Celebrating the ‘Bollinger Bowl’

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

It was your typical early September preseason game. The starters played for a series, with backups going the rest of the way, sleepwalking through the game in a manner that confirmed the desire of coaches, players, media and fans to get it over with and get on with the season.

The Jets, coming off a 6-10 season that was basically over before it began when Chad Pennington got injured in preseason and they started 0-4 with Vinny Testaverde back at the helm, had renewed optimism for the 2004 season. However, their preparation was complete and as the Eagles scored again midway through the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 27-7, it didn’t really matter.

For many of the rest of the guys out there, though, they were still scratching and clawing. In some case, their livelihood was at stake, whether they were trying to remain with the team or just put something positive on film to find work elsewhere. For others, their job might be safe, but they still had an opportunity to prove they might deserve a shot somewhere down the line. For one man in particular, he grasped that opportunity with both hands and in the process achieved the impossible by turning the most meaningless and mundane of games into something thrilling.

You may have heard us referring to the traditional preseason finale against the Eagles as “The Bollinger Bowl” and assumed that was a reference to the typical standard of player taking part. However, this isn’t a slight on former Jets quarterback Brooks Bollinger; far from it. This is a tribute. This year – September 3 to be specific – marks the 10th anniversary of the performance that earned him that tribute.

Bollinger led the Jets on drives of 65, 73 and 87 yards as they would score three touchdowns in the last 5:19 to complete a stunning comeback and end the preseason with a remarkable 28-27 win. Had this been a regular season game, it would have been the stuff of legends.

You’d do well to remember much about some of the guys who also contributed to the win. Ken-Yon Rambo, a former Dallas Cowboy who would go on to star in the CFL, had a 100-yard day, kickstarting the comeback with a 52-yard catch. Roderick Bryant, whose interception set up the second of the three touchdowns was a rookie who would earn himself a roster spot and play 13 games with the team that season.

Perhaps the best lesson in perseverance came from Matt Dominguez, who himself would return to the CFL and forge a pretty good career for himself. With less than a minute to go, Dominguez had been targeted six times, with all six being unsuccessful. One was even intercepted. Still, Bollinger went back to the well and hit him three times in the final minute, with the last one accounting for the game-winning score.

Sure, the win didn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things, but without that performance, perhaps Bollinger might never have got a shot at starting nine games the following season. He even had a couple of wins and a 300-yard game. Who knows…maybe the positive vibes from that win carried over into the regular season and helped contribute to the team’s 5-0 start? They would ultimately fall literally inches short of an AFC title game appearance. While Bollinger wouldn’t contribute much to that team – he saw action in one game, a 13-3 win over the Cardinals with Pennington out and Quincy Carter starting – perhaps his never-say-die attitude permeated the team on some level.

Over the years, this game has provided some memorable performances. It took him a while to climb to the top, but Danny Woodhead (158 yards rushing and two scores in 2009) is one of the best examples of someone who made the most of an opportunity for some extended playing time. Others, like Jesse Chatman and David Clowney, impressed but did less with the opportunities their Bollinger Bowl performance earned them in the NFL. In recent years, Eagles’ 7th round defensive back Kurt Coleman went from being on the bubble to becoming an integral part of their secondary (59 games, 29 starts in four years) almost overnight when he scored two defensive touchdowns in the 2010 game. Last year’s big winner was Matt Simms, who might not still be in the league now without his 286-yard passing performance in that game.

However, the biggest potential legacy from this game is perhaps Damon Harrison, who is being talked about as a potential pro bowler, but would probably have been cut back in 2012 if he hadn’t outperformed Martin Tevaseu in the Eagles game. Even then, he was still in jeopardy until – legend has it – he beasted out at practice the next day, causing a change of heart among the coaches.

So, looking ahead to tomorrow, as your attention starts to wane, don’t give up on the game, because you might miss out on someone making a splash or a turning point in someone’s career.

10 years on, TJB will continue to recognize this game as the Bollinger Bowl in honor of what it stands for, a last opportunity for a lot of dedicated professionals to make their mark. Whether we’ll ever again see anything we’re still talking about 10 years later is debatable, but this game can make or break a career.




