It seems like a millennium ago that Herman Edwards was talking about winning 10-plus games and contending for the NFL championship every year and players were encouraged to vocalize their Super Bowl aspirations.
Now as the Jets crawl into their bye-week practices on a four-game losing streak, all that’s realistically left is to try to party like it’s 1999.
You remember that lost season. In the second quarter of the first game, a key offensive player went down. Every week something else went wrong. A new, younger, more raw, but more fiery quarterback got his first pro start in October. Still, this presumed Super Bowl contender had only one win through Halloween.
Sound familiar, Jets fans?
But it was a tribute to coach Bill Parcells, his staff, and his players that those Jets salvaged their pride, if nothing else, with a 7-2 finish for an 8-8 season.
While Gang Green fans have every right to be skeptical about this year, these Jets are better than those Jets, and they aren’t as far gone yet. And the good thing is, the current team shares the same attitude as the 1999 unit. It’s a start.
…There were good omens against Kansas City. The offense was its liveliest of the regular season, in equal parts from Chad Pennington, a latter-day Ray Lucas, making his first pro start and Curtis Martin playing his best game of the season.
— Randy Lange, The Record “The ship needn’t be sinking yet”
Heading into their bye week at 1-4, the Jets finished the 2002 season at 9-7 and winning the AFC East on tiebreakers to qualify for the playoffs.