Jets’ Loss Means No Super Bowl for New Jersey

This is an old dispute, but it has acquired a sharper edge than usual thanks to New Jersey’s blunt-speaking governor, . Before the loss to the on Sunday, Mr. Christie was more defiant than most of his predecessors about who has claim to a team that defies geography by calling itself the New York Jets.

At a pep rally in Florham Park, N.J., on Saturday, he told a pumped-up crowd that he had a message for Mayor and Gov. : “When the Jets train, they train in New Jersey. When the Jets play, they play in New Jersey. And the Super Bowl trophy’s coming to New Jersey.”

Mr. Christie did not get that last part right, but the rest of his remarks were on target. The Jets abandoned New York in the 1980s to join their fellow defectors, the so-called . Just last week, the man who led the Jets across the Hudson River, , was named posthumously to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

If name alone makes the team part of New York, then Manhattan Pizza and Pub in Burlington, Vt., also qualifies.

Mr. Bloomberg was probably already thinking about a ticker tape parade along Lower Broadway, like the one that he sponsored when the won the Super Bowl three seasons ago. Mayors like parades, especially mayors whose approval ratings have tumbled, as Mr. Bloomberg’s have of late.

(It would be nice if the city could find something other than athletic triumphs as a reason to haul out the confetti that now substitutes for ticker tape. Since 1991, there have been nine parades, all but one sports-themed. The exception, in 1998, honored Senator , the former astronaut, who had returned to space at age 77 aboard the shuttle Discovery. That one echoed a celebration of Mr. Glenn in 1962, when he became the first American to orbit the Earth. The 1998 reprise was to parades what “Rocky Balboa” was to the interminable “Rocky” franchise.)

The mayor was not about to let Mr. Christie’s jabs go unanswered. “They don’t call him Turnpike Joe,” he shot back in a reference to , the Jets’ great quarterback of the 1960s and ’70s. He was right: Mr. Namath was not called Turnpike Joe. His man-about-town ways earned him the nickname Broadway Joe. That’s because — hello! — the team played in New York in those days.

IN any event, there will be no parade, along with no need for trash-talking over which side of the Hudson has primacy. The tabloids no longer have reason for predictable articles about how New York City is superior to , Wis., whose Packers would have been the Jets’ Super Bowl opponent. Nor will we have the sports bets that political leaders — though not Mr. Christie — like to make.

In that regard, it’s too bad that the also fell short of qualifying on Sunday for the Super Bowl. We could have challenged Chicago not only over football but also over who has more politicians in prison or mobsters with intriguing nicknames. New York and New Jersey both have solid bragging rights after a batch of federal indictments last week of guys assigned handles like Tony Bagels, Vinny Carwash and Jack the Whack.

But we New Yorkers cannot begin to rival Chicagoans in terms of long-term sports suffering.

Jets fans bemoan the fact that the team has not gone to the Super Bowl since 1969. But think of Chicago, especially its baseball fans. The have not been to the World Series since 1945, or won it since 1908. The have but one Series victory since 1917. Then think of the , whose fans find it unbearable that the team has not won the Series since way back in Year 1 of the Obama presidency.

For enduring football frustration, our best contender may be a team that did go to the Super Bowl — for four straight years in the 1990s. But it lost every time. So near to glory, and yet so far.

It is the only team that plays in New York. It is called the .

E-mail: haberman@nytimes.com

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply