Flail Mary just latest miserable moment for beleaguered Jets fans

Flail Mary just latest miserable moment for beleaguered Jets fans

The funny thing is — well, maybe “funny” isn’t the right word — all across Jets fandom, they could see what was about to happen before it actually happened.

Already I’ve heard from dozens of Jets fans — friends, family members, readers — who knew, just knew, the very moment Tim Boyle’s halftime Hail Mary dropped into Jevon Holland’s arms at the 1-yard line, that something nutty was going to happen.

In real time, this from a group thread I’m on:

Friend 1: I’d take a knee here.

Friend 2: You absolutely have to take a knee here.

Friend 3: Why are they doing this?

Friend 1: No! No! Nooooooo!!!!!

A few minutes later, after snapping out of an extended catatonic state, Friend 2 wrapped things up nicely: “The Jetsiest thing I’ve ever seen in a lifetime of seeing Jetsiest things.”

How could any Jets fans forget Gang Greens’ infamous Buttfumble game
on Thanksgiving night on Nov. 22, 2012? This, Jets fan memorialized it
by making it the name on his jersey.

Now, a disclaimer: Every fan of every team can list their top-five heartbreaks, their top-five weird moments, their top-five hard-to-believe plays.

No fan base has enjoyed more success than Yankees fans, and even they can recall — fairly, I might add — 5 or 10 or 15 moments when it was quite apparent that the sporting gods had officially turned on them.

Still ….

Jets fans, at the least, have the most eclectic variety of moments such as these.

Let’s revisit a few along the way, listed chronologically but ranked from one to five Benignos — in honor of the man who’s seen, and suffered through, all of them.

Henry Ruggs III beat Lamar Jackson for a long touchdown catch with five seconds left to give the Raiders a 31-28 comeback win over the Jets in a 2020 clash. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

  • Dec. 6, 1970: An oldie but a goodie. Jets fans had lived a charmed life till that point, even as the ’70 season had disintegrated thanks to a Joe Namath injury. On this day, they were about to win a fourth straight game, against the hated Raiders, as Daryle Lamonica heaved a Hail Mary with the Jets winning 13-7. It went off Earlie Thomas’ fingers … and right into Warren Wells’ hands. Raiders 14, Jets 13. And somewhere in Jersey a young fan undoubtedly declared, “Oh … the pain.” TWO BENIGNOS.
  • Dec. 27, 1981: The Jets’ version of the Endy Chavez Game. Down 24-0 in their first playoff game in 12 years, they’d somehow roared back to within 31-27 and Richard Todd was on fire, picking apart the Bills secondary for what was sure to be a climaxing drive … until Bill Simpson picked him off, and the balloon popped at Shea. THREE BENIGNOS.
  • Jan. 3, 1987: The Jets were minutes away from upsetting Cleveland and earning a ticket to the AFC title game in Denver. They had Bernie Kosar on the run, and he’d just thrown incomplete on second-and-17 … then Mark Gastineau flattened him, way late. The Browns would win in double-overtime, 23-20. FIVE BENIGNOS
  • Nov. 27, 1994: The Jets were trying to reach first place at 7-5, they had the Dolphins down 24-21 … then Dan Marino executed his Fake Spike, hit Mark Ingram for the game-winner, and the Jets never won again. FOUR BENIGNOS.
  • Jan. 15, 2005: Twice in the last two minutes, Doug Brien had reasonable kicks that would’ve sent the Jets past the 15-1 Steelers and into the AFC Championship game. But he missed from 47 and 43 yards. Jeff Reed didn’t miss from 33 yards out in OT. Steelers 17, Jets 14. FIVE BENIGNOS.
  • Nov. 22, 2012: One word: Buttfumble. The season was already a mess at 4-6. This play — and this 49-19 Thanksgiving Night humiliation by the Patriots — just exacerbated it all. THREE BENIGNOS.
  • Dec. 6, 2020: A nice full-circle moment. Exactly 50 years to the day after Lamonica-to-Wells the Raiders did it again, this time Derek Carr hitting Henry Ruggs III for 46 yards with 5 seconds left for a 31-28 Raiders win, one added indignity to a 2-14 season. THREE BENIGNOS
  • Honorable mention: Only the diehards probably know that the Jets are the only team in NFL history to provide four separate one-win teams with their only wins of the season: the ’68 Bills, ’72 Oilers, ’80 Saints and ’91 Colts. TWO BENIGNOS.

Doug Brien looks down at the ground after missing his second field goal in the
fourth quarter in the Jets’ crushing 17-14 loss to the Steelers in the AFC divisional
round in 2005.New York Post

Vac’s Whacks

I’m pretty sure the NFL would’ve flexed this Giants-Patriots game to Tuesday at midnight if they could have.

As French buzz goes, I have to say I’m hearing a lot more favorable reviews surrounding Victor Wembanyama than “Napolean” so far, for what it’s worth.

This was supposed to be a part of my Thanksgiving column, and somehow I forgot to type the words. But they remain true as always: Few things sound better to these ears than Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw doing a basketball game together.

Every time I see Patrick Mahomes (bottom left) doing Patrick Mahomes things in Kansas City, and Tyreek Hill (right) doing Tyreek Hill things in Miami, I can’t help but think that was the most depressing breakup since Lucy and Desi parted ways.

Whack Back at Vac

Jerry Jacobs: Can’t wait for James Dolan to pull a Gregg Popovich and threaten to clear out the Garden for booing him.

Vac: I envision J.D. seeing that and feeling what Ben Franklin’s contemporaries felt like when he discovered electricity.

Joe Napoleone: As a newspaper man, maybe you can confirm the rumor I’ve been hearing that both the Giants’ and Jets’ offensive lines are about to be indicted for involuntary manslaughter?

Vac: Can confirm.

@eluvah: Happy Thanksgiving, Mike. I am thankful for Sam Rosen calling Rangers games for all these years and would like him to take a bow instead.

@MikeVacc: I am as well, and it was a profound oversight on my part that I omitted Sam and Kenny Albert both from my Thanksgiving Day list of local kids who made good behind the mic. That’s a five-minute major penalty by me. 

Sam RosenCharles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Vincent Ruggiero: Sadly, your list of Jets quarterbacks only further emphasizes how underwhelming the position has been over five decades and counting. Zach Wilson can take a minuscule measure of comfort in knowing he has a lot of company in that regard.

Vac: I’m not sure what was more surprising: that Ray Lucas checked in at No. 10 on the list … or that I didn’t receive a peep of complaint that Lucas was No. 10 on the list.