There is no other way to explain it: The Jets have been cursed since the early evening hours of Jan. 12, 1969, after Joe Namath and Matt Snell and the defense led them to the greatest upset in pro football history when theybeat the Colts in Super Bowl III.
It was Damn Yankees. Jets Nation sold their soul for one championship, although it was the greatest championship imaginable, in return for what has been a lifetime of football misery. This season will be Super Bowl LII, which means the 50-year anniversary of the Curse Of Super Bowl III is soon approaching.
It’s been a good offseason for the Jets. Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles have hit the reset button, dumped overpriced underachieving veterans and gone young, as painful as it might be for the next few years. Two years after getting Leonard Williams, the best player in the draft at No. 6, they picked Jamal Adams, who may turn out to be the best player in the draft, again at No. 6. If the Jets can get the quarterback situation straightened out with either Christian Hackenberg this year, of if they Suck (enough) For Sam, then with Sam Darnold next year.
But the best news of the offseason came late week: Tom Brady is on the cover ofMadden 18.
It’s hard for Jets fans not to believe in curses after what happened the last 48 seasons. Now they must believe in the Madden Curse. Brady was already tempting fate playing this season at the age of 40, despite getting better with age, but now he’s agreed to be the Madden cover boy, which last season struck down his pal Gronk, who played in only eight games and missed the playoffs and Super Bowl. He sat out three games with various injuries before suffering a season-ending back injury against the Jets on Nov. 27 that required surgery.
Brady admits there could be something to the Madden curse, but he’s out to break it. “I’m not one to believe in curses, so I’m ready to take the challenge head on like always,” he said. “It doesn’t stand a chance.”
Brady made fun of it in a humorous Facebook post Friday; He broke a mirror with a hammer and then walked under a ladder. “All good,” he said.
The curse didn’t affect Odell Beckham Jr. in 2015, other than his meltdown against Josh Norman, and cover boys Richard Sherman in 2014 and Calvin Johnson in 2012 had terrific seasons.
But the list of the Madden Curse victims in the season the players were on the cover includes: Garrison Hearst (1998, ankle injury, cost him two seasons); Marshall Faulk (2002, first time in six seasons under 1,000 yards and didn’t reach 1,000 in any of last four seasons); Michael Vick (2003, broken leg); Shaun Alexander (2006, broken foot); Vince Young (2007, 9 TDs, 17 INTs); Peyton Hillis (2011, only 10 games, 587 yards rushing).
The Madden cover is now a bigger obstacle to Brady winning his sixth title than any team on New England’s schedule. Maybe it was Namath’s pantyhose commercials that cursed the Jets. Or the fur coat. Or the football gods loved Namath’s guarantee, but then have made the Jets pay for it ever since.
Who knows? Curses work in weird ways.
It’s a good thing Bill Belichick didn’t trade Jimmy Garoppolo.
Plaxico Burress, who caught the last-minute winning TD in the Giants’ Super Bowl XLII victory over the undefeated Patriots, wrote a down-to-earth warning to the 2017 draft class in an essay on The Players’ Tribune. He talked about his financial drain letting his family take advantage of him when he made it to the NFL and gave a chilling play-by-play of the night he shot himself in the leg in 2008, which sent him to prison for two years and ruined his career despite later playing for the Jets and returning to Pittsburgh.
He described walking up a flight of stairs in a dark, narrow stairwell at a New York nightclub the night after Thanksgiving, missing a step and slipping, causing the gun he had tucked in his belt to slide down his right pants leg. He reached down to catch it with his right hand, but he pulled the trigger by accident. He said the music in the club was so loud nobody heard the gun go off, but he had seen a “flash of fire through my jeans.” He was relieved when it didn’t appear the bullet hit anybody.
“Then, my jeans started to feel wet, so I looked back down at my leg,” Burress wrote. “I was wearing a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors, and the toe was completely red, covered in blood. The bullet had gone through the skin and some muscle on my right thigh. It came out without hitting any arteries or bone, but there was a lot of blood.
“I turned back to one of my teammates and said, “We need to go to the hospital.”
“I just shot myself.”
Burress was forthcoming how he lost millions and screwed up his career. It’s a cautionary tale to a bunch of 22-year-olds. But you know what? Too many of them think they are invincible.
Okay, it’s bordering on the absurd now and an embarrassment to the NFL that free agent Colin Kaepernick has yet to even visit a team. Unless his financial demands are excessive and his playing expectations unrealistic, then it’s certainly looking like his national anthem protest last season is the only reason he doesn’t have a team. Despite good numbers last season, Kaepernick’s overall play has regressed since he took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season — he was 1-10 as a starter in 2016 — but there are plenty of QBs worse than him that have a job. Even Blaine Gabbert, who lost his job to Kaepernick in San Francisco during last season, was recently signed by the Cardinals. The 49ers QB depth chart reads: Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley. Is that a joke?… Harry Edwards, an advisor to Kaepernick, says three teams have contacted Edwards during free agency asking about the QB’s desire and ability to play. Kaepernick’s girlfriend shot that down, saying if that was true, Kaepernick would have known about it… Well, the big bosses at CBS had to be pleased with Tony Romo’s prediction how things will go early on for him in the booth. “I know I’ll probably stink for a while. Hopefully I’ll continue to improve at that and hopefully get better and be good.”… Bears rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky promised GM Ryan Pace that he would drive his1997 Camry with nearly 200,000 miles on it — it used to belong to his grandmother — when he made the trip from Chapel Hill to the Bears headquarters Lake Forest. Pace got a kick out of Trubisky driving the 20-year old car when he took him out to dinner after putting him through an on-campus pre-draft workout. If he’s still driving that car after he signs his contract, then he will truly be hero to the working class… I served jury duty last week at 500 Pearl Street. The building looked awfully familiar. Turned out the last time I was there it was fun times with Brady and Roger Goodell.
I hope Victor Cruz gets another chance with the Bears, Ravens and Jaguars showing interest. Cruz is one of the good guys who have come through the Giants locker room in the last 20 years. It’s a shame a serious knee injury in 2014 followed by a serious calf injury in 2015 derailed his career. In Cruz’s return last season, Ben McAdoo played Cruz out of position on the outside and gave his slot position to rookie Sterling Shepard. Cruz (39 catches, 586 yards, one TD) didn’t have the size or separation speed to be effective split out wide and had a low-impact year. Cruz helped Tom Coughlin, now running the Jaguars, save his job and win a second Super Bowl with that 99-yard catch to beat the Jets late in the 2011 season, so it would be fitting if Coughlin throws Cruz a lifeline to help save his career… So far, very quiet with Darrelle Revis in free agency. The ex-Jet says he wants to keep playing, but so far no visits, no offers, no interest from his hometown Steelers. Revis is owed $6 million guaranteed from the Jets whether or not he plays. If he signs for anything less than $6 million, the Jets have to make up the difference. In effect, he would be playing for free. He would make the same $6 million sitting at home. If he signs for $6 million or more, the new team would be on the hook for the entire amount. That’s not happening. The reality is Revis will ultimately have to decide if he wants to sit home and collect his money or play and collect the same money. I still think there’s a chance Bill Belichick signs Revis for the $1 million veteran minimum and has the Jets pick up the $5 million difference. Belichick would love to have Woody Johnson pay Revis to play for the Patriots. New England is set at starting corner with Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler but could use another corner after losing Logan Ryan to the Titans. They might be more likely to sign Jason McCourty, who was cut by the Titans and is the identical twin brother of Patriots safety Devin McCourty.