TJB Hall of Fame: Ken O’Brien

We kick off Hall of Fame week today with the first of our tribute articles. Look out for more over the rest of the week. For the first time ever, we decided to let you choose the first of our TJB Hall of Fame inductees for 2014. The winner, with 30% of the vote, just three votes ahead of Chad Pennington and six votes ahead of Vinny Testaverde was Ken O’Brien.

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

My first introduction to NFL football was a Jets-Dolphins game in 1986 that just so happened to be one of the finest performances of Ken O’Brien’s career. O’Brien out-duelled Dan Marino that day, as me and my Dad – who had been in North America when Joe Namath won the Super Bowl – rooted for the Jets. Who knows where I’d be without that performance?

At the time, I knew nothing of the way Marino’s shadow was destined to always hang over O’Brien, following the decision of the Jets to draft him over Marino in 1983. Jets director of player personnel, Mike Hickey, was a man with a reputation for over-thinking picks and trying to hard to outsmart everyone. True to form, he had decided to take the relatively unknown 6-4 kid from a small school in California rather than the golden boy from Pitt who had somehow fallen into the Jets’ laps at 24 amidst unsubstantiated rumors of recreational drug use and a poor wonderlic score.

Marino would go to Miami three picks later, with the Jets bearing the brunt of the media’s criticism for letting him slip through their fingers. While many other teams had passed on him too – including his hometown Steelers, who needed a replacement for Terry Bradshaw and five other teams who drafted first round quarterbacks – it was the Jets that were the easiest target, especially after O’Brien sat out all of his rookie season and most of year two. With Marino already setting records by that stage, albeit while making the most of being able to join a top team with a Hall of Fame coach, the Jets unsettled quarterback system made missing out on him even worse. The fact he was lighting it up with a divisional rival would add further fuel to the fire.

However, O’Brien would finally get his chance and went on to enjoy a successful career with the Jets, where he currently sits in second place in virtually every passing category (apart from interceptions, where he is third). He would attend two Pro Bowls, lead the league in passer rating and get the Jets into the postseason three times over the course of a Jets career that saw him pass for over 24,000 yards and 124 touchdowns.

While he would play his entire career with Marino’s sceptre looming over him, facing off against Marino typically brought out the best in O’Brien, who won more times than he lost (8-7) against Marino with the Jets. That included some of the better performances of his career and – with Marino being one of the most enjoyable opponents to beat in franchise history – that’s as good a reason as any to pay tribute to O’Brien today.

While many Jets fans originally thought the Jets had drafted “some hippy from California,” O’Brien actually grew up in New York and rooted for the Jets (and Namath) as a child. O’Brien was excited to come to New York, but spent his rookie year warming the bench as the Jets went a disappointing 7-9 in Richard Todd’s last season.

In 1984, O’Brien was named as the starter in preseason, but was forced to relinquish the starting job to Pat Ryan after he missed a load of practice time due to a court case that dragged on for three and a half weeks. O’Brien and defensive end Mark Gastineau had been charged with misdemeanor assault following a nightclub incident. O’Brien was acquitted, but Gastineau did end up being found guilty on one of the charges against him, although both players maintained his innocence. In any case, the time wasted on that definitely was a setback in O’Brien’s career development.

As the Jets fell out of postseason contention, O’Brien got the chance to start the final five games of the year. In just his second start, he’d end up facing Marino on Monday Night Football, but he handled the big stage well. While Marino’s Dolphins won the game this time, 28-17, O’Brien impressed by throwing for 267 yards and a touchdown. He also had six passes, including another potential touchdown, dropped. The following week, he threw for over 350 yards against the Giants and then the week after that he led the Jets back from a 17-7 halftime deficit to beat the Bills 21-17 on Tony Paige’s fourth quarter touchdown run. Hopes were high that he could carry this momentum into his first full season as a starter.

In 1985, O’Brien actually exceeded hopes, reaching the Pro Bowl, earning recognition as the AFC Player of the Year and leading the NFL in passer rating. They won 11 games that year – only three teams won more – but unfortunately the Patriots (eventual AFC champions) and Dolphins (12-4 and the only team to beat the Bears all year) were strong too. The Jets split with both during the regular season, but lost to New England in the wild card round. O’Brien was an efficient 13-for-17 with a touchdown pass and an interception, but found himself benched for Ryan in the third quarter as head coach Joe Walton tried to give the team a spark when they fell behind.

