The Ghosts of Lost Seasons Past-Chapter 2

Chris Johnson tossed and turned in his bed. He couldn't shake the sight of the ghostly image of Leon Hess from his mind. Suddenly he was awakened by a cold breeze coming from his bedroom window. He got up and walked over to close the window he could have sworn was closed when he went to bed. He paused briefy to look out over the moonlit expanse of the hay field behind his home. "Thank God for farmland tax assessment", he thought to himself. As he turned to go back to bed, he was startled by another ghostly visage that had been standing behind him.

Johnson looked hard at the spirit trying to figure out just who it was when it hit him.

"Rich Kotite!, You're not even dead!", he exclaimed.

"A lot of Jets fans wish I was dead", said Kotite, "but for now just call me the Ghost of Lost Seasons Past".

"What are you doing here?", asked Johnson

"I'm here to take you on a tour of Jets history", said Kotite, "just take my hand and follow me out the window".

"We're only 0-3", said Johnson, "it's not THAT bad".

"Oh it's way worse than you think", said Kotite, "but we're not jumping, I've got things to show you".

Johnson grabbed Kotite's hand and they were soon elevated and rising over the roof of his home. The lights of New York shone in the distance. Soon they were over the city and then over Queens. Johnson looked down on a stadium filled to capacity.

"Why, it's Shea Stadium!" Johson said excitedly.

"Yes, and there are the Jets playing in front of a packed house", said Kotite, "let's go down to the field".

As they descended to field level, Kotite landed the pair on the Jets sidelines. They stood among the players and coaches. Out on the field, a long pass settled into the hands of a Jets receiver who carried the ball into the end zone. The crowd roared with approval. As the offense came off the field Johnson saw Joe Namath and Don Mayard high-fiving each other on their way to the sideline.

"Hey, it's Joe Namath!" cried Johnson, "Hey Joe, over here!"

"They can't hear you", said Kotite, "these are just the shadows of things that have been. These were the good days. Two consecutive division championships, a Super Bowl victory. Happy Fans. The Jets were the toast of New York"

"I can't even imagine such things", said Johnson.

"Look at that coaching staff", said Kotite pointing at a man wearing a shirt, tie and a Jets hat.

"Why, it's Weeb Ewbank", said Johnson, "what I'd give for a coach like that".

"You aren't smart enough to hire somebody like that", said Kotite, "and look at the assistants"

He pointed out the other coaches, Walt Michaels, Chuck Knox, Buddy Ryan.

"Who are those two little kids standing next to Buddy Ryan?" asked Johnson, "they look like twins"

"Oh, you'll get to know them eventually", said Kotite, "you'll get to know one of them VERY well".

Kotite looked at Johnson and said "we can't stay here, I have so much to show you"

Soon they were over the stadium once again and looking down on the field of play. The Jets were driving for a touchdown when suddenly a large man in a blue uniform fell upon the Jets quarterback. The white-shoed player didn't get up.

"Get up Joe, get up!" cried Johnson.

"His thumb is broken", explained Kotite, "This is where the first of the lost seasons begins. It's only week 3 and all is lost. Sound familiar?"

Soon, games began to play quickly below them. Kotite pointed out events to Johnson. A knee injury to Namath and then yet another.

"Thank God for Lou Holtz" said Kotite while pointing to a coach on the field, "keeps me from being the worst ever-Gase may just move me up another notch from the bottom", he added.

They soon moved across the river and hovered above the old Giants Stadium. The games continued to roll on. Horror after horror unfolded. The Mud Bowl, Joe Walton, the fake spike, the butt fumble, 1-15.

"Hey, there's me", said Kotite, "boy that was a bad year".

Through it all, Jets fans kept showing up. A new stadium appeared beneath them but the losing continued.

"Spirit, take me back" said Johnson, "I can't take much more of this"

"You can't take it? Imagine the fans", replied Kotite.

"Can't we go back to the Super Bowl or at least the AFC Championship game?" , asked Johnson, "they looked like so much fun".

"We can't go back, and it's going to be a long time before you see anything like them again", said Kotite, "it's time for me to go".

The spirit of Rich Kotite began to lift above Met Life Stadium leaving Chris Johnson alone.

"But wait, don't leave me here", said Johnson, but Kotite didn't turn back.

Soon Johnson found himself standing back in his bedroom shaking. The window was open again. He walked over to his night stand to look at his phone. The time was 1:00 A.M.

To be continued.......

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