Love Hurts: The Life Of a Jets Fan

Carl Wronski Contributor IMay 29, 2009

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 12:  Kicker Doug Brien #6 of the New York Jets attempts to score off a hold by punter Toby Gowin #4 during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 12, 2004 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers won 17-7. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

My love of the New York Jets is a complex and confusing dependence that can be explained no more then it can be controlled. By all logic and regard for my own well-being, I should detach myself from the gang green and leave the misery in the Meadowlands. But, like a disillusioned victim of an abusive spouse, I put up with the constant pain with the hope that things well get better.

Like many others who bleed green and white, I often feel the bad times outweigh the good. Forever in the shadows of Broadway Joe's guarantee, the Jets of my generation are synonymous with disappointment.

I watched in disbelief as the once storied franchise squandered divisional leads in the collapses of 2000 and 2008. I rode on the dizzying ups and downs of playoff seasons followed by seasons with only the consolation of high draft picks (which never goes right. Brady over Sapp—need I say more).

To this day, I will never be the same again after watching Doug Brien miss the winning kick, which turned to kicks, against the Steelers in the divisional playoffs.

The pain has made me numb. I have become cynical, and take every positive with a grain of salt. I embrace every setback, no matter how minor, with the disheartened slogan "Same Old Jets."

However, it's the good times that make it so hard to stay away from the excruciation that comes with being a fan. If only my team was consistently bad, I could then follow them with moderate and healthy interest. Instead, glimpses of greatness and snifters of Superbowl contention keep me obsessed with what could be.

For me, the point of no return came during a mid-season game that became to be known as "The Monday Night Miracle." My fate was forever sealed by the time Jumbo Elliot finally secured the ball for the winning touchdown. The sheer grittiness displayed that night would go on to draw me in every time.

Unlike the many of the premier teams of the time, the Jets were never truly dominant. The opposition would often fear our tenacity and the meadowlands fierce winds as much as the individual talent.

Consider Curtis Martin, the fourth best rusher of all time in yards. Despite his numbers and playing in New York, Martin always managed to fly under the radar with his no-nonsense running style and blue collar attitude. Neither the strongest, fastest, or nimble to play the game, few ever played the game like him.

It was the tough yards that earned my loyalty. Laverneous Coles across the middle to move the chains on 3rd and 7. Wayne Chrebet holding onto the ball after sustaining a concussion in mid air. Game breakers are swell, but the skill and luck of a kick return can't compare to the heart and pluck of a fourth and inches stop.

Substance ultimately prevails over style, and the Jets won with will. Hearing nothing but criticism regarding his arm strength, Chad Pennington threw a 50-yard bomb to Santana Moss in the playoffs. A thought the play coulndn't be any more glorious until he turned to the sideline to flex his arm.

The fact that he went to a hated rival only to revive his play of old, only adds to my gloom. He only got better because we didn't want him. It is only a mater of time until the Jets cut Eric Smith and he becomes a pro bowler. At any rate, I will continue to trouble myself over anything I can, and look for what could possibly go wrong. After last season can you blame me?

But, in the end, there is little I can do to prevent my agony. I have a love/hate relationship and it's too late for therapy. All I can do is block out the bad and think of the good times.