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JETS COULD JOIN DUBIOUS CLASS WITH LOSS TO STEELERS

Hats off to Rex Ryan and the New York Jets.
 
They beat two Hall Of Fame quarterbacks and a head coach in consecutive weeks to earn an AFC title date with the Pittsburgh Steelers and future HOF pivot Ben Roethlisberger. And they did it with their play as well as their mouths to add sizzle to the world's greatest league and its annual, six-month sporting spectacle.
 
But while the Jets could very well upset the Steelers this Sunday en route to the NFL's grandest stage - they could also join a select group of "one-year wonders."  Ahh yes....those wonderful, one-year wonders who enjoyed their only "moment in the sun" courtesy of a HOF pivot.
 
It all began in Super Bowl III in January of 1969. Broadway Joe Namath and this same Jets franchise upset the heavily favoured Baltimore Colts and future Canton resident Johnny Unitas. The game was basically over when Unitas replaced an ineffective Earl Morrall.
 
Yes, Unitas and Morrall led the Colts to a Super Bowl win over Dallas two years later.
 
But Unitas is enshrined in Canton for a spectacular career that spanned 18 seasons which includes a Colts' OT victory over the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship (the equivalent of the Super Bowl prior to 1967.) The game is considered to be the "defining moment" for the NFL as the world's premier sports league.
 
Namath's HOF induction in 1985 was based solely on that Super Bowl upset in 1969.
 
Fran Tarkenton's numbers earned him HOF honors in 1986. But Tarkenton never won a Super Bowl - as the Vikings fell to the Miami and Pittsburgh dynasties of the 1970s as well as the Oakland Raiders and QB Ken Stabler in 1977.
 
Stabler has the Super Bowl ring but will never be honoured in Canton. Tarkenton has the HOF bust but no ring. I'm sure most NFL players would prefer the ring!!
 
Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills lost four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s to Jeff Hostetler and the New York Giants, Mark Rypien's Washington Redskins and Troy Aikman's mighty Dallas Cowboys.
 
While Kelly and Aikman have earned HOF status based on their consistency and longevity - Hostetler and Rypien are now a mere afterthought - whose respective careers are defined by a single, Super Bowl win at the expense of one of the NFL's greatest players.
 
Yes, Ryan and company sent the Colts and Patriots packing as future HOF members Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are left to ponder next season.
 
Of course who could forget the other Manning and his New York Giants - whose late-game heroics prevented the Patriots from winning their fourth Super Bowl in seven seasons. But what has Eli Manning done lately?
 
Drew Brees and the 2009 Saints won the franchise's first Super Bowl last year preventing Peyton Manning and the Colts from winning their second title in four seasons. The Saints however fell this year in the opening round of the playoffs to Seattle - the first NFL team to qualify for the postseason with a losing record.
 
Peyton Manning is a shoo-in for Canton while Brees may be forever remembered only for that one Super Sunday in 2010.
 
Roethlisberger and the Steelers have won two Super Bowls during the last six seasons. The franchise boasts six bowl championships in seven attempts since Super Sunday debuted in January of 1967.
 
The Jets have performed only once on the NFL’s greatest stage and have dined out on Namath’s heroics ever since.
 
Ryan and the Jets may upset the Steelers and capture Super Bowl XLV in two weeks. Or they may be forever remembered as a "one-year wonder" that not only failed to win the Super Bowl but failed to qualify.

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