That season had some notable performances, not least of which was against the Bucs, where he threw for five touchdowns and the Jets scored a franchise-best 62 points. He also threw a 96-yard touchdown pass to Wesley Walker, another team record, in a win over the Bills and an 88-yarder to the same player in an overtime win over New England. He had also found Walker for the game-winning score in a come-from-behind win over Seattle and led the team to a playoff-berth clinching blowout of the Browns on the last day of the season.

Entering 1986, hopes were high that O’Brien would continue to ascend. Sure enough, that’s what happened. With five games to go in the season, the Jets were 10-1, on a nine-game winning streak and had O’Brien looking like a lock for the MVP as he had a rating of 111 with nobody else over 100.

The win streak had commenced with that Jets-Dolphins game, which happens to be the first NFL game I ever saw. I wrote in detail about it here, but the short version is that it was a wacky shootout that saw O’Brien best Marino again with 479 yards and four touchdowns, including one as time expired to send the game to overtime and another to win the game in the extra session. The combined 927 yards for the two quarterbacks was an NFL record until the Packers and Lions broke it in a meaningless late season game (that game where Matt Flynn threw six touchdown passes) in January 2012.

O’Brien also made history in a big win over the Seahawks that November. He threw for 432 yards and four scores, ending up with a perfect QB rating. Nobody has ever thrown for that many yards and had a perfect rating. In fact, until last season when Nick Foles did it, nobody else had gone over 400.

O’Brien wasn’t done there though, as the following week he completed 23 of his first 25 passes against the Falcons, including a franchise record 17 in a row, just three short of the NFL record at that time.

The Jets had suffered a scare in week six, with O’Brien’s late touchdown to Mickey Shuler being required to earn them a one-point win, but since then had been winning in routine fashion every week, starting with a 22-10 win over the then-unbeaten Broncos, who had been the league’s highest scoring team. O’Brien had been unable to start that game due to a sore knee, but ended up coming off the bench to lead the win. The streak extended to nine with a routine 15-point win over the Colts, but — as the Jets prepared for another meeting with Marino and the Dolphins — that’s where it all started to unravel.

As a rookie Jets fan, here would be my introduction to the “Same Old Jets” mantra. A 45-3 drubbing kick-started a five game slide to culminate the regular season that almost saw the Jets miss the postseason altogether despite their incredible start. Injuries were the main reason for the slide, with O’Brien struggling over the last five weeks as he dealt with the effects of a broken finger.

Ryan would lead the Jets to a win in the wildcard round, but O’Brien would have to relieve him during the divisional round matchup in Cleveland. He played better than he had in any of those last five games and had the Jets in position to win – up 20-10 with four minutes to go. It wasn’t to be and the Jets would miss out on a chance to face another quarterback from the vaunted “Class of ’83″ in the AFC title game: John Elway.

Elway would eventually lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl and, while they would fall short against the Giants, that would still represent the third year in a row that someone from that class would lead their team to the big game. Elway would make it four the following year and, although all four had been losses, this continued to pile pressure on O’Brien. As it turns out, someone from the Class of ’83 would be the losing quarterback in nine of the ten Super Bowls from 1984 onward. None of them won one until Elway finally did in 1998 (and again the year after).

1987 began in promising fashion for O’Brien and the Jets as they were 2-0 with O’Brien boasting a quarterback rating of well over 100. Unfortunately, fate intervened with the player’s strike taking all the momentum out of the season. The Jets’ replacements lost two games and then – thanks to Ryan breaking the picket lines to lead them to an overtime win – edged Miami to move to 3-2 on the year. After 10 games, all five teams in the division were tied at 5-5 and the Jets won their next game, on a blocked field goal return by Rich Miano, to move to 6-5 but lost their last four to drop out of contention again.

