These Ain't Your Daddy's Jets

Andrew WeaverCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2009

Next time you’re around a Jets fan, ask them to describe their feelings on the 2008 season in three words or less. Call me psychic, but I predict you will hear one, if not all, of these words: same, old, or Jets.

To most Jets fans, these words are uttered on an annual basis, at minimum. What does “same old Jets” mean, you ask? Well, let me put it this way. Let’s say you have a big family that gets together every year at Thanksgiving, and every year your Uncle Ted shows up and gives you a “noogie".  

Now, Uncle Ted has been loyal to this ritual since you were five years old. To him, it “wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a good ol’ noogie.”  Every year you hold out thinking this might be the year Uncle Ted doesn’t embarrass you and actually treats you like the mature, mid-20's professional that you are.

Well, like kegs at a frat party, the Uncle Ted noogie is a given year after year after year.

Being a Jets fan is kind of like that.

Only, the noogie lasts about five months…at least.

Since the Bill Parcells era and about 30 years prior, the Jets have been a pretty sorry excuse for an NFL team. With a historical winning percentage below .500, the Jets franchise hasn’t had much success or accomplishments to hang their hats on. 

Super Bowl III is the highlight for the franchise with Joe Namath guaranteeing victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. The Jets followed through and completed the upset in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played. Aside from that, there isn’t too much to talk about.

Why has the franchise been marred by years of expectation followed by disappoint?  Well, it could be a result of putting the wrong guy in the driver’s seat.

After Bill Parcells “retired” from being the Jets head coach, and after Bill Belichick (the Jets' defensive coordinator under Parcells) pulled a Benedict Arnold on the Jets, two head coaches with questionable experience were put in place over the course of eight years. Forget about Al Groh for now.

Herman Edwards and Eric Mangini certainly had some differences from a coaching perspective, but one thing they had in common was a lack of ability to build a consistent winner. 

Another commonality between the two coaches was their knack for giving Jets fans recurring reasons to clamor that three-word phrase after questionable play-calls, losses, and season collapses (see 2008).

With the hiring of Rex Ryan, Jets nation once again has hope.

Ryan comes to the Jets with not only a decade’s worth of experience constructing one of the most dominant defenses of this generation in the Baltimore Ravens. He also comes with a family tie as well.

His father, former Eagles and Cardinals head coach Buddy Ryan, served on the coaching staff of the Super Bowl III Champion Jets.

Maybe this is a sign.

Buddy Ryan, known primarily as a defensive specialist and innovator, invented the "46” Defense, which was used exclusively by the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears

Rex, following in the footsteps of his father, is also recognized for his innovative thinking on the football field. In addition, he has been responsible for building and directing the most feared defense in the NFL. Known for using individual players strength’s in his defensive schemes, Rex Ryan’s philosophy may be just what the Jets need to build a consistent winner.

Yes, he is a former defensive coordinator with next to no head coaching experience, but his bloodline and resume are stronger than most. Plus, the product he has put on the field speaks for itself.

Some accuse Ryan of being too much of a “player’s coach". To believers of that sentiment, please refer to Joe Torre and most recently, Tom Coughlin. They seemed to do OK under that label.

In addition, the Jets have a number of veteran leaders like Thomas Jones, Kris Jenkins, and Alan Faneca who understand what it takes to win and can set examples for younger teammates. 

Working with a player-oriented, defensive-minded innovator like Rex Ryan could be just what the New York Jets need to find that identity they have lacked for quite some time.

The Jets team that Rex Ryan is inheriting has not shown many similarities to the Super Bowl winners his father Buddy coached in the late 60’s, but the new Ryan in town is hoping to fix that.

For years, Jets fans have been picked up only to be thrown down a short time thereafter. It’s been the “same old” story. 

Hiring Rex Ryan shows a commitment to trying something “different” and “new”.  The Jets’ franchise is hoping Ryan can exercise some Super Bowl ghosts and show Jets fans why they should throw their three-word phrase away for good. 

After all, Rex did say he plans on meeting President Obama in his first term.