I think its time that the world embraces the fact that the New York Jets are cursed. I’m talking Red Sox and Cubs cursed. And to the belief that Boston and Chicago’s curses were worse due to longevity: would anyone think the Jets would have produced more championships if they had more time? It would be even worse and we all know it. Of course, these teams lifted their curses in 2004 and 2016, respectively. Steve Bartman goes back to being a guy who refused to accept the extinction of the Walkman. Now that these two teams got the proverbial monkeys off their backs, there’s one other team that still walks in the darkness. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon.
There needs to be a documentary created about the suffering of Jets’ fans. I remember watching the HBO specials The Curse of the Bambino and Wait Till Next Year. Parades of Red Sox and Cubs fans chronicled their personal miseries as they recalled the most renowned hard-luck moments in their histories. There were even celebrity fans that chimed in; Denis Leary went on a foul-mouthed tirade about seeing Wade Boggs riding a police horse through Yankee Stadium after they won the World Series. Jeff Garlin spoke about his unconditional love for the Cubbies. I’m pretty sure that glazed doughnuts were a close second. The bottom line is that the creation of these documentaries legitimized the acceptance of the curses of both teams.
The history of the Jets is not for the faint of heart. After Joe Namath, the Fu Manchu wearing, lady slaying, Alabama Crimson Tide loving quarterback came and went, the team hasn’t had a viable quarterback. In addition to that severe deficiency, the team is a recipient of tough luck. We all remember when Vinny Testaverde blew his knee out in the ’99 season opener; when Doug Brien missed not one but two game-winning field goals; the time when the Jets avenged a 40+ point defeat on Monday Night Football to the Patriots by beating them in the AFC Divisional round only to come up short against the Steelers the next week. The list goes on and on.
I would imagine this Jets documentary to include the likes of depressed residents of the Tri-State area. They would sit in what looked like doctors’ offices; for some reason books would need to be in view at all times. I guess this would be done so Jets fans could relate to times they were at therapists’ offices. Celebrity fans would also be brought in. Imagine Adam Sandler, in his childlike muttering from Billy Madison, explaining his experience of Doug Brien’s missed field goals:
A.S.: Uh, yeah you know, Brien was ready to send us to New England. I uh remember when he missed it. [lifting his hands up and shaking them as his facial expression resembles that of a guy in the middle of constipated episode on the toilet] YABAHABADOO!
Sidebar: Adam Sandler is the king of the played-out shtick in movies that no one seemed to call him out on; the shtick being his child-like voice and Scooby-Doo sounding expressions. He rose to fame on Saturday Night Live with the likes of Canteen Boy and he just seemed to go with that voice in feature films i.e. Billy Madison. It started getting old, of course, but we allow him to continue using it.
The icing on the cake would definitely be the inclusion of a fat celebrity fan. The Cubs documentary had Jeff Garlin, the Red Sox documentary had Michael Chiklis, and this Jets documentary would definitely have Kevin James. As soon as he would show his face, and it would probably be a quick cut to him, halfway through his diatribe, we would all say “Ok, this is legit.” And I’d imagine his gut-wrenching experience would start with “I remember standing in line at the concession stand, watching that little television…”
So when did this curse begin? The Red Sox faithful blame the selling of Babe Ruth to the dreaded New York Yankees back in 1919. According to Fever Pitch, which basically ate and then regurgitated the screenplay of the aforementioned Curse of the Bambino, then-Sox owner Harry Frazee decided to ship Ruth to New York in order to fund the production of one of his plays entitled “No, No, Nanette.” I’m sure that if you looked in a phone directory in all of New England prior to 2004, there would be not one Nanette listed. Of course the plan backfired; Frazee’s play bombed and Ruth went on to be considered the greatest baseball player of all time.
In the context of the Chicago Cubs, their curse started when a Greek tavern owner was asked to leave Wrigley Field during the ’45 World Series because his pet billy goat’s odor was discomforting the fans. As he was escorted out, he supposedly said that no World Series would ever again be played in Wrigley Field. Two things: 1. Why did this guy own a billy goat? Couldn’t he find a more traditional pet like a dog or a cat? and 2. How did the guy even get through the door at Wrigley? I can’t even walk into a sporting event with a bottle but this guy was able to bring in a billy goat. Anyway, no matter how ridiculous this sounds, this guy William Sianis’ words rang true for over 70 years.
So going back to the birth of the Jets curse. Where can this thing be pinpointed? As much as I would love to hear fellow fans chime in on this, I say that it all started when Joe Namath guaranteed the winning of Super Bowl III. The Jets were heavy underdogs. They were up against a juggernaut in the Baltimore Colts. Going back to this, doesn’t it just get you nauseous that a team like the Colts were blessed with so many great quarterbacks? Unitas, Manning, Luck. The Colts sucked in 1999 and were able to lock up the first overall pick to take Peyton Manning.
Sidebar: The Jets were poised to select Peyton Manning with the first overall selection in 1998. In what might have been the best decision of his career, Manning decides to stay at Tennessee for his senior year. And lets just say Manning declares for the ’98 draft and the Jets take him. You know the Jets would have gotten Cooper Manning instead of Peyton. I’m positive this team could have had Lombardi as a coach and nothing to show for it.
In 2011, Manning gets hurt at the most perfect time, sits out the year and we get to watch Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter lead the Colts to a 2–14 season. That record was good enough to land them the first overall pick and they take Andrew Luck. Yep, the rich get richer. And here us Jets fans sit, still waiting for that franchise quarterback. I guess that’s how life goes.
Tangents aside, I still say that Namath’s guarantee should be considered the apex of the Jets curse. Even though Namath backed up his words, he must’ve pissed off the football gods. “There goes that brash Namath, calling us out like that,” growled heavenly football players resting on puffy clouds in the skies. He could care less about lining up against Unitas, that an AFL team had yet to win a Super Bowl, or that a fur coat was a risky fashion statement to make.
Following the miraculous win, Namath made a gesture that surely went too far among the gods who were probably sitting on a couch, watching the game from above: he pointed his finger to the sky. I don’t know about anyone else but my parents taught me not to point. Its considered rude. Namath probably knew this too. Let’s just say it was his big “fuck you” to all who doubted the Jets. Unfortunately for future generations of fans, it was a death sentence.
Of course, Joe Namath was unaware of his complicity in the birth of the Jets curse. I bet if he could, he would definitely take it back. That Super Bowl was the last one the Jets won and it was also the last one that the franchise has been to. Coincidence? I think not.
This past October, the Chicago Cubs shocked the world and finally won a World Series. It was their first championship since 1908. Prior to 2016, the franchise had not won a pennant since 1945. If you’re keeping score at home, that guy and his billy goat were thrown out of Wrigley during the ’45 World Series. In an even eerier fashion, the Cubs actually defeated the Dodgers in the NLCS on the anniversary of Sianis’ death.
The Boston Red Sox exercised the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. Liev Schreiber, the narrator of not only the Red Sox HBO documentary but every other documentary ever created, noted that Edgar Renteria made the final out of that series. The number he was wearing? That’s right. Number 3. “Just like the Babe,” Schreiber quips. Isn’t sports great?
So I guess we can all agree that some sort of eerily coincidental event has to occur during the exercising of the Jets curse. Maybe their Super Bowl victory will occur on the anniversary of Rex Ryan’s lap band surgery. Or news will break that Brett Favre inadvertently sent an inappropriate text message to a Jets employee as the winning field goal goes through the uprights. Who knows. All I can say is that now that the Cubs got off the last stop of the Pain Train, the Jets are the lone travelers.