Those special individuals who call themselves fans of the New York Jets often live by certain rules, these specific rules of fandom.
Ah yes, it’s the New York Jets.
It’s that circus of a team and much more sympathetic fanbase who calls Florham Park, New Jersey home.
We can all thank Rex Ryan for the “circus” tag, which isn’t too well received around these parts. At the same time, we can all thank Rex for providing two unforgettable and memorable seasons (equaling a franchise record four playoff victories).
Come to think of it, only a Jets fan would actually feel forced to thank such a coach who also turned the organization into the next closest thing to Barnum & Bailey’s.
But hey, that’s just life for a Jets fan.
It’s understood that things come us as sideways, as opposed to straight up or down. It’s always completely obvious when that other shoe is about to firmly drop – even for the oblivious.
Through it all, though, is family. A family tighter than the Jackson 5 prior to Michael’s undeniable stardom.
Well, perhaps that didn’t make much sense. You know what though, nothing makes much sense when rooting for the green and white, so just go with it.
One thing’s for sure: Fans of this organization have character. Of course, people say “having character” is usually a cop-out term used to describe a fan base rooting for a loser, but in many cases, it’s as clear as day that the sentiment holds true.
Who else could live through some of the moments Jets fans have suffered witnessed?
This is why we’re different. This is why we’re special. We’ve adapted and understood that this adaption was necessary.
We’ve adapted to such a degree that rules are needed. 12 rules, actually, because that’s the number of the greatest Jet of them all.
Here are the 12 legitimately hardened rules for the New York Jets fan:
Rule 12: ‘Same Old Jets’ Is Real, But Not That Real
You’ve heard it a million times.
“Same old Jets.” The only other one that can closely rival it is “just end the season.”
Anyway, “same old Jets” is the one phrase that Jets fans completely despise, yet repeat it unknowingly during the worst of times. They don’t even realize they’re saying it half the time. It simply comes spewing out in a rage.
This franchise hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1969 (the 1968 NFL Season). In fact, the Jets haven’t been to a Super Bowl since then. Making it 100 times worse, they’ve only seen the AFC Championship game four times since Super Bowl III.
It’s creeping up on 50 years since Joe Namath‘s heroics.
At the same time, does this fanbase actually have it that bad?
Since Leon Hess caught a Big Tuna in 1997, New York has only suffered through five losing seasons. This means the Jets have been 8-8 or better 14 of the last 19 seasons. They’ve been one serious winning organization since Bill Parcells came to town.
Speaking of Parcells, I have very little doubt he would have eventually won a title with the Jets had he not bolted (in a direct result to Leon’s passing).
When looking around the rest of the league, rooting for the Jets seems a little rosier. The Cleveland Browns have endured 16 losing seasons since then. The Detroit Lions have suffered through 14 losing campaigns since 1997.
Considering both of those franchises have never sniffed a Super Bowl, being a Jets fan suddenly takes on a little more pride.
Don’t be fooled either. The list isn’t just reserved for bottom-feeders like the Browns and Lions. Judging solely on record and a year-by-year outlook, the Jets are sniffing the upper third of the NFL in terms of success over the last two decades.
While “same old Jets” is certainly real, it’s not that real.
Rule 11: If Vinny Stays Healthy, 1999 Was Ours
To most Jets fans, the only thing that separated their team from a Super Bowl championship was one Achilles tendon.
This tendon belonged to Vinny Testaverde, and he snapped it during Week 1 of the 1999 season.
A more devastating blow simply couldn’t be imagined.
After coming off an extremely dominant 12-4 campaign in 1998, most experts pegged the Jets the Super Bowl favorites in ’99. It made total sense. They were loaded.
Testaverde was coming off a ridiculous season throwing for 3,256 yards and 29 touchdowns in just 13 games started; Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet were a dangerous WR duo, and Curtis Martin was one of the better backs in the game.
Oh, and let’s not forget how nasty the defense was. Or, how filthy the coaching staff was.
Guys like Bill Belichick, Romeo Crennel, and Charlie Weis were roaming the sidelines under Parcells.
The team has destiny written all over it during a time NFL favorites actually won. However, a “same old Jets” thing happened and Testeverde was lost for the season.
8-8 was the final record as Ray Lucas made the Tuna’s last days with the Jets semi-memorable.
Rule 10: Darrelle Revis Left The Country For Two Years
All Jets fans rejoiced when Mike Maccagnan assumed control and started spending the money John Idzik was so incompetent with.
They rejoiced, mainly because they saw the return of the great Darrelle Revis.
Though the entire sane world understood that Revis was shipped to Tampa Bay in return for two draft picks and then became that missing defensive ingredient for Tom Brady‘s fourth Super Bowl, Jets fans have a slightly different version.
