Back in the 2004 AFC Wild Card Playoffs, Chad Pennington and the New York Jets defeated Drew Brees and the top-ranked San Diego Chargers in overtime. I remember hearing on the radio a few days before the game a few analysts and fans alike criticize Pennington's "lack of arm strength," which frustrated me. I'm not a big Jets fan, but I respected his work ethic.
Late in the game, Pennington completed a 53-yard touchdown strike to Santana Moss on a deep post route and flexed his arm to sort of take a shot at his critics. The Jets' season would end a week later in Pittsburgh, ironically in overtime.
Though the Jets got back to the playoffs in 2006, Pennington was the one of the main scapegoats for a poor 2007 season in which they finished 4-12, their second losing season in three years. Jets fans were frustrated with the lack of the big play and wanted a quarterback with a big, live arm.
Enter Brett Favre, who just came off of a retirement speech for the ages and a defeat at home in the NFC Championship Game to the New York Giants. Jets fans turned their backs on Pennington and fell in love with "Broadway Brett" who gave them their most celebrated quarterback since a guy named Joe.
Pennington on the other hand was relegated to the scrap heap and 48 hours later was picked up by the Miami Dolphins, signed to a two-year deal.
Expectations in Miami were awfully low as they had just one win the previous season and after an 0-2 start (including a near win against the Jets in Week One), it seemed that Pennington's departure was justified.
But a shocking upset of the defending AFC champion New England Patriots opened a few eyes and now with nine wins and a chance at his team's first playoff berth since 2000, Pennington now has some unfinished business and looks to return to New York to deal another crushing blow to the hearts of Jets fans.
Though his stats are not gaudy (66%, 3218 yards, 14 TD, 6 int, 95.1 rating), he is doing what he does best and that is win. Chad Pennington becomes a Seahawks fan this Sunday, as he knows a loss by New York will give him the chance to knock the Jets out of the division and playoff race for good.
He will return home on Dec. 28 looking to end his year in the stadium it should have begun at.
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