Why I Like The NY Jets

Patrick AntonettiContributor IMay 12, 2009

SEPTEMBER - 1988:  Defensive end Mark Gastineau #99 of the New York Jets looks on from the sidelines during a game circa September of 1988.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

As long as I can remember, I have been a Jet fan.  My dad and brother are Giant fans as well as some of my childhood friends.  Most of my other friends from my hometown were either 49er or Cowboy fans.  How can you blame them?  Those teams have a history of winning.  But not me.  I was the lone Jet fan.  It was not until I got to college where I became friends with other Jet fans.  I knew they were out there but I just did not know any of them.

Now we can look back at the careers of some greats that called The Meadowlands home and so many players come to mind.  Marc Gastineau was my guy.  That 1984 season in which he broke the single season sack record will go down as one of my favorites as I used to always argue with my Giant fans that Gastineau was better than LT and I had that record to back it up.

Finally, that next season the Jets made the playoffs.  I knew what it felt like to be a 49er fan or a Cowbowys fan.  I have seen my team in the playoffs. Little did I know that it would take them until the following season to make it to the next round.

The 1986 Jets suffered a heartbreaking loss to the hands of Bernie Kosar and the Cleveland Browns but I felt the team made improvements and were on their way to winning.  Too bad it took them another five years to make the playoffs again.

With a quarterback combo of Ken O'Brien and Pat Ryan, I felt one of them would emerge as a top one.  I always favored Pat Ryan for some reason, even though O'Brien made the Pro Bowl.  I liked the combination of Pro Bowler Freeman McNeil and Johnny Hector at running back.

At receiver was the awesome combination of Al Toon and Wesley Walker.  I thought the two of them were a threat on every pass.  With Mickey Shuler at tight end, rounded out a perfect combination for me on every drive.

I was not only impressed with the offense.  It was the defense that I felt was dominating.  I was hoping for a sack by Gastineau on every play just to see that famous Sack Dance.  Gastineau, along with Joe Klecko, Marty Lyons, and Abdul Saalam made up The New York Sack Exchange.  It was a fun time being a Jet fan.

Even with a bleak next five years, I never gave up on my team.  I always liked their free agent pickups.  Whether it be Boomer Esiason, Vinny Testaverde, or Brett Favre I always felt they were the right men to lead the Jets.

I was never upset at any of their draft picks either.  From Blair Thomas to Keyshawn Johnson to Chad Pennington I still kept on rooting.

I am too young to have seen Joe Namath but hope one day the right combination will once again lead the New York Jets to become Super Bowl Champions.