This week will be the most positive Art of Hating I have done so far, and maybe will ever do. However, it is probably going to be the most pathetic. This whole piece is going to be about enjoying the small victories you get as a hater. As I’ve previously talked about in this series, most of the happiness you get as a hater is from other people’s failures. But there are the rare moments that your teams bless you with a special win. One that makes you realize having a competent franchise to cheer for must be really awesome. That’s why it is such a bittersweet thing. Getting a little taste of winning just makes you want more, but it’s still important to enjoy those moments, no matter how pathetic.
This week I want to talk about one specific game that gave me this exact feeling, and it involved the 2010 New York Jets.
Let’s start at the beginning of the season. This Jets team was absolutely electric. The previous year they had made the playoffs in Rex Ryan’s first year at head coach and Mark Sanchez’s first year at QB. Going into the 2010-11 season there was a lot of hype surrounding this duo. They had one of the best offensive lines and best defenses in football and people were captivated by Rex Ryan as head coach. In fact the Jets were so intriguing that HBO decided to feature the Jets on Hard Knocks that offseason. It’s still the best season of Hard Knocks ever for reasons like these:
All-time clips which only made the hype around the Jets grow even stronger.
The season still hasn’t started and the hype continues to grow from their confident head coach.
Rex Ryan guarantees a Super Bowl victory. What could go wrong.
Now let’s get into the rivalry with the Patriots (which obviously hasn’t been much of a rivalry as of late). Before Rex Ryan even coached a game with the Jets he gave this quote,
I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick’s, you know, rings. I came to win. Let’s just put it that way. So we’ll see what happens. I’m certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else.
So from the start Rex made it known he didn’t like the Patriots and he thought the Jets were the best team in football. Now, let’s fast forward to Week 13. The Jets are awesome. Them and the Patriots are tied atop the division, both at 9-2, heading into a matchup in Foxboro. Then this happens:
The Jets got fucking embarrassed. The Jets confirmed the fears of every Jets fan, they were a good team, but still not good enough to beat Big Brother. I still remember getting made fun of by Patriots fans at school the next day. Not fun stuff. However, the Jets did bounce back and finished the season at 11-5 and secured a playoff spot.
In the wildcard round the Jets were going up against Peyton Manning and the Colts. The Jets definitely had the better team overall, but between Peyton Manning and the best playoff kicker of all time, Adam Vinatieri, the Colts were favored going in. The Jets managed to hold the Colts to field goals on a couple big drives which gave them a 14-13 lead in the last two minutes of the game. However, those two Colts players I mentioned earlier were just too good. Peyton led the Colts down the field and Vinatieri drilled a 50 yarder to put the Colts ahead with 53 seconds left. NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! Mark Sanchez, yes the same Mark Sanchez, led the Jets down the field and put them in Nick Folk field goal range. He drilled a 32 yarder as time expired to send the Jets to Foxboro for a divisional playoff game.
That game was awesome. The Jets actually came from behind and won a playoff game in the final seconds. As my dad used to say after every single made kick of Nick Folk’s Jets career, “he didn’t folk up.” The Jets had Folked up my whole life, but they had finally done something right. Then reality set in. They had to go to New England and play Brady and Belichick on their turf for a shot at the AFC Championship game. The same team that beat them 45-3 in the same venue just a few weeks earlier. The Patriots were heavy favorites going into the game, but Rex Ryan was as confident as ever, and I guess the team bought in.
God that was fucking awesome. Even 7 years later I get goosebumps and cheer on every play. The Jets just had something special about them in that game. A swagger I’ve never seen from one of my teams before, and haven’t seen since. They didn’t just beat the Patriots, they kicked the shit out of them on their home field. Brady threw a pick, fumbled, and got sacked 5 times. The Patriots had a special teams turnover. The Sanchize threw for three scores and never turned the ball over. All of those are things that just don’t happen. It was a perfect game for the Jets, which also gave us a couple more all time clips.
Rex Ryan ran for the first time in his life.
Of course, the Bart Scott can’t wait speech which is one of the best hype speeches in sports history.
“ESPECIALLY YOU TOM JACKSON! WAY TO HAVE OUR BACK KEYSHAWN!”
“ALL WE HEAR IS ABOUT THEY DEFENSE, THEY CAN’T STOP A NOSE BLEED!”
What a night.
As a hater, it’s moments like these you treasure forever, and that’s where the pathetic part comes in. That was the biggest Jets win of my lifetime and it wasn’t even to reach a Super Bowl, let alone win one. We kept the NFL Films replay on our DVR in our house until we moved out of it just so my dad and I could rewatch it whenever we felt down. You may call it pathetic, I call it one of the best nights of my sports life. And you better believe I had some words for those Patriots fans at school the next day; for that one day I was a king.
Thank you to the 2010 Jets for giving me that night. Hopefully there will be a night soon that will top it, but until then, I’ll always have this.
(If you don’t think I’m psychotic enough to watch this full game replay you don’t know me very well yet).
Haven’t had enough? Check out the previous editions of The Art of Hating here.