1988 ended in similar disappointment, although the Jets did win their last three to end up with a winning record and had some memorable moments, not least of which was O’Brien leading a game winning drive on the final day of the season. O’Brien would hit Al Toon for a last minute score to eliminate the Giants from playoff contention. Two weeks earlier had been another classic Jets-Dolphins shootout. O’Brien hadn’t started this one, but when he came off the bench with the Jets down by 10 in the fourth quarter, he found Mickey Shuler and Walker for touchdowns to once again top his old adversary, 38-34.

With 1988 finishing on a high, the Jets were unable to carry that momentum into 1989. They won just four games and then followed that up by winning just six in 1990. At least in 1990 he was able to start all 16 games for the first time since his pro bowl season in 1985. It was also the first time since then that his quarterback rating had improved upon the previous season. While there weren’t too many memorable moments over those two seasons, he did once again beat Marino in another forgotten Jets-Miami shootout, throwing a late touchdown pass to Roger Vick to lead the Jets to a wacky 40-33 win. That was the third time the teams had combined for over 750 passing yards and 70 points with the Jets victorious in all three.

In 1991, the Jets returned to the postseason and O’Brien returned to the Pro Bowl, albeit only as an alternate after two players dropped out. Still, they broke the four year playoff drought in memorable fashion as they won a winner-takes-all final game of the season against who else but Marino’s Dolphins in Miami. Although it was Johnny Hector’s long run that set up the tying score as time expired, O’Brien put the Jets in position to win in overtime with a perfectly floated long pass on which Rob Moore made an over-the-shoulder catch.

In truth, the Jets should already have been in the postseason, but once again proved to be their own worst enemy. They were 7-5 with four games to go, but then lost their next three to set up the showdown in Miami. That was after they had already thrown four games away that they could – and in a couple of cases should – have won. Despite this, the Jets were not exactly dominant, as Pat Leahy won three games with late kicks and the Jets escaped New England with a seven point win on O’Brien’s late scoring toss to offensive lineman Trevor Matich.

The Jets would fail to advance in the playoffs, losing 17-10 in Houston where they had come from behind to win earlier in the year. That was another “one that got away” as the Jets twice turned the ball over at the three-yard line in the second half.

That would basically be it for O’Brien as the Jets starter. The Browning Nagle era began in 1992 with a sensational debut (366 yards and two scores in a narrow defeat) but that proved to be a false alarm as he never threw for more than 200 yards in a game again. O’Brien did start three more games that year and even threw for three touchdowns to beat Marino again in his best game of the year.

His departure from the Jets was somewhat undignified, as the Jets traded for Boomer Esiason – the only losing Super Bowl quarterback from 1984 to 1993 that wasn’t drafted in the first round in 1983 – and gave him O’Brien’s No. 7, announcing that O’Brien would be traded. He was eventually traded to Green Bay, where he was going to be Brett Favre’s backup, but never played for them and ended up with the Eagles where he played one more season, starting four times. Since retiring, he has been a real estate investor and still roots for the Jets.

While O’Brien’s Jets career seems like a collection of missed opportunities, his talent was undeniable and when he was on-song, he was able to put up some of the best quarterback performances in franchise history. Unfortunately, when the Jets offense was good, their defense let them down and for much of his tenure the offense wasn’t good. That’s widely acknowledged as being due to the Jets’ porous offensive line for much of his time as a Jet, though. As Walton said in 1989, “Pressure makes great quarterbacks look ordinary”.

When they were able to protect him, O’Brien was capable of being great. Walton had some high praise for him in 1986, saying “I’ve been around a lot of tough, smart guys who won even though they couldn’t throw the football that well. Billy Kilmer with the Redskins, Fran Tarkenton with the Giants, they didn’t have a lot of physical ability, they did it by being tough and smart. But in addition to being tough and smart, Kenny O’Brien can throw the football.” That toughness was a common theme too. Check out this quote from the late Dr. James Nicholas, the Jets’ orthopedist: “Ken’s the toughest guy I’ve ever seen. Ken’s even tougher than Joe Namath because he gets hit more than Joe did.”

O’Brien was also underrated as a leader. Marty Lyons claimed the team rallied round him after a Dolphins player criticized him in 1989. Walker recalled to the New York Times how he was disconsolate over a fumble that he had thought was going to cost the Jets the win in that first Dolphins shootout, but O’Brien calmly told him to forget it and ultimately Walker would go on to catch the tying and winning scores.

