In 10 Words or Less
Revisit the best of a decent Jets season
Likes: New York Jets, Football
Dislikes: Not getting extras or highlights
Hates: New England Patriots
When ranking my favorite sports teams, the order is pretty easy to determine: New York Islanders, New York Yankees and New York Jets. (Basketball holds zero appeal for me, especially since the local team is the New York Knicks.) Hockey is just about the perfect sport, combining skill and strength, with nearly non-stop action. Baseball is mainly a group of guys standing in a field waiting for something to happen for far too many games each year. Meanwhile, football takes the aggression and strategy of hockey and combines it with all the standing around of baseball. But the season is only 16 games long, making it far more palatable.
Now, being a Jets fan, I'm in an enviable position, because not only has my team been an overwhelming failure for most of my life, but my local team doesn't even play in my state, despite having New York in the name. Did I mention that the team used to be located across the street from where I work until they decided to bolt for the greener paradise of New Jersey? Yes, I'm a lucky boy to be a Jets fan.
Usually when you have a set that collects a few games from over a certain time span, you can get into a heated argument over what was included and what wasn't. But looking back at the Jets' season, the only game beyond the three selected that had a chance was the week eight meeting with the Dolphins on the strength of the third-quarter shoot-out that ran up the score and the Jets' attempted late-game rally. But since the Jets lost, it was an unlikely choice. The rest of the schedule had a bunch of bad losses and underwhelming wins, to the point where the victory over the then-undefeated Colts, which ended their 23-game regular-season winning streak, was most memorable for Peyton Manning's preventative benching.
Despite all this, I tend to watch every game, simply because it's a reason to vegetate on a Sunday afternoon (or Monday night, or Thursday, or probably seven days a week at the rate they mess with the schedule.) And, shock of shocks, this past season, the Jets were actually pretty good (if you ignore those two rough patches where they nearly blew the whole season) and made a solid run to come within a game of going to the Super Bowl. Along the way there were some impressive performances by freshman quarterback Mark Sanchez and Gang Green, and this set collects three of the best for posterity.
Ask any Jets fan how they feel about a win over the New England Patriots, and the word "best" is likely to come up at some point, which goes a long way toward explaining this game's presence here, as the Jets' somewhat shocking home-field win over Tom Brady and the Pats (the first in New York in nine years) was a big hit with the New York faithful. It's fun to see this game in retrospect, as the follow-up to Sanchez' debut win has the little details of failure that would haunt the team later on, but clothed in optimism as they were, it was easy to overlook them when Sanchez' passing put the Jets up for good early in the third quarter. What you can't overlook is the developing legend of Revis Island, the nickname given to star corner Darrelle Revis' location on the field, as his interception on Tom Brady's pass to Randy Moss helped the Jets hold New England without a touchdown for the first time in four years.
The second game is the post-season rematch between the Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals, following the Jets' late-season win over the Bengals six days earlier in Week 17, a devastating 37-0 New York victory. The key storyline here was the battle between Revis and legendary loudmouth Chad Ochocinco. Before the previous game, Ochocinco said he would revert his name to Chad Johnson if Revis shut him down the way he did many star receivers during the year. When he did, Ochocinco said it didn't count due to the field conditions in New York. This time, in Ohio, Revis once again dominated him into invisibility, though Ochocinco wisely avoided any wagering. A pair of long-range touchdowns in the second quarter was the difference for New York, along with two ill-advised, overturned challenges early on by Bengals coach Marvin Lewis (which left them unable to challenge a call the rest of the way,) as they used the game to make the statement that they were for real, after being frequently disrespected for their 9-7 record.
The third game in the set, possibly the biggest win in the Jets' post-Super Bowl III history, may just be the worst game here. Despite featuring one of the best running teams in the NFL and San Diego's well-regarded offense, it was a total snoozer until the very end of the third quarter, when Jim Leonhard's big interception set up a fourth quarter comeback by the Jets. None of it would have been possible though if not for Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding's epic choke job, which saw him miss three field goals in a game for the first time in his career. Bad kicking and weak offense, plus another excellent defensive performance by New York, adds up to a 75-percent boring, but still important win for Mark Sanchez that put the Jets into the AFC championship game, where they would ultimately lose to Indianapolis.
There are two things worth noting in this presentation, and the first is the editing that was done. Nearly every promotional message has been removed, and anyone who's watched an NFL game in the last five years knows they are plentiful. This also includes any commercial bumpers and halftime analysis. Though no-one will miss anything that's "brought to you by" anyone, the cuts create very awkward transitions between segments, and ruin the well-established rhythm of televised football, especially when you jump from the end of a play to a return from commercial, which can be disorienting. Also, they left the scoreboard ticker on the bottom of the screen. For those looking to really remember the moment, you can see other scores as they were at the time, but I would argue that yes, four months after the season is in fact too late to join fantasy football. But it may not be too early.
The three games get a disc each, which arrive in a standard-width black keepcase with an additional dual-hubbed tray and a promotional insert. The DVDs sport well-designed static anamorphic-widescreen menus with options to play the game or select a quarter. There are no audio options, no subtitles and no closed captioning.
The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen, but it's a far cry from the HD broadcasts, as the color is solid, if a bit dull, while the level of fine detail is less than impressive. For example, the New England game looks oddly yellow, especially on the field. The transfers' biggest sin is the amount of artifacts in the image. The bigger your screen, the blockier the image gets. I compared a 13-inch screen connected by component cables with a 24-inch HDMI hook-up side by side, and I much preferred the admittedly squashed small-screen presentation.
Though the high-definition visuals referenced on-screen and spoken about frequently aren't included here (obviously,) the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio they boast about isn't here either, swapped out for Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. I can't say I missed the extra channels much (I don't remember a moment of NFL surround sound that has stood out to me on TV,) but if it exists, which it obviously does, why not include it? What you do get sounds fine, but is entirely center-balanced and lacks any kind of dynamic feeling.
Not an extra to be found here. They couldn't pull some season highlight clips the way MLB does with their complete-game relesases? Football coaches love to watch game film. How great would it have been to get outspoken Rex Ryan behind the mic for some commentary? The perspective that comes with the passing of time would have made for some fun. Or, if he wasn't available, how about one of the hundreds of TV commentators out there?
The Bottom Line
After watching these games again, I'm thinking maybe I'm not the target audience for classic games. Instead of sitting through what are ultimately meaningless games (they didn't finish the year with a ring afterall) what I'd want is a tightly-edited highlights package with enough context to make the big plays shine. Instead, I'm looking and waiting for those big moments. This set doesn't even serve up extras to round out the three-game experience it offers, which would have made it more enjoyable. As it is, it's only for hardcore Jets fans looking to kill time until training camp.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or follow him on Twitter
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.