To us, Revis wasn’t in the league for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He actually left the country and took a two-year hiatus from the game.
Watching him celebrate a Super Bowl championship with the Patriots was just one long nightmare. That’s all it was.
Rule 9: A.J. Duhe, Rich Kotite & John Idzik Are Curse Words
Our mothers always let us know which words were those few hot-button no-no’s growing up.
You knew them. They usually rhymed with puck, spit, or bunt.
As we grew older, however, we, as New York Jets fans, grew to understand that there was room for a few more words in the cuss hall of fame.
These new horrible, terrible words rhyme with louie, motite and didzik.
Honestly, there’s not much to discuss here. We can’t, for these are curse words. Repeating them over and over and over again will only make our mother’s mad at us.
You see the names above. You know what happened.
Let’s just leave it at that.
Rule 8: It’s The Meadowlands, Not Giants Stadium
Do you see that red New Jersey logo on the 50-yard line in the photo above?
That’s why the place the New York Jets used to play their home games is called the Meadowlands.
While we know MetLife Stadium is a true 50/50 split between the two teams, one couldn’t help noticing that big blue sign that hung on the previous building that displayed the words Giants Stadium.
It sucked. This is why Rule No. 8 exists. Jets fans understand just how much it sucks to root for a team who played its home games in somebody else’s stadium.
From 1984 through 2009, Gang Green didn’t have a home.
That’s not the case anymore.
And while MetLife might look like one giant toaster oven from the outside, it’s still a true home. The first home since Shea – one that’s been coming to this passionate fanbase for quite some time.
Rule 7: ‘Little Brother’ Just Means We’re Younger & Louder
The New York Football Giants have been around since 1925. This is nothing to sneeze at.
The organization is a proud one, led by one of the most important figures in the history of the National Football League (Wellington Mara, whose selflessness led to equal revenue sharing).
It’s oftentimes tough to be a little brother. That’s exactly what the New York Jets are, the little brother.
It doesn’t mean the big brother is superior.
Look at what’s happening in the Big Apple baseball market right now. The most decorated sports franchise of all-time, in the New York Yankees, are suddenly becoming surpassed by their little brothers, the New York Mets.
In the Mets case, it’s been development, passion and youth that’s led the way.
When it comes to the each of the fanbases, the same thought can be applied.
Because the Giants have been around for so long, a lot of their fans are often individuals who need an oxygen tank or a steel walker. They’re so old that the entire building gets their panties in a bunch when a game is scheduled for anything other than 1 PM ET on Sunday.
Giants fans simply hate the night game. Actually, they hate the 4:15 PM ET start as well. It means the early bird won’t be a possibility that day.
All being the little brother means is you’re younger, louder and more passionate. When that J-E-T-S chant goes live, everybody knows.
Wear it on your sleeve with pride.
That’s right Patriots fans, No. 57 is the reason for your successes.
If Bill Belichick or any fan who pronounces their city as “Bawston” claims the franchise actually knew what they had in Mr. Brady, they wouldn’t have waited until the sixth-round to draft him.
I mean think about it. If the genius knew this guy would turn out to arguably be the best quarterback of all time (which he’s not), they would have taken him in the first round. It’s just that simple. You don’t pass up greatness like that and leave it to chance.
They got lucky. Robert Kraft – who changed as a person and forced the man who saved the Patriots out (Bill Parcells) – found himself fortunate that Bledsoe wound up with a collapsed lung on that fateful day.
Mo Lewis created Tom Brady and the Patriots dynasty.
Once again, you’re welcome.
Rule 5: If Chosen, Dan Marino Would Have Busted
For those who understand the history of the New York Jets, this one’s a toughie.
By now the story is famous. Marino slid on draft day due to off-the-field whispers and rumors surrounding a party boy persona. Whether or not this was really an issue in the Jets war room, we truly don’t know.
What’s tough to swallow is Marino actually slid to the Jets who were sitting in the No. 24 spot. Instead, they took little known O’Brien, who enjoyed a pretty solid NFL career and arguably finished his career as the Jets second best QB in team history.
Marino went to the Miami Dolphins three picks later and beat the Jets in the ensuing AFC Title game.
1983 marked the first NFL Draft that set the model for ESPN in becoming the power they are today. It was a ho-hum even that usually came and went without any fanfare. After ESPN grabbed it and held on, it’s become what it is today.
What that draft also did was make the Jets fanbase the poster boys for the draft. They’re always the loudest whether it comes with incredible hope and optimism or undeniable fear and despair.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…we also know about Marino’s fake-spike that started a mini-revolution in the league (remaining a play in the clock management section until this very day).
