It has been 53 seasons since a New York Jets Super Bowl appearance.
Fifty-three long, painful years since Gang Green pulled off, perhaps, the greatest professional football upset of all time. The AFL champion Jets (+18 points) beat the NFL champion Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III on Jan. 12, 1969.
As a tortured NY Jets fan who wasn’t alive in 1969 (or the 1982 AFC Championship game), there have only been three meaningful seasons in my lifetime: 1998, 2009 and 2010.
Yours truly is not one of those “wait until next year” kind of Jets fan. Consider me more a “Same old Jets” type of guy.
I have no expectation of ever witnessing a New York Jets Super Bowl.
In recognition of the one and only New York Jets Super Bowl, here is a list of inventions, major world happenings and football-related events.
(Side note: RIP Don Maynard 1935-2022)
Inventions since New York Jets Super Bowl
A lot of things happen in a half-century. But the last 50-plus years have seen some incredible advancements in areas such as technology and medicine.
To that point, the following list is merely a subjective selection of interesting inventions.
1. Personal Computer (1971)
Perhaps no recent invention has changed the course of human history more than the personal computer. The widespread use of the personal computer solidified the digital revolution and transformed our everyday life.
2. Barcodes/UPC (1974)
In 2022, it’s quaint to think of a time when human beings interacted during a retail transaction. But before 1974, a store employee not only completed a transaction, they had to manually input a price into a cash register.
3. Post-It notes (1974)
This one is just fun. It’s amusing to imagine how disorganized and chaotic the person’s desk or office was who thought of this idea. The backstory behind the Post-It note is actually pretty wild and a contentious legal battle played out for years.
4. Microwavable popcorn bag (1978)
When football fans sat down to watch Joe Willie and the Jets upset Johnny Unitas in 1969, they couldn’t throw a bag of Pop-Secret into the microwave before kickoff. To this day, a bowl of hot microwave popcorn beats any bag in your local supermarket.
5. World Wide Web (1989)
Not to be confused with the internet, the advent of the world wide web forever changed commerce, information, education, communication and entertainment. The world’s first website, CERN, went live in 1991.
6. Mobile phone (1973) / iPhone (2007)
There are millions of people today who have no clue what a corded telephone looks like, much less a rotary. But it wasn’t long after Broadway Joe ran off the field with one finger raised in the air that the first mobile phone debuted. Almost 35 years later, Steve Jobs and Apple introduced the first iPhone.
7. MySpace (2003) / Facebook (2004)
Social media is the perfect example of something that is both a blessing and a curse. Keeping in touch with family and friends through messages, photos and moments in time is amazing. The toxicity and vitriol of SNS has eroded common decency and basic respect in society. These two social networking sites started all of it.
Major world and U.S. events since January 1969
To say the world has changed since 1969 would be the very definition of ‘understatement.’ Much like saying the Jets are the epitome of ‘ineptitude.’
But we digress.
Similar to the list above, the following are cherry-picked moments in history since the last New York Jets Super Bowl appearance.
1. Moon landing (1969)
This one hurts to even think about for Jets fans. What is widely considered the pinnacle of human achievement happened months after the NY Jets won Super Bowl III. Mankind has stepped foot on the surface of the moon five more times since the first landing in July 1969.
2. Ban of tobacco advertising on television (1971)
The most inconsequential moment on this list is also one of the most interesting. Cigarette advertising was as much a part of American life and culture as apple pie. Magazines, comic books, newspapers, radio, television, highway billboards. It was everywhere. Joe Namath himself was a cigarette smoker (among other vices) during his playing days.
3. Walt Disney World opens (1971)
Super Bowl III may have been the biggest spectacle ever seen in the state of Florida. That is until the opening of the theme-park and family attraction that became the standard by which all others are measured. Walt Disney World opened in Orlando on Oct. 1, 1971.
4. End of Cold War (1989)
While the Jets and Colts were battling it out in Miami 53 years ago, the United States and the Soviet Union were vying for world supremacy. The Cold War was a very real concern for more than 40 years. The threat of nuclear war hung over Americans’ heads for decades. The Jets’ Super Bowl drought has gone on even longer.
5. President Barack Obama (2009)
If you had asked Americans in 1969 (or 1979, or 1989, or even 1999) if a Black United States president or a second Jets Super Bowl would happen first, the answer would have been Gang Green. Barack Obama became the 44th U.S. President on Jan. 20, 2009.
