Think about what has happened in this postseason for the New York Jets. Sure, they finished the season with 11 wins and weren't the Seattle Seahawks of the AFC, but virtually everyone doubted what they could do.
Looking at what the Jets had to do to get to this point, it looked impossible. Over the last decade, the best quarterbacks and teams in the league have been Manning and the Colts along with Brady and the Patriots. It was known the Jets would have to beat those two powerhouses to return to the AFC title game. Not only beat them, but on the road as the sixth seed.
It's something that just never happens—literally. With wins over Indianapolis and New England, the Jets became the first team to ever accomplish the feat in the playoffs in the Manning/Brady era. That may never happen for any team again even if any team ever gets the chance at pulling it off.
So, now, after the Jets have done the unthinkable and are headed to Pittsburgh against a team they've already beaten at Heinz Field, the question is: is this the Jets' best shot at winning the Super Bowl?
Not that they won't return to the playoffs again—they do have good young talent led by Mark Sanchez—but what else is left for them to do in order to win it?
As good as the Steelers are, they aren't tougher than the Colts or Patriots, and if the Jets could win like they have, they can certainly win next Sunday.
For years, the Jets have wanted to get past New England. Ever since Bill Belichick stepped down as Jets head coach the day after he took the job, it's been a one-sided rivalry. The Jets had never beaten the Patriots in the playoffs and had never beaten Brady in a big game.
After getting embarrassed 45-3 on national television not too long ago, the Jets couldn't have won this game. The Patriots were the No. 1-seeded team, and the Jets didn't really improve a whole lot since the beating they took. In fact, they were without Brad Smith and had some other injuries to deal with, having lost Jim Leonhard earlier in the season.
Looking at Brady, he was in the midst of the greatest stretch of passes without throwing an interception ever.
The Jets snapped his streak after David Harris picked him off in the red zone in the first quarter to set an early tone. The Jets couldn't even capitalize off the turnover as Nick Folk missed a field goal from reasonable range.
The Jets had absolutely no pass rush during the season and had no answer for Brady in New England the last time they faced. In this game, they sacked him five times and forced the Patriots to fumble twice. It was pressure he Jets haven't shown on a quarterback in years.
Their second-year quarterback and head coach outperformed the Patriots dynamic Hall of Fame duo of Brady and Belichick.
While Brady was getting sacked, Sanchez was throwing touchdowns. While Belichick was calling botched fake-play attempts, Rex Ryan was planning out great defensive schemes.
The description all week leading up to this gamer for a Jets win was: play the "perfect game." It may not have been perfect, but it was sure better than the game of the Patriots.
Now, after finally getting through Manning and Brady in the playoffs, how big of a disappointment would it be to lose next week in Pittsburgh? Very.
You can say the Steelers are tough and came back against the Ravens. But, aren't all conference title games supposed to be tough? That isn't an excuse.
The Colts are gone, the Patriots are gone. The Jets have talked and played their way to this point, and any other result besides a win against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers would just be another heart breaker in Jets history—maybe the biggest.