL that kept him out of action for nearly two years. The Vikings didn’t pick up Bridgewater’s option this off-season which allowed him to test free agency as he signed with the Jets. Neither McCown or Bridgewater will be the long-term answer for the Jets at quarterback, but will the remainder of this off-season see them find the solution?
After going 5-11 last season, the Jets were scheduled to select sixth in the upcoming National Football League Draft. But in a bold move the Jets decided to move up in the draft as they made a deal with the Indianapolis Colts to move up to the third slot. The Jets and Colts are swapping first-round picks, while Indianapolis will receive a pair of second-round picks this year as well as one for next year. However you have to ask yourself if this move will be beneficial for the Jets and the answer is no.
In moving up to the third slot in the draft, it is quite evident that the Jets have their eyes on a quarterback, but in the process they sold themselves short. If the Jets wanted to solidify their chances of getting the quarterback that they wanted, they should have gone all the way up to the first selection and made a deal with the Cleveland Browns. Now the Jets will be picking behind the Browns as well as the New York Giants and are at the mercy of each team. The Browns and Giants can get the players that they want, while the option is there for them to make a trade with a team that is willing to move ahead of the Jets. And the cherry on top of this is that the Jets gave up a pair of second-round picks this year as this is a round where teams can still find quality starters.
Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen are expected to be first two quarterbacks selected in this year’s draft, and the Jets are banking on the idea of the Giants selecting running back Saquon Barkley second which will given the opportunity to get their perceived franchise quarterback. However whether the Jets select Rosen, Darnold, or someone else, the deck will be stacked against him.
The Jets first-round pick will be met by a barrage from the New York media and fan base alike as he will be seen as a savior. Immediately the comparisons to Namath will begin, while being that the Jets traded up to select this player, he will be expected to be a starter at some point in the upcoming season. And since Maccagnan and Bowles have failed to get the Jets to the playoffs in their first three years with the franchise, the pressure will be on them to make something happen in 2018 which means that more pressure will be heaped on an unproven rookie quarterback.
But this entire ordeal sums up the Jets franchise in a nutshell as Maccagnan and Bowles are doing now what they should have done in 2015. Generally when a new general manager and head coach take over a franchise, they will make sure to get their hands on a franchise quarterback in order to develop him. In three years the Jets have not drafted a quarterback in the first round, while they selected quarterback Christian Hackenburg in the second round the 2016 National Football League Draft. However Hackenburg has never taken one snap under center for the Jets. And if Hackenburg hasn’t been able to see the field in two years after he was a second-round pick, it doesn’t say that much for him or the Jets organization.
So good luck to Rosen, Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, or any other young quarterback that is selected next month by the Jets as he will be doomed to fail. The Jets don’t have a ton of talent on offense for one of these rookie quarterbacks to work with, and if Macaggnan and Bowles get fired after the upcoming season, the youngster could be left in limbo if a new regime takes over next year.
You have to go back to 2010 to find the last time that the Jets were able to make the playoffs, and missing on this first-round choice will only add to the agony.