New York Jets fans like to shout J-E-T-S to show their affection for the local pro football club. They hope that new quarterback Tim Tebow, he of the holier-than-thou personal image and the questionable football-passing reputation, will be the squad's savior this fall.
The J-E-T-S need all the help they can get — either on the football field or from sovereign powers. The team had a sub-par 2011 season, missing the playoffs despite the boastful predictions of its blustery coach Rex Ryan.
Making matters worse for the diehards, the local enemy — the crosstown New York Giants — actually won the Super Bowl. The Giants success merely added to the J-E-T-S fans' gloomy feelings of being second-class citizens right there in their native football town. Not fair!
As if that wasn't galling enough, the team that the Giants beat in the Super Bowl just happened to be the New England Patriots, the Jets bitter rivals in the AFC East division. Clearly the ragamuffin Jets needed some divine intervention.
But Tebow and his fellow Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez have played poorly in the preseason, giving the team's fans more reasons to feel pessimistic than optimistic.
Tebow has been massively criticized for his inability to throw graceful forward passes. He is more of a running threat, a departure for a traditional NFL quarterback. But remember, we've already established that the Jets need all the help they can get — and if Tebow can provide reasons to be cheerful, that's grand.
This summer, the Jets were so awful on offense that they became the first NFL team in 35 years to play three exhibition games without scoring a touchdown. True, you can say till your blue in the face that preseason games don't count in the standings, so who cares about the stats? Still you want your fans to feel hopeful heading into the demanding 16-game regular season.
The J-E-T-S franchise hasn't captured the Super Bowl since Jan. 12, 1969, when quarterback Joe Namath led one of the greatest sports upsets of all time. The so-loyal Jets fans can think back to that golden Sunday in Miami and inwardly smile, at the memory of the day when their guys shocked the football world and made all of the team's fans forever feel proud at a stunning job very well done.
Of course, the cynics will point out that the Jets have been so futile since then that the franchise hasn't even been able to send one team back to the Super Bowl at all!
To put the Jets' Super Bowl III victory in proper perspective, consider that Richard Nixon hadn't yet been sworn in as the nation's POTUS, the Vietnam War was raging and dividing the country, and Bill Russell was in the process of leading the Boston Celtics to yet another NBA title. Yes, it was a very, very long time ago — just ask any fan of the New York J-E-T-S.
Can Tebow help change that?
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution," which is now available. Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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