I don’t understand. Did I do something wrong?
I thought I did everything I was supposed to do and they still lost. I woke up early and threw on my jersey, my lucky shirt, lucky shorts, lucky socks and yes, even lucky underwear.
I got in my car and drove an hour to get home just to watch the game at the same bar that I watched every meaningful game of the season.
But, in the end, it wasn’t enough to lift the New York Jets to what could have been their second Super Bowl appearance in team history.
And as I watched Ben Roethlisberger take that final knee to clinch a 24-19 victory and a ticket to the Super Bowl, the feeling of utter disappointment filled my entire body.
It was the kind of feeling you get when your dog passes away.
I started sensing the feeling earlier in the year when the Jets started struggling towards the end of the season, but the playoffs made any sense of that feeling a distant memory.
The feeling wasn’t there when the Jets took down Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round and definitely wasn’t there when the Jets beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the divisional round.
It wasn’t there when the Steelers’ opening drive ate up 10 minutes of the clock and ended in a Rashad Mendenhall touchdown.
Even down 24-3 at halftime, the feeling wasn’t even close to overcoming me because of two reasons. One, I was still hoping my lucky clothes would secure the Jets the W, but second, and more importantly, for once I was finally believing in the Jets.
So, I continued to watch the second half and the Jets started to show some life. They made stops on defense, hit big plays down the field, got a crucial safety and converted necessary fourth down plays.They closed what seemed to be a sure lead down to five points, and the fate of the 2010 Jets’ season seemingly came down to one play. One play, which almost ended with a sack, but ultimately ended with a 13–yard completion to Antonio Brown.
My lucky shirt, lucky shorts, lucky socks and yes, even lucky underwear were not enough to stop Roethlisberger from completing that pass and it was only until after that play that the feeling of disappointment rushed over me and became a reality once again.
My lucky clothes just weren’t enough to erase a 24-point deficit and get the Jets into the Super Bowl.
The truth of the matter is that even though I feel like I am part of the Jets, my lucky clothes aren’t a part of the championship equation. One thing that is a part of that equation is confidence, and the Jets have had plenty of that since Rex Ryan has come to town.
Now, I’ve been hearing this talk about how it was the “same old Jets,” but you know what, that’s just not true.
I never would have thought my lucky clothing would have made a difference for the “same old Jets” and the “same old Jets” wouldn’t have believed in the second half of that game. The “same old jets” would have crumbled and put their tails between their legs at the sight of 24-3.
Sure, these Jets didn’t come away with a victory or a ticket to Super Bowl XLV, just like the “same old Jets,” but they believed, battled back in the second half and if they had gotten the ball back one last time, who knows what would have happened (I say Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes in the back of the end zone for a game-winning touchdown would have happened, but that’s just me).
Right now I feel disappointed, who wouldn’t?
But, I am comfortable knowing that I will be able to replace that feeling of disappointment faster than I ever have before.
The Jets have gained some credibility and are no longer a punchline.
The Jets are no longer taking a backseat to the New York football Giants. The Jets have gone to two AFC Championship games in the last two years, while the Giants have been watching the show from their couches.
There was a time that “Broadway” Joe Namath brought all the eyes on the Jets and Ryan seems to be bringing those eyes back. Namath guarenteed and won the Jets their only Super Bowl, Ryan has come close twice.
I can’t wait to see what Ryan and the Jets will do in year three. My excitement may be misplaced because I don’t know if next year will be as good as 2010 was or if the Jets will get as far as they did this year.
What I do know is that when the 2011 season kicks off, I will be watching in my jersey, my lucky shirt, lucky shorts, lucky socks and yes, even my lucky underwear.
Brandon Gould can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.