238 comments
crzydragon
crzydragon

Laugh all you want at me but I am THE CRAZY DRAGON FROM SWITZERLAND and you will all be in my Dragon Den to chomp on some toasted cheddar fritters with some ice cold and frosty Capri Sun. I can't believe Brooks Bollinger can recite every word of Sweet Child of Mine by Dr dre and Harrison Ford. Brooks' friend Jenna Jameson scores 11 touchdowns for the pre-k football program "Tots play football and attempt to manufacture Rice Cakes for J Lo." Jenna ran these poor children over like a mad cannonball shot by Jose canseco herself! Her legs were taut and powerful like a cool breeze blowing in a 14 thousand degree clogged porta john. I truly believe the Jets will victor over their stinktastic foes the Philadelphia "slight malfunction that makes the engine make a zippy sound" 31-30. Brooks B will score 9 cuts on his pinkie toe as he moans about his gf Jennifer "the paranormal flamingo" Lee. This is like a mirror image of the film Forrest Gump as a pack of teens make a pact to destroy a raspberry bush. Ugh didn't see that ending coming. Masterpiece. 9 stara!

ew1025
ew1025

Is anyone else having problems with Vic as being on the team? Our coach says he is one of the top character guys on the team. ? What? Before everyone answers, just ask yourself if winning is really everything. Is there any point that character really matters, or is it all about winning at any price? I for one, won't be watching the team that I grew up rooting for.

marcus81
marcus81

Hill to Cleveland in a trade, no Josh Gordon for the year

Bent
Bent moderator

TJB has been a blast today, all day.


Great job guys, keep it up!

UncleJoesJetFarm
UncleJoesJetFarm

Rex is awesome! He has the fan base on fire!  I cant wait for 9/7!!!!!!!

Floyd Toucanet
Floyd Toucanet

Liketo see Salas get a shot returning kicks and punts.

hazard2012
hazard2012

Does anyone know how rookie CB Pierre Desir been doing in Brown's camp/preseason?


Now that Cleveland is without Gordon for season, might Pettine be desperate enough to trade for Stephen Hill?   Doubt he'd give us Joe Hayden or Justin Gilbert (chuckle, chuckle), but maybe they'd part with Desir...who some of us had on our draft radar?   


Just another of my thoughts...trying to solve two problems in a single move.   

jaym
jaym

More stupid ESPN Polls

Where does ESPN poll of NFL insiders rank Rex Ryan among head coaches?

http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2014/08/where_does_espn_poll_of_nfl_insiders_rank_rex_ryan_among_head_coaches.html


What say Sando's insiders? They, too, had Ryan at No. 17. They also placed him in Tier 3, behind a Tier 2 group that includes the Cardinals' Bruce Arians (No. 13) and the Bengals' Marvin Lewis (No. 15). Writes Sando:

I thought Ryan would poll higher than this after reaching two AFC title games without the benefit of a top-notch quarterback. With Mark Sanchez behind center, Ryan owns playoff victories over teams quarterbacked by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. His Jets went 8-8 last season with a rookie quarterback who ranked 34th in Total QBR. The five qualifying QBs with lower metrics combined to go 9-32. "To do what he does with the s--- he gets? He does a good job, now," one coordinator said.

There were only 14 votes in the 5 category and Ryan received one of them from a personnel evaluator who thought Ryan's bluster undermined his credibility. "You don't go to back-to-back AFC Championships and be a bad coach," another personnel evaluator said. "Where people probably hate on him is he is a bit of a blowhard, he says what he wants, he is not afraid to spout off to the camera and that rubs people the wrong way. People from a distance think he is all ego, but the players love him, from everything I hear."

One theory on Ryan says the Jets in the past have encouraged his bluster in an effort to become more relevant, but when the team lost, it became perceived as a negative. One Ryan supporter noted that he has kept the team competitive with a shaky QB even while the front office slashed payroll. "On that team, who are they paying?" this supporter said. "Eric Decker, Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and David Harris. That is literally it."

So if I have this straight, one anonymous NFL personnel person thinks Ryan ranks among the worst coaches in the league because he's honest enough to admit he believes in himself and his team instead of biting his tongue and lying about his self-confidence. Who cares that this has zero to do with Ryan's actual ability to coach football? The NFL really does seem to be determined to stamp out every semblance of humanity from the people who play and coach the game of football.

Congrats to  Dom Cosentino at NJ.com  for calling these idiots out for the stupid way they come to a conclusion on their vote.

Rudibager
Rudibager

Brendan, Mangold is answering questions on twitter now.  He already answered mine.


Gogogogogo

metsjetsdu
metsjetsdu

When do final cut downs need to be made ? You think Idzik is waiting  to see who people drop to bring in some CB's or you think he's rolling with what we have at this point ? 

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

HC Rex Ryan: "Waited all my life to coach this team. It's here. It's our time."