In terms of statistics, O’Brien is second in franchise history to Namath in terms of yards and touchdown passes and second to Chad Pennington in terms of quarterback rating. He didn’t have the propensity to throw a lot of interceptions that usually accompany big passing numbers, either, three times leading the NFL in terms of lowest interception rate. He’s also the only quarterback in franchise history to throw for 25 touchdown passes twice and, as noted, holds several other team records.

Looking back on my childhood, football was new and exciting for me and Ken O’Brien was a big part of that. While the team didn’t win as much as we’d have liked, sometimes that can have the effect of enhancing the flaws and masking the strengths when we look back upon those days. O’Brien was painfully slow (he never rushed for a touchdown) and had a hard-headed refusal to throw the ball away when pressured, something he acknowledged himself in 1988. However, he threw a beautiful long ball, showed poise, accuracy and intelligence and had the guts and determination to make tough throws under pressure.

Moreover, he was capable of piling up points and, since that time, the Jets offense has never been as exciting as it was when O’Brien was at his peak. As a result, O’Brien brought Jets fans plenty of memorable moments over the years.

I’m pleased to be able to honor O’Brien and welcome him to the TJB Hall of Fame as the first inductee of the Class of 2014. It’s nice to finally be able to associate him with a different class as, for once, we can consider O’Brien’s merits in his own right.

Note: Information contained in this article was compiled from the New York Times archives. Picture credit: Getty Images, via ESPN.




62 comments
Jason_OTC
Jason_OTC

So glad to see Kenny O get credit. Talented player that got almost no support from the organization. Would have been very interesting to see O'Brien in todays game where the QB is afforded so much more protetction. Kenny did seem to always hear footsteps after getting blasted when the line fell apart and did take sacks too often rather than throwing the ball away (or at least that was my impression as a youngster and seems to be accurate since you said it too here) but he still was a quality player. The 91 season was frustrating because of the things you mentioned and the fact that the Jets seemed to always snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. 92 was just a nightmare. I could understand benching O'Brien for a team that was completely starting over but the Jets were not. 


The way they brought in Esiason was a disgrace. Ive liked Boomer but it always rubs me the wrong way when he talks about respect this and that and being an ultimate teammate when he came in and did that.  I know he claimed he had no idea O'Brien was still on the team, but that was an awful way to cast aside the guy who had been the QB for nearly a decade. 

Tequila Joe
Tequila Joe

Great article!  Ken O'Brien is one of the biggest reasons I'm a Jet fan. While most of my neighbors and friends donned Giants Jerseys (especially after 1986 those damn front runners) I proudly wore my neon green Jets sweat pants. At six years old I already had an understanding about my unconditional love; the New York Jets. I was mesmerized by old number 7, the green and the white. I'm glad Ken's being recognized as a true Jet QB and not as some guy the Jets selected instead of Marino. I know Marino is one of the best of all time, but in all seriousness I'm glad the Jets picked O'Brien.  Still to this day people talk about that draft like we were the only ones who passed on Marino. It's a point of contention for me and the reason why I have a scar on my knuckle. I just want to thank Ken for all the memories. 


Joe

marcus81
marcus81

Jets should have been able to draft Peyton, but the dam wuss was probably was afraid of Parcells stern no non sense coaching style and went back for his senior year, if he would have been coached by Parcells he probably wouldn't be the choker that he is

rkymtnjet
rkymtnjet

Off Topic - From the David Nelson AMA on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/nfl/comments/2aozoq/anyone_else_bored_of_the_offseason_how_about_an/ 



Q: what's one Rex anecdote that's stood out to you personally?


A: (David Nelson) Oh man... How do I pick out just 1?

I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but I will. The week when rumors broke that the Jets were interested in Lovie and Rex was pretty much gone, he walked in to our team meeting the night before the game in tears. It wasn't because he was hurt, or because he was upset.. It was because they weren't talking about his players. He didn't care about himself or his future, he cared that what was going on out there was a distraction for his players.

