I am a nervous wreck as I sit here typing this, late on Saturday night.
I am excited beyond belief. I am nervous beyond belief.
For the fourth time in my lifetime, the New York Jets are one win from the Super Bowl.
The last three times they got this close, the Jets broke my heart.
In 1982, I watched from the basement of the house of my family’s friends, the Katzes, in Monsey, N.Y., as the Miami Dolphins turned Richard Todd into Ryan Leaf.
In 1998, I watched from my apartment in Wilmington, N.C., as fumble after fumble by the Jets in the second half gave Denver the win.
In 2009, I watched from a sports bar in Ormond Beach, Fla., as a halftime lead evaporated under a hail of Peyton Manning passes.
I don’t ask for much in life. I’m a pretty happy guy. I’m a man made joyous by simple pleasures.
I ask today for a New York Jets win, and their first Super Bowl appearance of my lifetime.
I have seen all my other sports lifetime dreams occur. I saw the Rangers win a Stanley Cup. I saw the Yankees win multiple World Series. I’ve seen Duke win four national championships in basketball.
If this can happen today … if Mark Sanchez can outduel Ben Roethlisberger, if the Jets defense can stuff the run, if LaDainian Tomlinson has just a little more magic left in those old legs … my sports dreams will be complete.
Notice, I’m not even asking for a Jets Super Bowl win. More than any other of the four major sports title games or series, I think just reaching the Super Bowl is an accomplishment to be celebrated.
Of course I’d want the Jets to win the Super Bowl. But I don’t want to be greedy. Just get there.
Four times they’ve been in a position to bring me to tears of joy. Three times they’ve broken my heart.
It has to happen today. It will happen today. Jets 20, Steelers 16.
Please, God, grant me this wish, and I’ll never trifle you with sports requests again.
And now, to get you fired up if you desire firing up, a couple of clips:
And take it away, Mr. Pacino:
**I’ve linked to Jon Wertheim’s work before here; he’s a friend of a friend and a super nice guy, as well as being one of the finest sportswriters in America. He’s got a new book out, called Scorecasting; basically it’s “Freakonomics” for sports. It looks terrific, from the excerpt I read in SI.
Anyway, wanted to point you to a fabulous story Jon wrote on Rafael Nadal in SI two weeks ago.
It’s funny, the more tennis fans that I talk to who love Roger Federer like I do, the more they feel like me: It’s impossible to hate Nadal. The guy is humble, polite to fans, and so unassuming he flies coach, still.
He’s on a quest right now to win the Australian Open, which would be his fourth consecutive Slam title, something even the great Fed hasn’t done.
It’s a fairly short story, but Wertheim absolutely sums up the essence of Rafa.
Read it and tell me how you could root against him.