Old Jets Logo Was Cool…Like Kevin Arnold.

By Jason Klein

I always thought Kevin Arnold was the coolest.

He had Winnie Cooper, but more importantly, he had that vintage New York Jets jacket.

Played by Fred Savage, Kevin was the star of The Wonder Years, a family

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Kevin Arnold Had Winnie Cooper…and That Jets Jacket.  So Cool.

comedy/drama that was “appointment TV” for me from 1988-1993.  Well before Netflix or Prime, I made sure I was in front of a TV when it aired each week.  Back then, the only thing streaming were tears…each time an episode’s moral tugged at your heartstrings.

Change was a central theme of the story that took place during the turbulent late 60s and early 70s. There were political changes, social changes, and tons of personal changes that Kevin experienced over the show’s 6-year run.

Through it all, one thing remained constant for Kevin.

That Jets jacket.

I loved that jacket. There was something so endearing about it.  The Jets have never really had a place among pop culture.  Their players didn’t star in commercials.  Musicians or rappers never performed in Jets jerseys or caps.  The Jets were never even the most popular football team in their own city.  Yet, there was the star of a primetime network hit wearing a Jets jacket every week.

Taking place between 1968-1973, Kevin’s jacket featured the logo made famous during

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Joe Namath – Super Bowl III.

Super Bowl III.  It was the same emblem Joe Namath wore the day he wagged that finger and delivered a Lombardi Trophy.  Namath was always so cool.  With that Jets logo on his jacket, so was Kevin Arnold.

As it turns out, Broadway Joe will be the only quarterback to ever win a title with that logo on his helmet.

That’s a guarantee.

Later today, change is coming to the New York Jets.  At 7:30 PM, Gang Green will introduce a new uniform and logo.  It will be the team’s first wardrobe change since 1998.  That’s when Bill Parcells pulled a Marty McFly and went Back to the Future – bringing those famous Super Bowl III jerseys back.

They wore the throwbacks for 21 seasons, but could never repeat what Namath did.

Vinny Testaverde got close, once.  Mark Sanchez had two shots at immortality, but came up short.  Even Chad Pennington made 3 playoff appearances in those Namath-style threads, but his ring finger remained bare, like the Jets trophy case over the last 50 years.

Maybe change is good. Perhaps a new identity will turn the tide, improve karma and provide some positive feng shui over in East Rutherford.

With a new head coach and two young cornerstone players in Sam Darnold and Jamal Adams, this feels like the right time to move forward with a renewed identity.

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Sam Darnold Wearing Old Jets Logo.

Still, there’s something special about continuity and tradition.

I watched Derek Jeter win five World Series in the same uniform my dad once watched Mickey Mantle win in.  Now, my daughters see Aaron Judge try to do the same thing.  The generations change, but the pinstripes never do.

There are rumors, and unconfirmed leaks on Twitter, that suggest this Jets update will maintain some elements of the old logo.  I’d like that.  We’ll know for sure after tonight.

If I can’t have that classic logo, or Winnie Cooper for that matter, I’ll take a Super Bowl victory in whatever uniform they trot out tonight.

That would be cool.

Even cooler than Kevin Arnold.

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Like Parcells, Gase Has Chance To Change Jets Identity, 50 Years After Super Bowl III

By Jason Klein

Fifty years.

That’s how long it’s been since the New York Jets won a Super Bowl.

Hell, that’s how long it’s been since they even appeared in the big game.

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of Super Bowl III.  January 12, 1969 is this team’s identity.  It’s the defining moment in their franchise’s history and it happened 50 years ago today.

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Parcells Took Over in 1997.  Gase Gets His Shot in 2019.

Yes.  Fifty!

Imagine being best known for something you accomplished a half century ago.

When will the narrative change?  Well, it’s been 22 years since their last, best chance.  In 1997, after winning just 4 of their previous 32 games, the Jets hired the coach they thought could rescue them from irrelevance and completely change everything.  This week, they did it again.

Tuna then. A Dolphin now.

There are a lot of similarities between what Bill Parcells faced in 1997 and what former Miami Head Coach, Adam Gase is about to take on.

Both inherited a floundering Jets franchise in desperate need of a new beginning.

Parcells’ rescue mission followed the team’s historically horrible two-year run from 1995-1996.  He began the makeover in his second season by introducing new uniforms.  He brought back a modern version of the team’s jerseys worn between 1964-1977, a tribute to that only Super Bowl team in franchise history.

Next, he added a ton of new players.  Game-changing players.  Names like Curtis Martin, Kevin MawaeKeith Byars and Bryan Cox.  They brought a new attitude and gave the team instant credibility.