Thats Rex. The man bleeds for his guys. Ask any of his former players and they'll tell you the exact same thing. He's goofy and loves to have fun, but when push to comes to shove, he will go to battle for his guys... And guys love him for that.


Amazing answer from David, and what a great story about Rex!  

cgaines79
cgaines79

No disrespect to bents analysis, I always enjoy it... However there is a bit of revisionist history going on here with regards to O'Brien. Ken gave us 1 2/3 great seasons. During which he looked like, while he wasn't necessarily better then elway or Marino, he was in the conversation. I was elated. However the wheels fell off at the end of the '86 season and never came back. He was a mediocre QB the rest of his career. Capable of a few big games against the dolphins (what jet QB didn't Marino bring out the best in?) but little else. Not to say he was horrible, but his inclusion into a jet HOF, is more an indictment of our sorry QB history. I have no malice towards him, but just need to remind some people of the reality.

Ok, here goes. O'brien fell a part, not just because of a finger injury down the stretch... There was a widely released story by one of the divisions top cornerbacks (can't remember which one) about kens propensity for locking on to targets. It stated all you had to do was watch his eyes. Sounds simple and could be said of all QBs, but the league really did catch up to o'brien. He took too many sacks because he held onto the ball too damn long... Not because of poor line play. Powell, Ward and Fields were all pros. Rasmussen was no slouch either. Hell, I still feel Marvin Powell should be in the HOF. The jets line was so good, that a bunch of no name running backs before McNeil all averaged almost 4.5 ypc.

The receiving corp may have been the best in jet history. I'll take walker and toon in a close win over Maynard and sauer. All respect to Curtis Martin, but freeman McNeil was the most dynamic runner the jets ever had... By a wide margin.

As for Toon, o'brien almost single handedly ended his career. For a QB that won accuracy awards in the offseason QB challenges, he never, never, ever led toon out of trouble! Always threw so toon had to stop and extend up for a pass, leaving him open for some vicious hits. He threw a nice long ball, but slants over the middle to toon... Not so much.

So good for ken o'brien. Always seemed a great guy and I rooted for him and hated joe Walton, especially after '86. You could reasonable ask what Walton did to protect and help his young QB adjust after the league adjusted to o'brien, or after he took so many hits.

Fwiw, I think Pennington, weak arm and all, was a much better QB. Chad had one great season, but until schotty, had never had a bad season. He was more consistent, even if ken did occasionally have a real big game in him

Anyway, thanks for reading my rant :)

Poster formerly known as clarkgaines1979

harvlis
harvlis

Kenny O was an underrated player.  Loved his battles with Miami.  If we had him now, the playoffs would be a no-brainer. 

a57se
a57se

Nice write-up Bent...

Just think, if Obie had stunk up the joint that day in 1986 you might be a Dolphins fan today...you and hank sipping Pina Colada's in Naples!

Brendan
Brendan

Obie is easily in my top 10 Jets that I wish I got to watch live, glad he finally got his TJBHOF due. 

Pete 57
Pete 57

1986 was our year. The Jets crushed teams every week up until week 12. The injuries in week 11 were horrific. NT Joe Klecko, middle linebacker Lance Mehl and two offensive lineman. We lost the entire middle of the team. If we could've gotten by Cleveland, which we should've, I'm sure we would've beaten the Broncos. We were much healthier by then. Famed broadcaster Howard Cosell wrote an article right before the Super Bowl where he stated that if healthy the Jets were the best team to play the Giants in the SB that year.

Wes Miller
Wes Miller

Here's a guy we should give so much more credit to. That game against Miami in '86 was truly amazing to watch.

SackDance99
SackDance99

The 80s Jets were the most talented Jets team ever.  Injuries, especially caused by that lousy Giants Stadium turf, claimed the careers of many great Jets.  I can't get over my feeling in the 80s that Obie held on to the ball too long.  Now, Joe Walton was a terrible HC and it could be that he was at fault.  But, with Shuler and as talented a collection of RBs as the Jets have ever had, why not more dump offs or throwaways?  Obie took so many unnecessary hits and the Jets needed him healthy.  He was lucky to have a great OL, great receivers and a good defense (and special teams).  But, the 80s Jets were a huge disappointment and Obie has to take some of the blame.

marcus81
marcus81

it's doubtful the great players passed on by the Jets would have accomplished the same things with the Jets, just look at John Riggins after he left the Jets, Jets haven't always had the best system in place to get the most out players, hopefully the way this team is being put together they can win a SB before Mangold is no longer a top player.

bradysucks
bradysucks

Ken O'Brien was much better than Sanchez, Pennington, and Geno. I watched the games and he was a good QB (though not great). Pennington was injured non stopped so I rate O'brien higher.....


