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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Darnold Gives Jets Fans Like Me Hope.

By Jason Klein

Thursday night, I left the Meadowlands with a win.

I’ve walked out of there many times through the years.  This time felt different, though.

Inside, there were no passes thrown, no yards gained and no touchdowns scored.  My team gained no ground in the standings either.

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Sam Darnold – Drafted 3rd Overall By The Jets.

I still left with a win, and it was unlike any victory I’ve experienced in that stadium, or the old one.

I won because I left with hope.

Like, long-term hope. Like, hey, I might have several years of meaningful football ahead of me kind of hope.  Maybe even a decade of hope.  Maybe even more.

Thursday night, I left the Meadowlands after the New York Jets selected Sam Darnold with the 3rd overall pick in the NFL Draft.  I was there, watching along with other Jets fans, at the team’s 2018 Draft Party.  When Darnold put on that crisp Jets cap and held up that green jersey, he immediately became the most promising prospect to play Quarterback for the Jets since Joe Namath left forty years ago.

He was not expected to be available for the Jets to select.  Like so many of the games I’ve watched in that Stadium, I felt Darnold was just a little out of reach. Too good to be true.  Not meant-to-be.

I was wrong.

Somehow, as I watched inside MetLife Stadium, Darnold, arguably the top Quarterback in the draft, miraculously fell into the Jets lap.  This sort of thing doesn’t happen to the Jets. Ever.  This is a team that finds a way to lose, even when they win.  Not this time, though.

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Attending the Jets Draft Party at MetLife Stadium

Mark it down as a “W.”

I’ve waited a long time for this.

I had a Ken O’Brien jersey as a kid.  I traded that for a Boomer Esiason uniform.  Browning Nagle and Glenn Foley were teases.  I never bought into Neil O’Donnell, but I fell hard for Vinny Testaverde and Chad Pennington.  Mark Sanchez brought me closer to a Lombardi Trophy than anyone since Vinny…twice. Ultimately, he had the rug pulled out from under him.  Brett Favre was a gimmick.  Tim Tebow was a distraction.  Geno Smith was never the answer and Ryan Fitzpatrick was a bearded bridge to nowhere.

So many different Quarterbacks through the years.  Some showed the promise to rise above the ineptitude that has so often hampered this organization.  All of them ended up sinking, one way or another, deep into the swamps of Jersey.

Unfulfilled potential. Unfortunate injuries.  Undermined by management.  Unbelievable misfortune.

This is different. Landing Darnold is a franchise-changing victory.

Sure, he could be a bust. He could turn out to be just another name to add to the list of failed Jets Quarterbacks.  We won’t know that for several years.

But, what if he succeeds? What if he’s a true Franchise Quarterback?  What if he leads the Jets to the playoffs?  What if he gets one of those Lombardi Trophies?  What if he gets more?

What if he has a long, historic career for the Jets?  Like, a 10-12 year career?  My daughters are in 2nd grade and pre-school now.  What if Sam Darnold is still the Quarterback of the Jets when they’re in college?  What if?

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Darnold Introduced to New York.

That’s what makes this pick a win. A conquest so different than all the others I’ve seen through the years in East Rutherford, NJ.

It’s the hope.  It’s the optimism.  It’s the faith and belief in my team that I’ve lacked for far too long now.

Sports fans need hope. Without it, what’s the point?  Why spend the time or the money?  Without hope, rooting for a team becomes a robotic ritual. Passionless and pointless.

I want my Sundays in the Fall to matter.  I want to trust in a process and be confident in a plan.

The last few years, I’ve watched this team with indifference.  There seemed to be no strategy for the future. Drafting Sam Darnold changes that.

Drafting Sam Darnold gives me hope.

For me, that’s a win.

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