Finally, he found a top-level Quarterback.  Vinny Testaverde arrived, leading the Jets to a Division Title, a 12-4 record and a trip to the AFC Championship Game.  Though they fell one win short of a Super Bowl appearance, the team had clearly turned a corner.

When Gase is introduced as the new HC of the NYJ on Monday afternoon, he’ll also inherit a team coming off a historically horrible run.  Over the last three seasons, they’ve won just 14 of their previous 48 games.

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Sam Darnold Hopes To Be First Jets QB Since Joe Namath To Win a Super Bowl For Jets.

Like Parcells, Gase will attempt to change the team’s identity.

New uniforms are coming this spring.  With the third overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and close to $100M in cap space, Gase and GM Mike Maccagnan must find new, game-changing players like Parcells once did.  Lucky for Gase, he’s already got the QB in Sam Darnold.

Both Parcells and Gase took over Jets teams at pivotal junctures in franchise history.  They were both hired by questionable ownerships with limited football knowledge.  Gase also takes on an angry, skeptical fanbase who is tired of losing, just as Parcells did.

Parcells was able to quickly flip the script and almost get that elusive second Lombardi Trophy for the Jets.  Now Adam Gase has his chance.

“I’m excited about him coming,” said Joe Namath, the man under center 50 years ago today.  “I believe he can do it.”

If he does, according to acting owner, Christopher Johnson, he’ll be a “Freaking Legend.”  It’s been a freaking long time since this team had any real legends to celebrate.

Fifty years, to be exact.

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Like Namath, Rex Ryan Intends To Keep His Promise

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 1/12/11

Joe Namath once guaranteed Super Bowl triumph, and delivered.

Rex Ryan pledged the same thing two years ago.  His quest continues Sunday in Foxboro against the Patriots in their AFC Divisional Playoff Game.

Rex Ryan Looks To Deliver a Title for the Jets

Forty-two years ago today, January 12, 1969, “Joe Willie” made good on his promise, defeating the Baltimore Colts16-7 in Super Bowl III.  Not since then have the Jets had a personality quite as colorful or brash.

Since his arrival in New York, prior to the 2009 season, Rex Ryan hasn’t been coy with his intentions.  He doesn’t just want to win a Super Bowl.  He plans on it.

During his introductory press conference, he assured Jets Nation of a pending trip to the White House following a title run.  This summer, he even hand signed an ESPN Tour Bus with an inscription of, “Soon to be Champs.” Ryan is ultra-confident and doesn’t care who he offends.

“I’m not apologizing,” he said this past August.  “I just know what’s going to happen.  My crystal ball, I’m seeing a Super Bowl trophy in there.  I could be wrong, but that’s what I see.  But every time I go to work, that’s what I look at.”

Ryan can thank Namath for the trophy he ogles over each day in Florham Park.  For forty-two years, that Lombardi Trophy has stood alone.  Ryan insists he is the green & white Messiah to add another to the collection.

He faces, perhaps, his biggest challenge this weekend.  Coming off of an embarrassing 45-3 Monday Night Football thrashing last month, Ryan knows this rematch with New England will not be easy.  However, he’ll tell anyone who will listen of his plans to pull off the upset and even out-coach the former HC of the NYJ, Bill Belichick.

His bluster might seem dumb, or even reckless on the surface, but Rex Haters must understand one thing:  he just doesn’t spew anything without purpose.

Right or wrong, and always controversial, Rex Ryan takes calculated risks with each bold statement he dangles to the media.  His intentions are almost always targeted at taking pressure off his players and coaches, and putting it squarely on his own shoulders.

It’s hard to argue with the results.  In two years, Ryan has posted an impressive 20-12 regular season record, made an appearance in the AFC Championship Game, and won a total of 3 playoff games (so far), more than any other Jets Head Coach in history.

Love him or hate him, Rex Ryan delivers.  If he can pull three more victories out of his Jets cap this year, and make good on his promise, he’ll own New York.

Just like “Joe Willie” did, forty-two years ago today.

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Torch in Sanchez’s Hands Now

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 9/15/09

The torch has been passed.  Now, let’s see how far the kid can run with it.

Prior to making his first professional start, New York Jets rookie Quarterback, Mark Sanchez met up with the only man to ever lead the franchise to a Super Bowl – Joe Namath.  For over forty years now, long-time suffering Jets fans have savored Joe Willie’s performance in Super Bowl III, speaking glowingly about the iconic figure and his positive contribution to an otherwise abysmal team history.  Sunday at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX, Namath informed Sanchez that it’s time to move on.

