It should come as no surprise to the football world that the New York Jets are a poorly operated organization. An 0-5 start to 2020 has members of the organization complaining and wanting out. For the most part, some requests have been granted, including Le’Veon Bell and Jamal Adams. The Jets are currently winless at 0-5, but this isn’t the first time they have had a horrible start to a season. Below shows the parallels between the 1996 and 2020 New York Jets.
2020 New York Jets Doomed in Same Ways as in 1996
How 1996 Went So Poorly
For those who are unaware, the Jets have consistently been engulfed in periods of demoralization since Joe Namath‘s Super Bowl victory over the Baltimore Colts in 1969, back when it was the AFL-NFL. Matter of fact, this Super Bowl was pre-Watergate. Since then, there were years of complete and utter disappointment, but none worse than 1996.
That season, which resulted in a 1-15 record, ranks among the worst in NFL history and though there was a bevy of young talent, it was a season that Gang Green would surely love to forget. At the time, they were the fifth team in history to have such a mark. Since then three other teams have fielded the same terrible record. Only the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns would eclipse it by going 0-16.
Where it began going wrong however, was in the 1995 NFL Draft. The Jets chose Penn State tight end Kyle Brady over two Hall of Famers in Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks. Both went on to win a Super Bowl in 2002. In addition, the Jets chose defensive end Hugh Douglas who also made a Super Bowl appearance, albeit with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004. Instead, they could have drafted a Hall of Fame running back like Curtis Martin (who would eventually end up on the Jets) or Terrell Davis. But they didn’t.
But their biggest mistake might have been at the game’s most important position. The Jets chose to pay heavy money to quarterback Neil O’Donnell, who was coming off a bad Super Bowl loss in which he threw two picks in the fourth quarter. He went 0–6 as a starter before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.
2020 Is More of the Same
By taking a look at the Jets in 2020, there seems to be similarities to what went wrong in 1996. For one, like Rich Kotite in 1996, there is now a head coach in Adam Gase who had many people questioning how he got the job. In addition, Sam Darnold, a young and promising quarterback has been left without requisite weapons, just like the 1996 roster. The defense on the other hand, has been suspect all season, but that’s to be expected due to the players that are missing.
The only bright side for the Jets and their fans however, is the fact that the general manager, Joe Douglas, has a load of draft picks working in his favor. He has traded his players for ammunition, which he plans to use in the upcoming draft. The big question however, is what Douglas will do with those picks and Darnold, especially with Trevor Lawrence on the board if the Jets wind up with the first overall pick in next year’s NFL draft.
For the Jets to secure this position however, they will have to beat out a number of struggling teams, including the Atlanta Falcons and the Jets in-building rival New York Giants. Both of those teams are also winless at 0-5.
It’s a sad state of affairs for the 2020 New York Jets. But after 1996, the Jets did make an AFC championship game under Bill Parcells just a few years later. Maybe in a few seasons from now the Jets could do the same if they find the right coach. Only time will tell.