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
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
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.
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.