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Reliving the Jets’ failures in trying to find the next Namath.

On April 8, 1976, a young fan sat in the balcony of the Roosevelt Hotel on 45th street, clutching a sign with “N.Y. Jets don’t blow it! Take Todd in the 1st” written in green and red bubble letters. When NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle got to the microphone to announce the Jets’ pick, he started...
Time: 02:00     Date: 22.04.2018
Last US Sport News: Reliving the Jets’ failures in trying to find the next Namath. NY Post 24 - US News

When NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle got to the microphone to announce the Jets’ pick, he started with, “New York Jets first-round selection,” and then he paused and looked up at that young fan with a smile, pointed and made a clicking sound with his mouth, “Richard Todd, quarterback, Alabama.”

That was 42 years ago, and it marked the beginning of the Jets’ search for a replacement for Joe Namath. That pursuit continues this Thursday night when current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces who the Jets have selected with the No. 3-overall pick. Baker Mayfield? Josh Rosen? Sam Darnold? Josh Allen?

Whoever it is, they will soon learn the weight of what their task will be — ending four decades of mainly futility at the Jets’ quarterback position. Sure, there were some good years sprinkled in, but the bad memories of Jets quarterback play in that time far outweigh the good.

It is a pressure that can crush the wrong quarterback and has. The job comes with an unrelenting spotlight that can make you curse out a fan (Geno Smith) or throw a reporter into a locker (Todd).

The quarterback taken Thursday will be the 24th quarterback the Jets have drafted since 1976, which was Namath’s final season in green and white. Since he played his final game on a cold day at Shea Stadium against the Bengals that year, 30 different men have started a game at quarterback for the Jets.

Some of them carried the first-round pick label — Todd, Ken O’Brien, Chad Pennington and Mark Sanchez. All four of them showed flashes that they might be the franchise quarterback the Jets were searching for. But those flashes vanished with Mud Bowls, injuries, Buttfumbles and a slew of turnovers.

There were quarterbacks who only got one start and became footnotes in this story — Kyle Mackey and Greg McElroy. There were others who came to the Jets with plenty of fanfare but never even got a start — Tim Tebow and Christian Hackenberg.

Then, there were the almost-picks. Dick Steinberg wanted to take Brett Favre in 1991, but was beaten to it by the Falcons. In 1997, Bill Parcells held the No. 1-overall pick, but Peyton Manning decided to go back to Tennessee for another year.

The Jets have not just tried finding the quarterback in the draft. There were the trades for stars past their prime like Boomer Esiason and Favre. There was the big-money free agent signing in 1996 with Neil O’Donnell. There were players plucked off the scrap heap who had some big days for the Jets — Vinny Testaverde, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown.

There were the crazy injuries like Testaverde tearing his Achilles tendon in the 1999 opener or Sanchez injuring his shoulder behind a backup offensive line in the fourth quarter of a 2013 preseason game. There were the locker room fights that led to a broken jaw for Smith and a stained reputation for Todd when he put our Steve Serby into a locker.

All of it has added up to years of frustrations and a Super Bowl drought that will turn 50 this year.

A new name will be added to the list on Thursday night. Will he be the one to end the drought and become a quarterback the Jets can count on for the next 15 years? Or will he become another chapter in this sad tale?

There will be plenty of Jets fans on Thursday with the same thought in mind as that young fan expressed on his sign in 1976: “N.Y. Jets don’t blow it!”

Sport

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Venus Williams is out of the French Open on opening day. The 2002 runner-up and ninth-seeded American lost 6-4, 7-5 to Wang...

Opinion

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Living

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Why is it so hard to leave a job you hate?.
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Congrats, class of 2018: How to land a job, when you’re ready.
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I accidentally threw away $60M worth of Bitcoin.
After Matthew Mellon, scion of the Mellon banking fortune, died on April 16 of a drug-related heart attack in Mexico, his...
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Deadbeat son is a sign of America’s failure to raise boys.
Last week, a judge in New York ruled that a 30-year-old man must move out of his childhood home on June 1 after his parents...
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Business

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As Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer, many offices now will allow casual attire on more than...
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Dear John: I’ve been reading about things you’ve done in the past. Maybe you could help me with a serious situation soon....
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Metro

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Sport

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Danica Patrick’s racing career has ended with a crash in Turn 2 of the Indianapolis 500. Patrick lost control of the...
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