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Jets fans think they are cursed. It's starting to feel like they're right

Uh oh.
Seth Wenig
Uh oh.

Sorry, Jets fans, the hits just keep on coming.

The latest was on Monday night, when quarterback Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon just four plays into his debut with the team. The Jets won, but Rodgers, who signed with the team this summer, will likely be out for the season.

So this one's for you, Jets faithful.

Who are they? The fans.

  • Zack Rosenblatt covers the Jets for The Athletic and was at the game. He told All Things Considered: "In the immediate aftermath, there was definitely a silence, like a weird, like, everybody kind of holding their breath, trying to figure out what was happening. I think everybody's pretty depressed today."

  • "You know, we just spent five months hyping up this team as a Super Bowl contender [and] Aaron Rodgers as quarterback," Rosenblatt said.

  • The news is another blow to fans, some of whom have started to believe the team is cursed. There might be some evidence to support that...

Rodgers in the before times — aka warming up before the game on Monday.
Rusty Jones / AP
Rodgers in the before times — aka warming up before the game on Monday.

What's the big deal?

  • The Jets have not won or played in a Super Bowl since 1969. And Rosenblatt says the "curse" is attributed to the end of Joe Namath's run with the team.
  • Namath led the Jets to their single Super Bowl victory, but since he left in 1977, the Jets have only made the playoffs 12 times.
  • "So Aaron Rodgers kind of represented what [fans] have been seeking for so long, really since they traded for Brett Favre back in 2008, and even that didn't work out," Rossenblatt said. "So he's kind of represented hope that this fan base hasn't really had in a long time."
  • It's not just the constant hoping. The kind of season-ending injury that is threatening Rodgers has happened to multiple Jets quarterbacks:

  1. In 1999, Vinny Testaverde tore his Achilles tendon and was out.
  2. In 2005, a shoulder injury brought starting quarterback Chad Pennington down.
  3. Then — in that same game in 2005 — backup quarterback Jay Fiedler also went down with a season-ending shoulder injury.
  4. In 2008, the Jets came close to joining the playoffs, but Favre's torn bicep hindered his performance. After leaving the Jets, his career improved.

Want more on football? Listen to Consider This on why the NFL still has a diversity problem.

What are fans saying? They are going through the various stages of grief.

There was the hype, followed by the dismay:

There were those who refused to believe it:

Then there was the quiet acceptance:

  • Rosenblatt says some of the problem is on the people at the top of the organization: "A lot of it is, you know, mismanagement, bad coaching or bad roster building. But this was the first time everybody felt pretty good about the roster that was built on the coaching staff in place. And then this happened."

Learn more:

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alejandra Marquez Janse
Alejandra Marquez Janse is a producer for NPR's evening news program All Things Considered. She was part of a team that traveled to Uvalde, Texas, months after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary to cover its impact on the community. She also helped script and produce NPR's first bilingual special coverage of the State of the Union – broadcast in Spanish and English.
Tyler Bartlam
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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