Never woeful enough to be a Cincinnati Bengals-style punchline, never good enough to be a Pittsburgh Steelers-style model franchise, the New York Jets have spent the majority of their 50 seasons just sort of puttering around, waiting for something happen. Occasionally the approach pays off and the Jets make the playoffs. Most of the time it doesn't, and the team goes a decade without drafting a single good player.
The Jets' brand of bland incompetence has never played well with New York sports fans. Since Noxema-hawking, fur-wearing signal-caller Joe Namath departed the team in 1976, the quarterback position has been manned by fettuccine-armed retreads. The best player in franchise history--running back Curtis Martin--suffered from the dual affliction of being both criminally underrated and too level-headed to raise much of a fuss about it. Their most devoted fans are widely assumed to be tollbooth workers.
But with the team set to play in its second AFC title game in as many years Sunday, attitudes are shifting. The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay takes stock of Gang Green's bright new wonderful:
Being a Jets fan—a true Jets fan, not someone who hopped on after 'Hard Knocks'—is not a stylish move. Historically, it's been more of an affliction than a passion. Reasonable people try to fight it.
Now it's different. The agony is dwarfed by the ecstasy. The Jets are a rowdy pleasure. It's still messy, ugly and controversial, but if you're a longtime sufferer, take a mental picture. These are the glory days...The brash green team the rest of America despises is a win away from the Super Bowl.
Now the Shiraz and smoked Gouda crowd is hopping on the bandwagon, in their Moncler jackets and Sorel boots. The Jets are hotter than the Verizon iPhone, Black Swan, and 'The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.'
We live in a Brooklyn neighborhood where there is one authentic KLECKO-jersey, stand-outside-and-smoke-Camel-Lights, non-ironic mustache Jets bar. It's surrounded by a zillion hipster restaurants that get tons of drooling press.
Guess what's suddenly the new weekend hot spot in the 'hood? On Sunday, that Jets joint should charge anyone with a carefully-considered haircut a $150 cover.
And then maybe get Jay Cutler to make fun of their flannel shirts.