MINNEAPOLIS — To comprehend where the Jets are now, it is necessary to examine their past. Or, more precisely, where they have never been.
The Jets had lost a total of 70 games during the previous six seasons, a bleak span highlighted by their 6-27 record over the previous two seasons. The 2022 squad has stunned everyone with a 7-4 record despite lacking regular play at the game’s most important position.
Long-term history has never been a popular topic at the franchise headquarters in Florham Park, New Jersey. As head coach Robert Saleh and his players prepare to face the Vikings (9-2) in Minneapolis on Sunday in a game that will either inflate or deflate their playoff hopes, here is a quick look at the records of the other eight local teams in the four major men’s sports since the Jets last reached the Super Bowl in January 1969.
Five visits to the Super Bowl and four championships for the Giants.
Yankees: Eleven World Series appearances and seven titles.
Five visits to the World Series and two championships for the Mets.
Five appearances to the NBA Finals and two titles for the Knicks.
The Jets’ general manager, Joe Douglas, has established a solid foundation.
Five appearances in the ABA/NBA Finals and two titles.
Four visits to the Stanley Cup Final and one championship for the Rangers.
Five visits to the Stanley Cup Final and four titles for the Islanders.
Five visits to the Stanley Cup Final and three titles for the Devils.
Since the Jets’ historic upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, every other organization has had at least four trips in their respective final postseason rounds, and seven of the eight have won multiple championships (the Nets’ two were in the ABA). In other words, the not-so-mean green machine is overdue for a continuous run of success, which looks within reach.
This would provide the most disgruntled fan base in the league with a much-needed respite. What does acceptable success over the next five seasons look like? How about progressing to the Super Bowl for the first time since man landed on the moon, and playing in two AFC Championship games, like they did under head coach Rex Ryan in 2009 and 2010?
Perform a cursory scan of the roster. The Jets have talents scattered across their roster, including rookies Sauce Gardner, who might be his generation’s Darrelle Revis, and Garrett Wilson, who projects to be a terrific playmaker. General manager Joe Douglas assembled talent so well that he may be able to overlook the apparent error he made with the second overall selection in the 2021 draft.
If Zach Wilson is never significantly better than the version we saw in 20 games before Saleh benched him in favor of Mike White, Douglas will bear responsibility. On the other side, if White proves to be a consistent winner who flashes brilliance as he did last year against Cincinnati and last Sunday against Chicago, it may be enough to carry the rest of Douglas’ cast deep into the playoff tournament.
During the summer, when the Jets’ chances weren’t quite as bright as they are today, Douglas, a former Eagles executive, described how his previous club handled with the unrelenting scrutiny of the Philadelphia market.
Douglas told The Post at the time, “This is a tough city with a strong fan base.” “However, there are eight additional teams present. It seems to be a Knicks-Yankees town. Hopefully, it will soon be a Jets town.”
Obviously, there is only one guaranteed method to turn New York into a Jets town, and nobody needs Joe Willie Namath’s help to figure it out.
The Jets believed they had discovered their Next Namath in Wilson, despite the fact that they had been seeking for a quarterback for as long as people have been searching for Bigfoot. So far, the concept itself sounds like a joke. Douglas and Saleh did not want to send the youngster to the bench, especially after everything they had invested in him, but they had no alternative. They had to entrust the season to White, the 171st overall choice in the 2018 draft, with the hope that this time he can keep the enchantment alive.
“Everyone adores Mike,” Saleh remarked.
Everyone likes an underdog story, such as a player the Jets waived four times coming back to lead his club to an unimaginable victory.
Have the Jets any realistic chance of reaching the Super Bowl in February? Hey, strange things happen in the NFL, such as the Bengals advancing to the championship game in February.
Ultimately, Sunday’s game against the Vikings should reveal a great deal about Saleh and his players, who can gain a great deal of confidence by bringing an 8-4 record into Buffalo the following week. It is time for this beleaguered franchise to begin a new era of consistent success.
It is now time for the Jets to take flight.