Green with Reason
By Joel Scott
Special to Pro Football Guru
With the start of free agency this week the New York Jets, coming off of a surprising 8-8 campaign, were ready to invest their time and energy towards the feeding frenzy sure to take place on Tuesday afternoon.
After the expected releases of cornerback Antonio Cromartie and wide receivers Santonio Holmes the team cleared close to 40 million in cap space. Anticipation of moves had also come to a fever pitch because the Jets have four selections within the first 100 picks of the upcoming NFL Draft in May.
The reason for this eagerness and downright enthusiasm goes back to the color of the team itself…green.
With the New York Giants not only sharing the New York name but their very stadium as well it is safe to say the Jets are hungry to win again to subvert their city rivals.
The Giants have been to the Jets what the New York Yankees have been to the Mets. An envied franchise with deep roots, organizational stability, and post seasons success. The Jets have no such history or swagger. The Giants and then-Baltimore Colts played the first nationally-televised football game, the 1958 NFL Championship, dubbed the “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”
This was the first postseason game to go into sudden death overtime and was the catalyst to Americans taking real interest in the sport of professional football. Despite losing the game, it cemented the Giants into NFL lore, and made them a household name across the country. The Giants had accumulated four championships before this game (1927, 1934, 1938, & 1956) and have accumulated four titles since.
The Jet Green-colored jealousy is easy to recognize.
Since 1990, the Giants have only four seasons with six wins or less and at their worst, posted a 4-12 record in 2003. Hence, they would swing a trade with the San Diego Chargers in the 2004 NFL Draft for the rights to quarterback Eli Manning. Over these last 24 seasons, the Giants have also had nine double-digit win seasons and won three Super Bowl championships.
During that same time frame, the Jets have totaled nine seasons with six or less wins while posting only five seasons with 10 or more wins. The franchise hit rock bottom in 1996 when they were an embarrassing 1-15.
It’s safe to say that there is almost a tradition of playing catch-up by the Jets’ franchise. Granted, the Giants have been around since 1925 but the Jets (born in 1960 as the New York Titans) have had plenty of time to find their way to consistent relevancy.
That being said, the 2013 season for the Green and White came to an unexpected conclusion. The 8-8 finish was somewhat surprising, especially after the teams was recognized by some as being arguably the worst in the league before the season even started.
With help from this free-agency period, the Jets are looking to get back to winning ways. General manager John Idzik re-signed placekicker Nick Folk, added right tackle Breno Giacomini from the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and also picked up the best wide receiver available in free agency in Eric Decker from the Denver Broncos.
With a sturdy defense already in place and a healthy amount of draft picks the Jets are hoping they can again have a better season than their crosstown competition, which are already making moves of their own.
Joel Scott is a jack of all trades, and a master of none. A self-professed football junkie and elementary school teacher, you can follow Joel on Twitter at @JoelAScott12.