The New York Jets shocked the sports world 45 years ago today, defeating the Baltimore Colts 16-7, a score that will forever be etched in Jets fans minds.
Back then, the Jets were anchored by cocky quarterback Joe Namath and head coach Weeb Ewbank. Now, the Jets are headed by unproven quarterback Geno Smith and some might say unproven head coach Rex Ryan. One relationship between both teams is that Buddy Ryan, Rex’s father, was a defensive assistant for Ewbank that year.
Since then, the Jets have not won a Super Bowl, and Rex is the 12th head coach since Ewbank to try to end the drought. No discredit to Ryan here, as believe it or not, he is regarded as one of the best head coaches in Jets history when you talk about wins, and playoff wins.
With all of this said, 45 years later, how close are the Jets to winning a Super Bowl?
Its tough to tell, as the future at the head coach and quarterback position are unclear besides this upcoming season. The Jets’ defense, other than a few tweaks at the linebacker and secondary position, is a Super Bowl caliber defense, ranking 11 in total defense this past season. The secondary is what really hurt them, but this offseason should solve the problem.
The offense, on the other hand, is far from a Super Bowl caliber offense. However, with the upcoming offseason and the upcoming draft, this problem could be fixed.
Now, to the quarterback position. Smith is still unproven, that is for certain. One can argue he has all the tools to become a legitimate quarterback in the league, and one could argue otherwise. There is no telling whether the Jets will draft a quarterback in this upcoming draft, but they definitely will bring in some competition for Smith. If the Jets want any shot at a Super Bowl run, they need to figure out their quarterback situation and hope either Smith improves greatly, or move on to the next one.
And, finally the head coach. As mentioned earlier, Ryan is one of the best coaches in franchise history, having won the most amount of playoff games out of any Jets head coach. However, some feel that Ryan is more of a defensive-minded coach, which is why the offense has struggled under his rein. The players absolutely love playing for Ryan, so he has that going for him, but now he needs to get all of the fans and the organization personnel on his side, too.
The Jets have a lot of holes, which makes it hard to see them as a Super Bowl caliber team, but with a few moves here and there, and some more consistent improvement, they could definitely see a Super Bowl appearance in the near future.