Yeah, I’m psyched for today at 4:30 p.m. Really psyched.
Look, I don’t get to see the Jets in the NFL playoffs all that much, OK? These are not the Dallas Cowboys or New England Patriots or Indianapolis Colts. The Jets just don’t make it to the postseason that often.
I just looked it up; in my lifetime as a Jets fan (I first started really being old enough to follow the team when I was 7, in 1982) I’ve only gotten to see them in 15 playoff games. In 27 years! And three of those games were when I was 7, so it’s not like I really remember too much. I know, if you’re a Lions fan or a Browns fan you can’t really have sympathy, but for the rest of America, you get my pain.
What I’m saying is, Jets playoff games are rare enough that I can probably instantly give you details, positive and negative, of the last 12 I’ve seen. The good: The 41-0 pasting of the Colts in the 2002 season. The tremendous overtime victory over San Diego in 2005. And of course, the divisional playoff win over Jacksonville in the 1998 season, followed by a 10-0 lead at Denver in the AFC title game, where, with 2 minutes left in the half, I for the first time really believed they were going to the Super Bowl (Silly, silly me.)
The bad? Oh, the bad comes back to my mind so much easier. Mark Gastineau’s idiotic roughing the passer penalty in the ’86 playoffs, leading to a double-overtime loss to the Browns, 23-20. The excruciating loss to Pittsburgh in the 2004 playoffs, when Doug Brien (DOUG BRIEN!!!) missed two field goals that could’ve won the game. And of course, the second half of that loss to Denver in ’98, when it all slipped away under an avalanche of Jets turnovers.
Today’s game? I’m feeling very, very confident. I don’t think Carson Palmer and the Bengals will be able to throw the ball much on the Jets, and Cedric Benson doesn’t scare me.
(By the way, my friend George, a big Bears fan, cringed when I told him today’s game would be a matchup of two backs the Bears let go: Benson and the Jets’ Thomas Jones. “But Benson sucked as Bear!” he quickly reminded me. That’s true, he did suck).
Offensively for the Jets, I’m thinking Mark Sanchez throws 15-20 times; any more and we’ve got problems. A steady does of the running game with Jones and Shonn Greene, milk the clock, take the fired-up Bengals crowd out of the game, and escape with a win.
Jets 20, Bengals 13. A happy Saturday night in the Lewis home.
**This may sound a little morbid, but my absolute favorite issue of the New York Times Magazine is the final one of the year, called “The Lives They Lived” when they look back on about 20 people who died in the past 12 months. (It came out two weeks ago, but I just finished it Friday).
What’s fabulous about it is that they don’t pick just famous people, though this year they did pay tribute to some reasonably notable ones (Ted Kennedy, boxer Arturo Gatti, director Budd Schulberg). What I love is learning about some of the lives who were historically significant, but under the radar.
It’s a wonderful thing to discover people like Crystal Lee Sutton, who courageously helped organize unions in cotton mills in North Carolina in the early 1970s (she was the basis for the title character in the movie “Norma Rae”); Ellie Greenwich, a Jewish woman from Long Island who wrote a ton of hits for girl groups like The Chiffons and The Shangri-La in the ’60s; and Maurizio Montalbini, who decided to push the limits of human endurance by voluntarily living in a cave for hundreds of days at a time.
It just reminds you of the incredibly creative, entertaining and diverse world we live in. Check the issue out if you have a chance.