You ever wonder about the origins of the saying, "There but for the grace of God, go I?"
Many make the mistake of thinking it's from the Bible, but it was actually uttered by an English preacher by the name of John Bradford, who was born in 1510.
Also, the line has been slightly tweaked over the years. Bradford's original line was "There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford," which is proof positive that there were people out there referring to themselves in the third person long before American professional athletes in the 21st century.
Anyway, Bradford uttered his famous line when he saw a group of criminals being led to their executions, but if he was around today he just as easily could've been referring to fans of the New York Jets, who, ironically given their location, have been one of the most nondescript, sneakily-terrible franchises in the history of the NFL.
ESPN's Adam Schefter made waves (well, for him) the other day when he suggested that injured Jets corner Darrelle Revis, who's out for the season after tearing his ACL, may be the franchise's all-time best player.
On the surface, it sounds like a preposterous, hyperbolic statement more worthy coming from one of the World Wide Leader's morning muckrakers than a respected reporter such as Schefter. After all, Revis, 27, has only been in the league for six seasons (albeit with four Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro nods).
Surely, Schefter's statement is akin to declaring Patrick Willis the best player in the history of the 49ers, no?
Not so fast. Have you seen the Jets all-time register?
The franchise's iconic player, "Broadway Joe" Namath, was secretly awful.
Namath, who had a losing record as a starter, barely completed over half of his passes, threw 215 interceptions compared to just 170 touchdown passes, and had a career passer rating of 65.8, about 10 points lower than the career mark of one Alex Smith.
Yes, it was a different game when Namath played, where teams threw less and defenders were allowed to mug receivers down the field, but still there's only so much lipstick you can apply to a pig.
Namath made the Hall of Fame largely due to the cult of his personality but also because he backed up his famous guarantee, which he gave to a pocket of reporters off-the-cuff while lounging poolside a couple of days before Super Bowl III, that his Jets would upset the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.
One would think that the legend of Namath was created because he played his best game when it mattered most, giving a heroic effort to deliver the franchise's only title.
Actually, he was just okay, completing 17-of-28 passes for 206 yards, without a touchdown or an interception. The Jets mainly won the game thanks to their defense.
It's difficult to think of a more overrated "superstar" in the history of any team sport, and Namath's election to the Hall of Fame would be like if Atlanta Braves second baseman Mark Lemke got a Cooperstown invite.
You should've been a sex symbol, Lemke.
Aside from Namath, the best bet for the best Jet is probably running back Curtis Martin, who was elected to the Hall of Fame a year ago.
Martin, who retired as the fourth all-time leading rusher in league history with 14,101 yards, wasn't flashy or particularly memorable on or off the field, with durability and endurance probably being his best assets.
He averaged four yards a carry on the nose for his career and wasn't even a Jets draft pick, having spent the first three years of his career as a New England Patriot before signing with New York as a free agent.
Other prominent Jets include a pair of defensive linemen who played in the 80's.
Joe Klecko was one of the dominant nose tackles in the league from 1977-1987, and a four-time Pro Bowler as well as a two-time first-team All-Pro. Klecko has actually gotten some Hall of Fame support from important national writers, including Peter King.
Mark Gastineau is the franchise's all-time leading sacker, with 74, but he had 41 of those over two seasons, 1983-1984, so he wasn't good enough long enough. He was also known as a pretty one-dimensional player, a guy who gleefully ignored the opponent's running game, so hellbent he was on getting to the quarterback.
It'd be one thing if the mostly anonymous, ignominious Jets played in Palookaville hamburgs such as Tampa Bay or Indianapolis, but to exist as they have in New York (well, New Jersey) for over half a century and to continually be as bland, nondescript and hopeless as they've been is quite a feat.
Only eight NFL franchises have a worse all-time winning percentage than the Jets' .461, and two of them, the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers, were expansion teams from 1995 and 2002, respectively.
So yes, the Jets have long been a laughingstock, even if they weren't in on the joke.
Their blustery coach Rex Ryan promised to get back to "ground and pound" football after he mistakenly gave Sanchez too much responsibility last year, only nobody told Ryan that Shonn Greene is the worst starting back in the league.
Last week against Miami, the Jets lined up in a heavy formation, using an extra lineman on 33 offensive snaps, and had a whole 78 yards of offense to show for it on those plays.
Sanchez, meanwhile, has completed 31-of-72 (43 percent) passes the past two games. Against the Dolphins, he targeted seven passes to second-round pick Stephen Hill and missed on all seven.
To recap, the Jets have no Revis, no quarterback, no running back, no pedigree, no history, not many good players past or present, and really no reason whatsoever to expect to beat anyone remotely decent anytime soon.
Your 49ers, on the other hand, have a bunch of cheesed-off players still smarting from last week's upset loss at Minnesota, a coach even grouchier than usual, and a defense who'd love nothing more than to tee off on Tebow just because it might make Skip Bayless cry on live television.
It's true that the Niners will be without nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, which might matter against a team with a credible running game, but this is the Jets, and against a plodder like Greene, Sopoaga's understudy Ricky Jean Francois might as well be Haloti Ngata.
Offensively, both Randy Moss and Vernon Davis expressed dismay that they won't have Revis to compete against, but one suspects that they'll get over their grief by Sunday and turn in fine performances in Revis' honor.
Alex Smith, who didn't have anything notable to say about Revis, will just have to make do throwing to both sides of the field instead of just the right, though at least he'll be charitable enough to not throw anything 15 yards past the line of scrimmage regardless of direction.
As you might guess, it says here the 49ers will win and do so comfortably. When you think about it, "Who's got it better than us?" is just a boastful challenge to "There but for the grace of God go I," anyway.
Week 4 Picks:
San Francisco 23 (-5), New York Jets 13
Detroit 27 (-4), Minnesota 20
Atlanta 30, Carolina 23 (+8)
New England 31 (-5), Buffalo 20
St. Louis 20 (+3), Seattle 17
Houston 27, Tennessee 16 (+13)
Arizona 16, Miami 13 (+6)
Washington 23 (+3), Tampa Bay 17
Week 4 W-L: 1-0 (1-0 Vs. Spread)
2012 W-L: 27-22 (8-8 last week)
2012 Vs. Spread: 21-25-3 (4-11-1 last week)
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