UNBELIEVABLE !!!

Oberyn1
Oberyn1

@williamg1


"we know you're gifted as a pass rusher"


Eh, not quite yet. Hopefully his play from the 2nd half of the year carries over. Q emerging as a pass rusher would do wonders for the D.

marcus81
marcus81

@Floyd Toucanet  Jets are lucky he's healthy this year to do that

juunit
juunit

@hazard2012 

Trading just drafted players isn't something that seems to happen in the NFL. That's much more the NBA's style. In fact, I can't think of a single example where a just drafted player got traded. Usually if they don't work out, the team just cuts them. 

1969JAN12th
1969JAN12th

@hazard2012 I wouldn't be surprised if Rex & Marty go out of their way to showcase Hill tomorrow  for the Brownies or for any other team that might need a WR.

Pat d
Pat d

Rex is a middle of the pack coach until he learns to put more emphasis on offense. You can't be considered to be a great coach if only one side of your team is successful. The Jets are known as a QB killers.

1969JAN12th
1969JAN12th

@harold I had a coach once tell me that "you could never fully trust someone who hasn't "lost" something". Well, Mike Vick has certainly "lost" some things in his life. I dunno if Vick will be the playmaker on the field this season, but when adversity strikes (and we all know at some point it will happen), I think that having Vick in the locker room could be a big plus for our team. A plus that we didn't expect when we signed him.

Thanks for posting this link.

hazard2012
hazard2012

@metsjetsdu


Idzik's waiting in the weeds, ready to pounce!   At least I hope he is.   Keep thinking his eye's on Seattle, seeing which of the 8 CB's still on 75-man get cut.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@metsjetsdu I am thinking that the team will roll with the current group unless a former player of Rex's system shakes loose.  I could also see picking up a DB from a team the Jets are playing early on...they seem to do that sort of thing

jsadolph
jsadolph

@Hanknaples 

Is this Hank or Intrested Jet?

This comment sounds more like Intrested Jet, but I don't see the Intrested Jet signiture at the bottom.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@Hanknaples I love it. As a fan I read that and it gets me even more excited for the season.

levi
levi

@Hanknaples You can roll with us or we can roll right over you Hank. Climb aboard the Jets wagon Hank.

Brendan
Brendan

@Hanknaples I know, I can't believe that the head coach of the Jets has dreamed about holding this position since he was a kid. It's nice knowing someone truly cares about what he does. 

a57se
a57se

@Oberyn1 @williamg1 

That would make a really big difference for the defense...pass rushing is not quite its' forte yet.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@Pat d 

AND....add to that the fact that "His" defense with "His " players has slipped in DEF rankings the last three consecutive years AND placed in the lower third in Points Allowed.....NOT very good for a DEFENSIVE HC !!!

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@1969JAN12th @harold 

Fact!!!...and....Excellent observation !!!

Rudibager
Rudibager

@Brendan @Rudibager he answered two now...  He's giving short answers though, probably has to answer a ton of tweets.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@levi @Hanknaples 

 Levi,

 This is three levels beyond guaranteeing the Super Bowl. Either he thinks we're idiots or he is truly delusional. 

You think all this is needed???

Oberyn1
Oberyn1

yep, need to see some improvement in that area from Richardon and Q. Wilk is already a good pass rusher but he has the talent to get better.

drjreefer
drjreefer

@Hanknaples 

It also only has 2 players since '10 still on the squad. He rebulit the defense and kept it top 15.


When was the last time BB had a top 5 d? He is a defensive HC too.

Brendan
Brendan

@Rudibager Not mine, though. But I asked a very specific question about beard battling with Ed Reed.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@Hanknaples @levi If you can't get excited for the team you support at this point of the year then why even bother rooting for the team... everyone is a SB contender before the season starts.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@drjreefer 

DR "J".......when you bring up BB as a measuring stick for Sexy Rexy, remember that the HC sets the vision and direction of the (WHOLE) team and BB has won the Division 11 out of the last 13 years.......with THREE DIFFERENT OC's and NONE in 2005 !!!!

NO comparison, right???

jsadolph
jsadolph

@Brendan @Rudibager 

He probably doesn't feel comfortable answering that question, because he knows Reed is in the building waiting to sign his papers and Nick doesn't want to accidentally give it away.

a57se
a57se

@BDarc23 @Hanknaples @levi 

There is a difference between getting excited for the season to start and taking something ridiculous that rex says as factual.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se A throwaway "this is our time" comment, though? Is that really "something ridiculous that Rex says as factual?" 


