In his 2009 book, The Book of Basketball, former ESPN writer Bill Simmons came up with an interesting concept, the Wine Cellar Team.
The premise is a bit complicated. The Wine Cellar Team is developed in a hypothetical situation where Martians invade the world, and mankind needs to win a basketball game to save itself. Which players would be chosen for that team?
Simmons adds an extra twist. While building this hypothetical team, he chooses a vintage of each player. Michael Jordan in 1989 was different from the Michael Jordan of 1992. The Michael Jordan of 1996 was different from both of them. It’s like how wines have their own vintages. When he chooses a player, he picks a specific year of that player’s career.
I was playing around with this a bit and came up with a 53 man roster of Jets players from the 21st century. Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to reveal this roster position by position and explain my choices. (I know. I announce this thing, and I don’t even provide you with any of my picks today. Lame.)
Here are some of the ground rules I followed:
- I only considered Jets players/seasons starting in 2000. It just seemed like a natural cutoff.
- It’s worth reiterating that I’m choosing each player from one specific year in his career.
- This isn’t an All Century Team. This isn’t about listing the most accomplished resumes. There are players who lacked longevity but were so dominant for a short stretch that I felt compelled to put them on the team.
- I set out to build a real team that could actually win a game. I didn’t simply choose the most talented players. I’m not accumulating best cornerbacks if none could play the slot. My number six receiver has to be somebody who can help on special teams and won’t mind a lack of targets in the passing game.
I will begin this coming week by unveiling my quarterbacks.