Congrats on being named captain of your new football team, the New York Jets!
You know, Brett, I’ve been a Jets fan since I was old enough to tune an AM radio. I would take my dad’s ancient portable — the kind that had a separate “fine tuning” knob that didn’t do diddly no matter how much I twiddled it — and I’d place it on the front steps and listen to Marty Glickman describe the action. I’d be in my No. 88 Richard Caster jersey, trying to mimic the action Marty described with my red, plastic pigskin. I practiced being thrown for a 3-yard loss on an awful lot of Sundays in the mid-1970s.
Then my dad managed to finagle season tickets for us for a few years. We’d tailgate with one of his friends who owned a kelly green EcoLine van. He’d tape a white paper Jets logo onto the side of the van for games and tool down the highway like a giant gas-guzzling helmet.
Buzzed on hot dogs, chili and grape Crush, I’d stagger up to our seats in the mezzanine of Shea Stadium. We saw the Sack Exchange lose quite a few games. But we actually saw them win some, too. One year, they even made the playoffs.
Then, Brett, the bastards skipped town. Left us for cleaner restrooms in the swamps of Jersey, no less. They didn’t name the first Turnpike rest stop outside of NYC after Vince Lombardi for nothing all those years ago, those prophetic Garden State horse thieves.
I haven’t been paying too much attention since. That’s fine. Often, our QB would blow out his shoulder or knee early on and we’d be screwed for the whole season. If not, then the opponent’s offense would just have their way with us from Day One like we were teenage Alaskan girls who weren’t taught about birth control by our God-fearin’, gun-totin’, anti-abortion Republican mother who naively thought we’d practice abstinence until marriage. Oops.
The sub-mediocrity freed up many an autumn Sunday over the years. Got lots of things done during those stress-free afternoons. Like re-grouting the showers. De-greasing the garage floor. Cleaning the lint out of the dryer exhaust hose. Might even have enjoyed the sweet lovin’ of my wife a few times, too. Thanks, feeble Gang Green of Yore! Because of you, I didn’t waste too much precious time or hope. I do enough of that on the Internet. And Powerball.
So, Brett — future Hall of Famer, only three-time league MVP and owner of one nastily jewel-encrusted Super Bowl ring — here’s a friendly piece of advice as you embark on your new season:
Don’t screw with me this year, pal. Play like the 1995-97 Packer superstar you still might be or let a linemen grind your ACL into chalk dust before the Week 5 bye rolls around. I’ve got downspouts that need unplugging and repainting.