It truly doesn’t matter. We, as Jets fans, understand that Marino wouldn’t have worked out in the Big Apple. His party days at Pitt would’ve carried over to the bright lights of New York and the Jets.
Perhaps it’s the “same old Jets” sentiment carrying over to Rule No. 5, right now, but that’s just the way it is. The Jets didn’t pick him because he would have busted in New York.
We just know this. Or, at the very least, we have to tell ourselves this.
Rule 4: Bill Belichick Is Diabolical Beyond Belief
Just who is Ernie Adams?
Forget fans of the New York Jets, the entire league is still trying to figure this out. Hell, Pats players don’t even know what Ernie Adams does.
What we do know is Bill Belichick is diabolical beyond belief and nobody calls the ball-boy “the deflator” because he lost weight.
Considering their outrageous home record in comparison to the road record, we, as Jets fans, know what the deal is. We know Belichick pushes the envelope to a degree that is downright scary.
By now, finally, the entire world understands just how easy the franchise got off for Spygate. Roger Goodell did his boy Kraft a major favor by destroying those tapes and sweeping the situation under the rug.
This is why Deflate-Gate became such a major ordeal. All 31 other owners were fed up.
Everything about the man simply makes the Jets fan’s skin crawl. The fact he was the chosen one to lead the Jets after the Big Tuna took his exit, and he lasted just one official day as HC, tells the average onlooker everything you need to know.
The golden rule about Rule No. 4 is that you simply don’t want to go into detail with it. Don’t discuss it at great length.
As time marches on, more information about their questionable ways will leak out.
It’s just that simple. That’s what the hardened Jets fan believes in his heart.
Rule 3: Wayne Chrebet Is The Most Fearless Player Ever
We make this one Rule No. 3 because it’s the exact number he wore when we laid eyes on him for the very first time.
If there was one good thing Rich Kotite did for the New York Jets, it was adding the little wide receiver from Hofstra to the roster as a walk-on in 1995.
Wayne Chrebet simply stole the hearts of Jets fans.
Standing at 5’10” (on a good day), Chrebet displayed more heart than any Jet of all-time. He made his way through the second level of the defense and into the middle of the field with no fear or disregard of his well being.
While his physical well being greatly suffers from that mentality today, his lasting memory will remain with fans forever.
Perhaps no player ever symbolized the Jets fan more. Chrebet is the fighter, the little guy who was always told he couldn’t do it. This is how the Jets fan feels.
Next time you head out to MetLife stadium for a game, look around. You’ll see more No. 80 jerseys in the stands than any other number; and this is 11 years after he retired.
It’s truly remarkable.
Rule 2: Joe Namath Is Jets History, But Not All Of It
The No. 2 rule comes down to Jets history.
Many say New York Jets history is one person. Many say Joe Namath is Jets history.
On the surface that sounds pretty and all, but it’s simply not true, despite how much No. 12 did for the organization.
First of all, Namath wasn’t just Jets history, he was NFL history.
Without him, the AFL and NFL wouldn’t have come together so quickly. It was his confident and fearless attitude that ultimately led to the bigmouths of the NFL to realize the American Football League can play a little ball.
Moreover, Namath wasn’t just a sports icon. He was actually an entire movement in his own right.
He was the first super-athlete. Namath was the first guy who really exploded onto the scene during a time that was perfect for such an event. He was the first sports superstar who crossed over into that line of entertainment and society.
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) May 14, 2016
He was a rockstar.
The Jets have seen many a great player walk in and out of those doors since 1960 when they were known as the New York Titans.
The Monday Night Miracle and many great games are Jets history as well.
In a way, Joe Namath is Jets history, but he’s not all of it.
Rule 1: When It Does Happen, It’ll Be That Much Sweeter
Forty-eight seasons and counting. Not since the 1968 NFL season have the New York Jets won a championship.
If they get through the year 2017 without tasting the Super Bowl, it would mark an even 50 years.
As WFAN’s Joe Benigno would say, “oh the pain.”
You know what though? This is why this is Rule No. 1.
When it does happen; when the New York Jets finally climb that mountaintop and taste that sweet champagne after touching the Lombardi Trophy, it’ll be that much sweeter for the Jets fan.
Whether you realize it or not, the best and most raucous groups of fans are those who finally feel success after the long wait. Those fans who stick it out for the long haul are the ones who are most rewarded in the end.
It’s the spoiled rotten fans who get complacent and start to rest on their laurels.
We’ve seen this hold true with the Yankees fan in recent years. Conversely, we’ve seen the starving fan come alive and create precious scenes (New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, etc.).
Us, as Jets fans, simply cannot wait.
When it does happen, it’ll be the sweetest thing on Earth.