The Jets were a powerhouse offense with O'brien throwing to Toon, W. W, Mickey S.and Freeman M at RB...........and the Jets haven't been anywhere near as good on offense since then...They had a DOMINANT offense

NYCPEinGermany
NYCPEinGermany

I was an avid Jets fan during (and before) the O' Brien era and it certainly did seem like there were so many missed opportunities, without which he'd be remembered much differently.


On another (slightly sourer) note, it's interesting that there's a quote in this post from Walton saying that O' Brien was smart. I read Gerald Eskenazi's (NY Times Jets beat writer) book about the Jets when it came out and I distinctly remember him writing that off the record, Walton complained that O'Brien didn't have a good grasp of what Walton wanted him to do. 


I still have the book and can try to look it up if anyone cares - though not tonight, it's 6 hours later here and I'm dead tired from the world cup festivities.

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

@marcus81 lol, maybe he didn't want to go to the Jets, but can you imagine if we had Peyton Manning right there for the pickings and we take Jake Plummer..lol considering our historical draft blunders perhaps it was a good thing we didn't have Peyton Manning sitting right there when we were on the clock.

rkymtnjet
rkymtnjet

Ha, Nelson retweeted me and answered my questions. Its a good day!

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

@cgaines79 I don't know but a lot of the times O'brien was either on his back or making erratic throws because he was constantly under pressure, with time he was as good as anyone, very accurate, strong arm and made good decisions "given time", he wasn't so good when pressured which is why he isn't up there With Marino, Elway, Kelly and the rest of the class of 83'. Does he deserve to be inducted into the hall of fame, mmm, it's tough because I would be biased, but probably not, if there was a All Jets Hall of Fame then definately without a question.

Bent
Bent moderator

@cgaines79


You raise some good points, most of which I did touch on in the article.  However, your recollection was way off on this bit...


"He took too many sacks because he held onto the ball too damn long... Not because of poor line play. Powell, Ward and Fields were all pros. Rasmussen was no slouch either."


Powell left the Jets after 1985.  Ward was never an all pro, or even a pro bowler and left the Jets in 1983 anyway.  Fields was an all-pro in 1982, but never went to the pro bowl after that and left the Jets after 1987.  Rasmussen retired in 1981.


So out of the four guys you named, Obie played one full season with Powell, three with Fields (during which time he missed 14 games) and none with the other two.

cgaines79
cgaines79

Not ment to argue or interfere with anyone's fond childhood memories. Hell, I still have a soft spot in my heart for a mets outfield of Steve Henderson, lee mazzilli and Joel Youngblood. Lol! AND I still remember being heartbroken when Seaver and kingman were traded.

Bent
Bent moderator

@a57se Nah, I decided the Jets were my team right at the start of the game and would have stuck with them no matter what.  I doubt I would have become so obsessed at such a young age though.

a57se
a57se

@Pete 57 

That year was almost as crushing as the debacle in Miami a few years earlier. That team was a SB contender but for injuries to the wrong guys.

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

@SackDance99 yea those 80's Jets should have accomplished more what a dissapointment looking back now, Jim Coslet was terrible too, then who did we have? Clueless Kotite? lol success starts from the top down, not the other way around, having talent is meaningless if your head coach doesn't know what to do with it by putting players in a position to make plays. Then we got Parcels who did way more with way less talent. 

a57se
a57se

@SackDance99 

Yeah, Giants stadium...Leon taking the cheap way out...MAN, he was a terrible owner.

marcus81
marcus81

@SackDance99  2002 Jets where great, they may have been top 5 in offense and defense, but the salary cap tore that team apart, lost Coles, Abraham KR, Hall, McKenzie, Jordan to FA, but still had Chrebet and Moss with a healthy Pennington before he got hurt 

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

@marcus81 Good point, can you imagine drafting Marino, we would have been like Dan who?

