The third quarter of the 2010 AFC Divisional Game was winding down, and the New York Jets were improbably beating the New England Patriots 14-3, in a game New York was heavily favored to lose. The New England offense had sputtered all game, but finally showed signs of life when Rob Gronkowski caught a thirty-seven yard pass. New England began moving the ball, and finally scored to make the game 14-9. The tide was ebbing towards the New England squad.
Disaster had struck. Bill Belichick made the bold choice of trying to score the two-point conversion, instead of kicking the safe point-after attempt. With a quick direct snap to Sammy Morris, who leaped over the line of scrimmage, New England was suddenly within field goal range of tying the game up.
At this point, I was sitting in a room of New England fans, wearing a Bart Scott jersey through which I had been chirping and goading them all game. As New England had advanced the ball down the field, I started drinking my beer quicker and quicker, drowning my sorrows in liquor while I watched the game slip away, like grains of sand in a clenched fist. As Morris converted the attempt, the New England fans took their turn to point and laugh as my beloved Jets choked when victory was within reach. The feeling was palpable, you knew New York would blow it.
And then, on the first play in the fourth quarter, mere moments after Morris scored, Mark Sanchez hit Jerricho Cotchery in stride, who split the defenders as he streaked towards the right sideline before turning upfield. After hurtling a defender along the sideline, Cotchery stumbled his way to the thirteen-yard line before being pushed out by Brandon Meriweather.
Just like that, the New York Jets were back.
As for me? As Cotchery ran faster than I had ever seen him run before, I began shouting, screaming at the New England fans who had taunted me. I felt so alive, like I had won the lottery. It felt like nobody could beat New York, like they were a team of destiny. Just when things were looking bleak, they responded with gusto. It was one of the greatest feelings in my life. And that, truthfully, is the beauty of sports. Those fleeting moments of glory when you, or at least your team, are better than anyone else in the entire world.
What is your best memory of the New York Jets?