Chad Pennington had his sweet revenge on Eric Mangini and the New York Jets as the Miami Dolphins won the AFC East with a 24-17 victory.
And so the much-publicized story of the 2008 New York Jets’ season comes to the most dramatic end one could possibly imagine.
Unfortunately, the story was the same as it has been over the last month for New York—Brett Favre made terrible throws, the defense looked unprepared, and opportunities to change the game were left on the field.
The better team won.
Miami’s season will continue into the playoffs for the first time since the 2001 season, with a legitimate opportunity at the Super Bowl.
Hindsight is 20/20
Chad Pennington effectively made the entire New York Jets organization look stupid.
There’s no kind way to say it. He was supposed to be the quarterback that couldn’t get it done in high-pressure situations, and left his best football behind him—two repaired shoulders ago.
Being the resilient man he is, he’s made all of us look foolish for ever questioning if he should even be the starter in 2008.
Given the information, Pennington was the quarterback who folded in must-win games, was benched halfway through 2007, and whose check-down routes were often jumped by waiting defensive backs.
That was the Pennington reality after 2007. Anyone that says otherwise is a liar.
With his Dolphins completing a historic turnaround and heading to the playoffs, every single one of the Jets’ faithful is hanging their heads in shame.
Not everyone was excited for the Brett Favre move. But fans rolled with the team as expectations grew.
The trade can now be considered an irrefutable failure. Not because of Pennington’s success, but because of Favre’s inability to play like the Hall of Fame quarterback he’s supposed to be.
Favre fans will do their best to shift the blame to the Jets receivers, to the playcalling, and anything else that doesn’t effect the way he throws the ball. He led the league in interceptions—again.
The veteran playmaker was supposed to be the man to put the Jets over the top. Now Jets’ fans are looking at an offseason at one of their most emotion low-points since being eliminated from the playoffs in 1998.
Eric Mangini’s Future
In an interview with SNY after the game, Jets’ owner Woody Johnson refused to give a glowing endorsement of Eric Mangini and his future with the team.
When asked, Johnson said Mangini’s future is something they “will be taking a look at” and a decision will be reached before the end of the week.
With one year left on his contract, some would expect Mangini to finish out his final season and produce some kind of results. However, after being given a team with so much talent and personnel he selected, there will be legitimate questions as to whether or not he should return as the Jets coach.
Playoffs Were Gone Before the Opening Kickoff
The Jets needed help to make it to the playoffs. But the playoffs were out of reach since the beginning of December.
It doesn’t matter that New England defeated Buffalo at home. And it definitely doesn’t matter that Baltimore steamrolled Jacksonville like a team that wanted to go to the playoffs.
It is absolutely inexcusable for an 8-3 football team to finish the season at 9-7.
Anyone watching closely will tell you that it appears as if New York’s Super Bowl happened in New England when they defeated the Patriots in overtime.
Momentum carried them through Tennessee, but the Jets couldn’t finish the season.
After those games, the offense had been figured out, the defense began to look tired, and the decisions made by the coaching staff weren’t those of men trying to win.
The creativity was gone, aggression was non-existent, and the Jets will be watching the playoffs from home this season.
On the bright side: New England will be, too.