This isn't anything to get up in arms about, unless you're Hank, obviously. Rex is just confident heading into the season, good. The team feeds off of his emotion, so he needs to keep his emotions in a positive, motivating place. 

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

We may be thinking of different quotes...
I was talking about the "Waited all my life to coach this team"...

harold
harold

@Brendan

I just want him to control those emotions as well because it is a long season.

He needs to have this team ready to go each and every week.  No letdowns.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Yeah, where he ends with "It's our time," correct? We're talking about the same comment. 

jsadolph
jsadolph

@harold 

Yeah, I read somewhere this morning that one of the starters said that they are treating this week as a bye week and that scared me, because we suck after bye weeks since Rex has been here.

a57se
a57se

@harold 

and not let them get ahead of themselves if they have some early success...

Brendan
Brendan

@harold That's fine, but this is a "I love my job" comment, I think it's kind of crazy to try and spin it in any kind of negative light. 

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

I was parsing it to the first part...i serouosly doubt rex has been waiting to Coach this specific team since he was a kid...

harold
harold

@jsadolph

To me that is a glaring fault for Rex and shows he is not great at creating urgency in his team.

This is one of his weaknesses as a cocah.

Although to be fair I rate him as one of the top 5-8 coaches in the NFL in terms of X's and O's.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@a57se @harold Keep in mind the early part of the season is tough so high emotion might be good

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Has this been an issue under Rex, though? 

harold
harold

@a57se

Agree 100%

Floyd Toucanet
Floyd Toucanet

@Brendan @harold Damn., Rex ruined the season already. There are 16 NFL teams who are steaming mad and extra motivated to destroy the jets because Rex said he loves his job and thinks the team he coaches is the best. 


Matt Schaub has been practicing wheel routes with darren mcfadden all night while Rex farts in his blanket all night.


Rod Streater on Twitter: "Sure. Rex saying that makes every NFL player angry. It gives us extra motivation to want to win. If an opponent stays quiet and doesn't say anything it's kind of hard to motivate yourself to get out on the field and play."



harold
harold

@Brendan

I agree with you on this comment but my statement is about the overall emotional stability of the team.

Rex becoming more even tempered would help us a lot.

harold
harold

@BDarc23

Not if you have an emotional win in Green Bay in week 2 and sh$t the bed the next two weeks. 

Emotional stability is one of the most important traits for a coach..

If Rex had this we would have likely been SuperBowl champs in 2010.

See Pats letdown.

harold
harold

@Brendan

I think so.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Do you mean this in the sense they overlook opponents because they're too focused on a future opponent? Or the team thinks too highly of itself after wins early in the season? 

harold
harold

@Brendan

Which response are speaking to?

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @harold 

Players take the lead from there HC...Rex shoots from the hip, his players feel free to do the same.


Brendan
Brendan

@harold The "see Pats letdown" comment. I'm not sure which one of my comments that's replying to. I don't understand how saying Rex's emotional stability is what lost the AFC title game in 2010, for example. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Shooting from the hip? I'm sorry, but what proof do you have that on the sideline Rex "shoots from the hip?" 


It's been documented that Media Rex and Locker Room Rex are different people. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se I really don't think they've fell victim to the latter. I've always gotten the impression they do the former 2-3 times a season, though. 

harold
harold

@Brendan

That was a response to BDarc23, not you.

He was talking about sky high emotion being good because we have a tough stretch of games.

I just showed the downside.

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

Have tyou ever watched Mic'd up, where they have a microphone on the HC???

rex is out their trash talking half the time.

Brendan
Brendan

@harold Oh, crap. I saw an "@B" and just thought it was to me. I would wring my fist at Livefyre, but...human error. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Yes, I love those. So do his players. Why did this get brought up? You don't think Rex can do his job jawing at people? 

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

Look, bottom line is you like this whole trash talk thing, i don't.

I don't like our HC making 'bold predictions'.

I don't like our HC comparing rookies to HOF players...

I love rex' defense and overall coaching of the team...



Floyd Toucanet
Floyd Toucanet

@a57se @Brendan Why can't he just act like TOM COUGHLIN! There is a real coach. Well spoken, calm, cool, and collected. The players get motivated just thinking about him.

a57se
a57se

@Floyd Toucanet @a57se @Brendan 

I was thinking more like Mike Tomlin or the Harbaughs or Mike McCarthy...plenty of fire in those guys but they aren't blowhards.

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

I don't mind the intensity during a game...that is what you want from your HC and your players...