“…this isn’t about me anymore.  It’s about you,” he told Sanchez.

With that, a new era of New York Jets football began.  Jets 24, Texans 7.

Sanchez was confident and efficient, throwing for 272 yards including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Chanci Stuckey.  He was masterful under pressure, converting 10 of 18 third downs.  He exhibited great mobility in the pocket, and excellent decision making throughout.  Sanchez’s play, coupled with a pair of big runs from Thomas Jones, and Rex Ryan’s“Ravenous” defensive scheme, left Jets fans giddy at what the future might bring.  His quick start was reminiscent of the way another former New York rookie began his storied career.

Thirteen years ago, with similar poise and passion to what Sanchez displayed yesterday, Derek Jeter wrote the first chapter of his legendary career.  Now the all-time Yankees hits leader, Derek Jeter began his 1996 rookie season in Cleveland with a home run and a pair of dazzling plays at short stop.  The sky was the limit that day, and for over a decade, Jeter has been as good as advertised.

He further solidified his legacy on Friday night by passing Lou Gehrig’s hits total.  On Sunday, the fiery kid from SoCal began writing his own legacy, chasing Broadway Joe along the way.

One game into “Matinee” Mark’s career, he looks up for the challenge…even if it was only one game.

“It isn’t fair to anyone to judge a young quarterback after one game,” Namath said.  “Even if it was a really good game…what I saw was a kid who was ready.”

The kid was ready, and so are Jets fans.

In 1996, the Yankees, with a new manager (Torre) and a new leader(Jeter), built on chemistry carried over from the previous regime to capture the team’s first title in 18 years.  It’s been over forty years without a Jets Super Bowl victory.  Could a new coach (Ryan) and a new leader (Sanchez) do the trick for Gang Green too?  Jets faithful burn for another title run – time will tell if Sanchez can light that fire with his new torch.

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Easy to Forget the Real Super Bowl III Jets

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 8/26/09

The 1969 New York Jets were as smooth as Joe Namath’s flowing brown locks.

Forty years later, as the 2009 Jets prepare for opening day, that legendary club remains the signature team for an otherwise frustrating franchise.  Everything went right that season for the green and white, the story is part of the fabric that makes up the NFL.  Back in 1969, as everyone knows, the New York Jets tore through their schedule, dominated the competition, and then, in dramatic fashion…lost to the Kansas City Chiefsin the Divisional Round of the Playoffs?

Huh?

No upset for the ages?  No merging of the leagues?  No guarantee?

No, actually, all of that happened the previous January during Super Bowl III, the culmination of the 1968 season.  It was the 1968 team that overcame the odds and defeated the Baltimore Colts 16-7.  That’s the club deserving of all the accolades so often misdirected towards the team from the 1969 season.  Confused?  Where did things get mixed up?

Every season, the NFL declares its champion during the Super Bowl – typically held in January (sometimes February) of the following calendar year.  However, this scheduling snafu has rarely caused any confusion…except in the case of the often overlooked 1968 New York Jets.

For instance, the 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to complete a perfect season.  Yet, they won the Super Bowl played in January of 1973.  At last check, no one has ever referred to the ’73 Dolphins as Perfect – that team lost in the Super Bowl to the Minnesota Vikings in January of 1974.

Every Giants fan lives by their 1986 and 1990 Championship teams – even though both of those title games were played in 1987 and 1991respectively.

Take it a step further: Slumdog Millionaire, deemed the top film of 2008, was crowned during the Academy Awards ceremony held in February of 2009 – the following year.  Yet, years from now, film aficionados will refer to Slumdog as the Picture of the Year for 2008, not 2009.

So why are the 1968 Jets almost always referred to as the 1969 club?  Ever see a 1968 Team Signed New York Jets helmet for sale, advertised as such?

It’s possible it has something to do with the symmetry of winning during the same calendar year as the ’69 Amazin’ Mets and ’69 Knicks.  New York sports fans will always have a soft spot in their heart for that year of gluttonous winning – still no excuse for inaccuracy.

In 2008, the Jets wore a commemorative patch to honor the 40thAnniversary of the Super Bowl III team – mathematical recognition appropriate for the 1968 club, and further confirmation of the championship team’s true identity.

Regardless, forty years without a championship is a painfully long time to wait for such a devoted fan base.  When Gang Green finally gets to hoist that Lombardi Trophy for the second time in franchise history, it will be a day, and a year, that no Jets fan will soon forget.

Make no mistake about it.

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