Pennington Strikes Back: the Jets and Pats are Dead

Shaun McGannContributor IDecember 28, 2008

I have always liked Chad Pennington. Honest. That is not hindsight from a humbled Jets fan who just watched Pennington spend the last three and a half months pulling himself off the scrap heap to ride back into the Meadowlands to run a dagger through the Jets season, and maybe Brett Favre's career. No sir. I always appreciated what Chad did with his time in Green, and was quietly rooting for the scrappy, underdog Dolphins throughout the season.

Truth be told though, I never thought there would be a scenario that would play out so perfectly that Chad could extract his revenge. To be fair this was not all on the Dolphins side either, when the Jets were crowned the toast of the AFC for that strange week or two in November it never really felt like it would play itself out like that. These were after all the Jets, and weird things happen. 

After the Tennessee win, I figured that Miami might at least have an opportunity to drop the Jets either out of the playoffs or, best case, maybe drop them a seed. It would have been hard to see them coming in with the AFC East title in their sights.

But the Jets were bloodied before the game even started, after getting bounced around by sub-par teams, Favre sounded like a man who could not wait to get back to Mississippi and start working on his second retirement speech. The score was close, but the game never really was because the Dolphins played like they were on a mission, and after the Ravens eliminated any chance for the Jets to play beyond Sunday, I found myself again quietly pulling for Chad to get the job done.

And he did. He did something he never could do in New York, he kept the Patriots out of the Playoffs. Yes, a Patriots team without Tom Brady, and surely there will be hell to pay in the AFC East next year, but this is how the table was set. 

When it got ugly, and I could not bear to watch poor ol' Brett throw another pick, I flipped over to the Eagles flogging the Cowboys. Things could always be worse I suppose. After the game, Pennington, classy as always, refused to admit it was a "revenge game" and claimed he was more interested in winning the AFC East.

It was a dramatic final week of the season with some teams eeking out a spot in the tournament, and others being denied in spite of great season, but it is hard to really think of a better story, even if you are a Jets fan, than Chad Pennington smiling through the tunnel of the Meadowlands with a much happier trip to Miami ahead of him this time.