SackDance99
SackDance99

@marcus81 I completely disagree.  The Jets had been building their whole offense around Riggins and their OL was a dominant OL of the late-70s.  By 1979, the Jets had the #1 rushing offense, with Clark Gaines and Scott Dierking leading the way (under OC, John Idzik, Sr.).  All Jets fans were left wondering, what if Riggins was on the team?  '78 and '79 were back-to-back 8-8 teams and Riggins could've made the difference, especially back in the 4 yards and a cloud of dust days pre-Bill Walsh.

tsjc68
tsjc68

I like how you turned that "I liked Ken O'Brien" post into a "Geno and Marty Mornhinweg and Stephen Hill all suck" post.

Very subtle, broseph.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@bradysucks The book hasn't been closed on Geno, who didn't exactly have Toon, Walker and Shuler for receivers.  One thing for sure, Geno is a better runner than Obie ever was.  Most fans forget how his lack of mobility really hurt the Jets because he wasn't blessed with a quick release to offset his immobility.  Once he was under a heavy pass rush, he was going down.

marcus81
marcus81

@bradysucks  Pennington was great but did not have the talent around him to make the Jets a top team, and after he hurt his arm he could not finish drives in the red zone.

bradysucks
bradysucks

@Hanknaples


When are you gonna start promoting Mangin's entrance into TJB  H.O.F????

cgaines79
cgaines79

Must be because I blocked out (no pun intended) the mike haight years! Lol

SackDance99
SackDance99

@marcus81 @SackDance99 Klecko, Gastineau, Lyons, Mehl, McNeil, Shuler, Walker, Toon, Fields, Powell, Kyle Clifton, Jim Sweeney (deserving of TJB HOF consideration), Dan Alexander, Johnny Hector, Pat Leahy and Dave Jennings.  Plus, earlier in the 80s, Bruce Harper was still around.

marcus81
marcus81

@SackDance99 @marcus81  John Riggins destroyed teams single handedly when he was with the Redskins, the way he was used with the hog Line made a big difference 

bradysucks
bradysucks

@SackDance99 @bradysucks


No doubt about it....Kenny O'brien got sacked a bunch and did not move his feet....His feet were heavy and he was not a top tier QB.....However, he did score a tremendous amount of points for the Jets and he threw a great pass......His passes were things of beauty at times....He was superior to any QB the Jets have had since he retired other than perhaps Vinny.....


I was a Pennington fan but Chad's arm was chopped suey....very weak

bradysucks
bradysucks

@Brendan @Hanknaples


Maybe if the Jets bring back Ghoston and Mangina then Hank's tears can be turned to tears of JOY!!!

Bent
Bent moderator

@Hanknaples


This is why I write the articles and you comment upon them and not the other way around.


"The nicknames that teammates hung on the quarterbacks indicate the way the players perceive the pair. O'Brien, known as Obie, is a somewhat mellow Californian whom few people on the team claim to know well. Ryan, known as Mr. Guts, has a good ole boy, folksy quality, but has also impressed older players with his ability to come off the bench and make things happen."


Source: New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/1986/12/25/sports/walton-reversing-field-benches-o-brien-for-ryan.html


PS - As he got older, many teammates good-naturedly started calling him Slowbie.

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

@Bent @Pablo Bruno @SackDance99 Pete Carroll had a decent season in his one and only season he had as HC of the Jets, IMO the front office could have given him a chance, the players loved him, much like the situation with Rex, but at that point in his career I don't think he would have taken the team further then say a playoff's appearance, after he left us, he coached in college, coordinated with other teams, then he became coach in seatle, and fortunately for him Seatle was in the upswing of a rebuilding team and at that point he has accrued enough experience to take Seatle to where they got last year. But can you sincerely advocate the Jets to wait 15 years even if they had a crystal ball for Pete Carroll to take the Jets to the SB? 

tsjc68
tsjc68

TECMO JOHNNY HECTOR REPRESENT

SackDance99
SackDance99

@bradysucks Geno and Vick both throw as nice a deep ball as Obie and Vinny T.  Those guys may have other problems, but arm strength isn't one of them.

tsjc68
tsjc68

Hank's personal Jets HOF would be fascinating. Like studying the art of a schizophrenic.

