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New York Jets: Who Is Your Whipping Boy?

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

We all have that one person who drives us crazy. Whenever something goes wrong, we take our frustrations out on them. If they are legitimately responsible for something that went wrong, watch out. They are our whipping boys. There are some special whipping boys who stand the test of time. Even after they leave our team, we reference them years later.

In my family, that guy is Ken Rose. Rose was a quality special teams player during his playing career with the Eagles and the Jets. He parlayed this into a job coaching special teams for the Jets under Rich Kotite. During his tenure, saying Jets special teams were abominable would be an understatement.

Sometimes our memories can embellish things in the past. Before I wrote this, I wondered whether I was piling on Rose too much. Nobody could have been as bad as I remembered Rose. So I did a New York Times search on articles about Rose in the past and found passages like this:

The Jets' kick-return team, the poorest in the National Football League, is affecting the offense. It ranks last in the league in field position. Its average starting drive begins on its own 21-yard line.

And this:

Returning kicks isn't the only area where the Jets have faltered. They rank among the bottom half-dozen teams in kickoff coverage, punt coverage and punt returns.

And this:

The special teams...committed... an outlandish 8 (penalties) against the Colts.

And this:

The worst unit on the team with the worst record in pro football

And this:

*Their average starting point after kickoffs, the 22.8-yard line, is 30th and last in the league. The starting point they allow the opposition after kickoffs is the 29.4-yard line, (28th).

*The average kickoff return is 19.1 yards (29th). The average kickoff return for their opponents is 25.1 yards (27th).

*Their punt return average of 5.2 yards is 30th. The punt return average they allow the opposition is 12.1 yards (24th).

And this:

All last week, their special teams did extra work. They practiced before practice; sometimes they missed lunch, but they wanted to be ready for Buffalo.

The payoff Sunday against the Bills was embarrassing. On their three kickoffs, the Jets allowed Eric Moulds to return one 97 yards for a touchdown and Ron Copeland to return another 47 yards. Of the Bills' seven punts, four resulted in fair catches and two were downed. On the only one returned, Wayne Chrebet misplayed it into a 16-yard loss.

This is funny almost twenty years later, but it was so, so painful at the time. This is why I joke in among friends and family that whenever a team suffers a special teams breakdown in a game we are watching, Rose must be working for them. When the Ravens gave up two return touchdowns against the Broncos, I sent a friend a text message asking, "When did the Ravens hire Ken Rose?"

Do you have a whipping boy like this? I don't mean current players or coaches. Is there anybody who frustrated you so much that you still vent about them years after they are gone?