6. Twin Towers (1973-2011)
This next moment is in no way intended to be viewed in the light-hearted, whimsical manner as the others. This is a very somber reminder of how precious each moment is and how quickly life can change. The Twin Towers were completed in April 1973 and were briefly the tallest buildings in the world. For nearly 40 years, the Twin Towers were an indelible symbol on the New York City skyline.
After rejecting the idea in 1974, New Jersey voters went to the polls two years later and approved casino gaming in Atlantic City. On May 26, 1978, Resorts International Casino Hotel became the first legal U.S. gambling parlor outside the state of Nevada. For three decades, Atlantic City was the East Coast’s gambling mecca. Resorts Casino Hotel still operates on the World’s Most Famous Boardwalk and annually celebrates the first day of legalized gambling in Atlantic City.
Football moments since New York Jets Super Bowl
Fully recognizing my own bias, I would argue with anyone that the Jets’ Super Bowl victory is largely responsible for the NFL we know and love today.
Even though the NFL-AFL merger had been completed three years prior, there was still a lot of concern about the competitiveness of the “lesser” AFL teams against the “much better” NFL franchises.
The Green Bay Packers thumped the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders in Super Bowls I and II, respectively. The games were total blowouts.
The Jets’ upset of the heavily-favored Colts in SBIII changed the narrative and gave the AFL teams legitimacy.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here is a list of NFL and NYJ moments between 1969 and 2022.
Super Bowl firsts…and then some
As noted above, the Packers won the first two Super Bowl games. The Jets won the third.
Since then, 14 other NFL franchises have won multiple Super Bowl championships. The Packers have also added two more.
Five NFL teams have matched the Jets with one SB title.
The expansion-era Carolina Panthers (1993) have been to more Super Bowl games than the Jets.
AFC Championship games
The Jets have knocked on the door of a second Super Bowl appearance a handful of times.
In the strike-shortened season of 1982, the Jets lost the AFC title game to the rival Miami Dolphins and Dan Marino.
The next bite at the apple was the 1998 season. This is the most painful loss (in my opinion) in the history of the franchise. The Jets lost a heartbreaker to John Elway and the Denver Broncos
Back-to-back AFC Championship appearances in the 2009 and 2010 seasons ended with gut-wrenching defeats. The first was at the hands of Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts. The next season, it was Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Notice a trend here? The Jets lost all four games to Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
John Madden NFL Football (1988)
In honor of the late Hall of Fame coach, broadcaster and trailblazer, this next moment just needs to be here.
The first Madden football game hit the shelves in 1988. The massively popular video game helped the NFL leapfrog Major League Baseball as America’s Pastime.
It also spawned a generation of NFL players obsessed with their own Madden rating.
Darrelle Revis is the only Jets player to ever receive a 99 rating in Madden. The traitorous cornerback (he won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, so he’s dead to me and most Jets fans) earned a 99 rating three times (2011-2013) in New York.
Shea Stadium (1964-1983) / Giants Stadium (1984-2008) / MetLife Stadium (2009-present)
In another black-eye on the Jets franchise, the team has never played in its own stadium. Not once. Not ever.
The Polo Grounds hosted the Jets for a few years. When the Jets won their only Super Bowl in 1969, they were sharing Shea Stadium in Queens with the New York Mets.
Giants Stadium in East Rutherford was built in 1976 and the Jets moved there in 1984 (the year I was born).
Giants Stadium has since been imploded. In its place now stands the soulless MetLife Stadium. The commercial behemoth is, arguably, the ugliest stadium in all professional sports.
Neither the Jets nor New York Giants have anything resembling a home-field advantage there.
Sharing a stadium is stupid. So it makes total sense the Jets share a stadium.
Namath is the only true franchise quarterback in Jets history. The team has struggled for 50-plus years to find anyone capable of leading this downtrodden franchise.
However, there have been a few memorable guys. Ken O’Brien, Boomer Esiason and Vinny Testaverde were all decent QBs for Gang Green.
But get this: the Jets have drafted four QBs in the first round that weren’t even born the last time the team made a Super Bowl.
Chad Pennington (1976), Mark Sanchez (1986), Sam Darnold (1997) and Zach Wilson (1999) were/are starting quarterbacks for the New York Jets selected in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
Lead Image AP