If anybody’s been betting on the New York Jets at any point since Super Bowl III – when no one had a wager on the 19½-point underdogs – they’d probably do best to keep that frankly bizarre activity to themselves. The truth is that fans of (and bettors on) this franchise since the 1960s have likely been struggling to make a profit off one of the NFL’s most unloved teams…
Since 2002 and the formation of the modern AFC South with the Atalanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Jets are just 2-6 SU/3-4-1 ATS as the visiting team against the four...
For your consideration: The Curse of the Guarantee.
If one applies any sort of objectivity, the list of true honest-to-Lombardi franchise highlights of the New York Jets numbers one. Now admittedly, Joe Namath’s “guaranteed” Jets victory in Super Bowl III over the Baltimore Colts is certainly among the most significant wins in professional football history, but one wonders how many Jets fans (like any under 50 years old) might have traded the single title for a bit more success.
The American Football League introduced a New York team to compete with the NFL and the Giants in football’s biggest market. For the first three seasons, the team was known as the Titans and until the Super Bowl win, as a bastion of mediocrity: In eight years, the team managed a single winning season.
And then Super Bowl III, followed by a 10-4 season and a divisional-round loss, followed by 11 seasons of .500 and under. From time to time, the team has squeaked into the playoffs since 1981 and has gone 9-11 in playoff games, but these oases of okay play are surprisingly isolated in time. No. 6 overall draft pick Richard Todd was handed the keys to the offense after they were snatched out of Namath’s hands in 1977, but it was Joe Klecko, Mark Gastineau and the Jets defense that should get the lion’s share of credit for the playoff runs of 1981 and ’82.
These defenses continued on through to the late 1980s, as ’83 draftee Ken O’Brien took the helm. For the later part of O’Brien’s career, however, and much of the 90s thereafter, times were lean for the Jets, thanks to the repeated comically bad choices at NFL drafts. And then, finally (or so they thought) … Bill Parcells, a guy who’d already taken one Lombardi with the Giants and been to another Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, was hired as head coach to finally make the Jets champions again. Only, the usual happened between Parcells and authority and after one AFC championship game appearance sandwiched by two sub-.500 seasons, he was gone. Parcells’s total mark with the Jets: 30-20 SU/30-19-1 ATS.
The Jets’ next brush with success came under the watch of head coach Rex Ryan got them to back-to-back appearances in the final game after the 2009 and ’10 seasons, but Ryan stayed on as head coach for four more years in which the Jets regressed to their losing ways, including three seasons with bottom-five offenses and a bottoming-out (so to speak) with the Butt Fumble. Ryan’s total mark with the Jets: 50-52 SU/ 50-49-3 ATS.
After Ryan’s departure in 2014, things have returned to normal for the Jets: From 2015 through ’21, New York had six seasons of below .500 ball and five seasons of 10 or more losses.
The question remains: What exactly did Namath do to get that Jets’ Super Bowl win…?
The largest bet ever made on the New York Jets? Easy: The wager that QB Joe Namath placed on his team to beat outright the 17½-point favorite Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. At least outwardly, Broadway Joe wagered his reputation by guaranteeing the Jets victory to media several times prior to the game. Behind the scenes, we’re thinking he met Lucifer at the crossroads and sold the Jets’ future for his Lombardi Trophy. How else to explain the 342-430-2 (.443) regular-season record in the 50 seasons after the Super Bowl win, not to mention a 10-13 SU (but 13-10 ATS!) playoff mark…