Bent
Bent moderator

@Hanknaples I checked it regularly and I don't recall Pennington leading at any point.


The results are what they are Hank.  Polldaddy doesn't let us interfere, you can't vote twice, you can't change the results.  Obie won and deservedly so in my opinion.  Maybe Chad will be a contender next year.

marcus81
marcus81

@SackDance99 @marcus81  he won a SB with the Skins, granted Theisman was a great under rated QB, and Riggins had one of the greatest TD runs ever in a SB, don't forget he set the record with 24 rushing TD's at that time and had multiple 1000 yards seasons for the Skins

bradysucks
bradysucks

@SackDance99 @bradysucks


You can't compare Geno to Kenny O yet.........It's way too soon....


Kenny O'brien threw so many deep passes for touchdowns as a Jet......Geno was putrid most of his rookie year and his passing wasn't good.......and I say this as a guy who supported the Jets drafting Geno....


I think Vick is very good.....much better than Geno

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Bent @Hanknaples Figures that Hank would want Chad.  He's the Dolphins' best QB since Marino.  Maybe he should make the Dolphins Blog's HOF.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@marcus81 It's just that Gaines, Dierking and Long were all at the Bilal Powell level of RB and Riggins was a completely different league.  In '79, the Jets rushed for 2,642 yards with a bunch of replacement level RBs.From '78-'85, The Jets rushed for over 2,000 yards in every full season, except 1980, when Gaines wasn't on the Jets and he was the best RB of the RBBC.  Yet, they still rushed for 1,873 with Todd as the 3rd leading rusher, behind Dierking and Kevin Long, who barely edged out Todd!  I just can't impress upon you how bad these guys were and, fwiw, McNeil and Riggins were battling for the best RB of that post-season, with McNeil's amazing 202 yard performance against the Bengals.  The Jets OL was a great rushing OL and, IMO, that Marvin Powell isn't in the HOF is a travesty.


Riggins' loss to the Jets was huge.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@bradysucks I compared just 1 thing, the ability to throw a deep ball.  Quincy Carter threw a nice deep ball, too.  I'm not comparing Geno and Quincy to Obie career-wise, just the ability to throw a nice deep ball.  And, fwiw, before he lost all his accuracy, Sanchez threw a nice deep ball in '09 and '10.  Of course, Favre could throw a nice deep ball, but Tanny didn't get him a deep threat that would allow him to show his stuff.  Obie was blessed with having Walker, the best deep threat the Jets ever had (and, I'm not slighting Maynard, I just didn't see enough of him).  I hope that Geno/Vick will be able to get some easy bombs this season.

maynard
maynard

I, be seen every Jet QB since Al Dorow. After Namath Pennington is my number two Had he not been injured he would be a lock. OB was aclose third but when healthy Chad was the guy, hands down

SackDance99
SackDance99

@maynard IMO, Chad's 2002 and 2004 before injury seasons were great, but not better than Obie's 85-86 stretch, or Vinny's 1998, which was the best non-Namath season by a Jets' QB.  After 2004, Chad was hard to watch...he just didn't have the arm strength to be more than a dinker and dunker.

bradysucks
bradysucks

@SackDance99 @maynard


The 1985-1986 Jets team had by far the best offense in the franchise's history......O'brien was great that year and the team was headed for a championship......Then the INJURIES happened and it was over.....That team was 10-1 if I remember right before the injuries destroyed that season....That was a CRUSHING season the way it ended because the team was so good to start that year...



SackDance99
SackDance99

@bradysucks The '86 team was probably the most talented Jets team ever.  That's the season that really started to make me think the Jets are cursed.  But, then the Rangers won in '94 and the Red Sox won in '04.  I don't believe in curses anymore.  Just bad coaching and management.  That Giants Stadium turf killed Mehl's career and the concussions ended Toon's.  Along the way, Klecko's leg injuries (which started with a cheap shot from Don Hasselbeck of the Pats) sure wasn't helped by that green cement.