Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jets In The Clouds

The Amazin' Jets?

You bet. By reaching the playoffs. By winning their first-rounder in Cincy. By sticking it to San Diego in Sunday’s second-rounder.

The Jets have fans like me flush with green bliss.

Watching the Sanchise tame the Bengals two straight weeks trumped Broadway Joe in one respect. Namath faced the Oakland Raiders twice in the 1968 American Football League season and could only split.

Only? What Joe Willie did was lose the Heidi Game, then black out Oakland in the AFL final. That gave New York a ticket to the Super Bowl, where Namath backed his guarantee with football's greatest upset, beating Baltimore 16-7.

The Jets looked Super in their all-white unis and helmets that sport the second coolest NFL logo after the Colts' horseshoe. And haven't won a championship since.

Buddy Ryan was an assistant coach on those Jets. His son Rex is head coach of these Jets. And made a Namath-like call heading into this month's playoffs. "We should be the favorites," Rex said two weeks ago.

Now here the Jets are calling out the Colts again, this time for the AFC championship.

Even if the Jets don’t make it to the Feb. 7 Super Bowl — in Miami, just like 41 years ago — they've been the shock of early 2010. What other surprises can we expect the following 11 months?

February: Lindsey Vonn. As the Olympics hit the snow of Vancouver midmonth, the Babe of Burnsville, Minn., hopes to shed memories of 2006. That's when she crashed while training for the Torino Games and failed to win a medal. Since then, she's skied past them all on the World Cup circuit. Will she come through in Canada? Yes.

March: Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino Fist is coming off a battered eardrum during his otherwise safe pounding of Miguel Cotto last November. With that injury, PacMan is sure to be shaky as he enters the ring against a gun from Ghana named Joshua Clottey. Nah. Pacquiao will somehow pull the trigger on this triumph in Texas in time to return home and win in the political arena.

April: Mizzou. My Tigers own exactly one national championship. It came in baseball in 1954. Now make it two, with the Tigers leaping atop the Final Four in Indy.

May: Andrew Bynum. I've been on a trade-Drew campaign recently. Now he makes me and fellow naysayers look silly by standing tall for the Lakers. Right in the thick of the NBA playoffs.

June: Jo-Willie Tsonga. The Muhammad Ali double jabbed to the 2008 Aussie final, but needs a knockout to put him on tennis' list of big hits. He'll swing his way there with a Paris-poppin' performance in the French Open.

July: Lance Armstrong. He pedals all the way back to the peak — over the Alps and into Paris to grip his eighth Tour de France championship. And we thought he really was done after his seventh straight Tour title in 2005.

August: Tiger Woods. Gotta admit I loved seeing this stealth thug mug himself with his thong chasing. But kiss off his career? No way. Thanks to his new sex appeal, Tiger will roar beyond the rough. In time to win the PGA in Wisconsin.

September: Justine Henin. The Belgian Waffles keep stacking up tennis titles. Kim Clijsters won the U.S. Open in 2005, retired a couple of years later, changed her mind, then won it again in 2009. Henin also owns two Open crowns. Her last came in 2007. The next year she left the court as No. 1 in the world. Now she's back and conquers New York for Open trophy No. 3.

October: Garrett Gilbert. No one but his family heard of this alliterative ace. Until he almost won college football's national title game to start the year. Now the Texas quarterback's in his second season. Or in the vernacular of the TV dopes, a true sophomore. And winging the Longhorns past Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout.

November: The Mets. No way they'll let the Jets steal the Amazin' tag all year. New York's National Leaguers claimed that crown in 1969. Now they wear it again, with Carlos Beltran joining Jason Bay in time to power atop the World Series.

December: Pacquiao-Mayweather. Just when you thought this megabout was KO'd, off the deck it comes. Only kidding, says Pretty Boy Floyd after his drug slap at PacMan. The Filipino isn't laughing. He bloodies Floyd's smirk and perfect record. Now Pacquiao stands 52-3-2, on top of the world. And waving bye to boxing.

Bucky Fox is an author and editor in Southern California who runs

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