On Sunday, Jets fans received a couple of unbelievable belated Christmas presents.
The Jets delivered a thrilling 26-20 OT victory over their hated rival the New England Patriots, but also received help from the Baltimore Ravens who defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, which granted the Jets control of their own playoff destiny.
Yes, a couple of “thank you” notes should be in order. The first one going to Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh for having his MASH Unit full of injured players prepared to beat a very explosive and dangerous Steelers team.
Another thank you note should be sent to the least likely of places. Gillette Stadium, c/o Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick.
Yes, Jets fans. You owe Coach Hoody one.
His inexplicable decision to kick off in overtime set the stage for Ryan Fitzpatrick to march the ball right down the field for a game-winning touchdown while not allowing one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Tom Brady to have a chance to touch the football.
Jets fans shouldn’t apologize for it, you take the perfect storm of events and run with it.
Your team now controls its own playoff destiny and the only thing standing in the way of the first playoff appearance since 2010 is former head coach Rex Ryan and the underachieving Buffalo Bills.
I can sense the tension already talking to Jet fans throughout the week.
Many Jets fans have negative feelings about their team due to many years of heartbreak and a sickness due to the acronym S.O.J.: “Same Old Jets.”
There have been multiple scenarios throughout the years where the Jets have been in similar positions to clinch a postseason spot on the final game of the year.
The negative Jet fans will remember the Lions debacle in 1997 from Bill Parcells’ first season and a Leon Johnson fumble that kept the Jets out of the postseason.
They’ll also remember a Christmas Eve that brought coal in their stocking. The year was 2000 against the Baltimore Ravens, and the Jets needed a win in order to win the AFC East and self-inflicted wounds cost the team a chance to beat one of the best all-time defenses and a trip to the postseason.
Now here’s the good news. The last two examples of the Jets facing “win & in” predicaments in Week 17 have delivered happy memories.
The Jets were successful in both 2006 and 2009 in the final day of the season locking down a playoff berth.
it is going to happen Sunday when the 2015 Jets play the Buffalo Bills.
This Jets team has a lot going for it. They’re well coached, they finally have a quarterback they can trust, they have the best duo of wide receivers they’ve had in a decade, and they feature a defense that is finally starting to dominate and live up to it’s potential.
There’s a lot to like; forget about the demons of years past.
Sunday, the Jets will give you two reasons to smile. They’ll stick it to their former head coach and they’ll make the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.
That’s how you ring in the New Year. Win & In.
JJ’s Week 17 NFL Unlocks
(Season Record: 35-39-4
• Jets -3
• Patriots -9
• Raiders +6.5
• Packers -3
• Broncos -7.5 You can listen to me on WFAN on Thursday from 1 to 6 a.m. & 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday from 2 to 6 a.m., & Tuesday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.