Lichtenstein: Defeat To Winless Dolphins Ranks As Jets' Most Embarrassing Loss Of All Time

Steve Lichtenstein
November 04, 2019 - 9:48 am
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“This is the NFL. You can’t be embarrassed by this sh**.”

Listen to your team news NOW.

Those were the words of Jets coach Adam Gase following one of the most humiliating defeats in franchise history, a 26-18 loss at previously 0-7 Miami on Sunday. Gang Green (1-7) was beaten rather soundly by a team that had been openly tanking, having traded away a bunch of their better players in pursuit of the highest possible selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Dolphins had been fodder for late-night comedians all season. Now, it’s on the Jets, and their fans, to handle the shame.

Gase doesn’t understand—he’s only been here for half a season. When you’re a Jets fan, the potential for embarrassment is always on the table. As I’ve often said, there’s never a rock bottom. This club’s history is rife with moments that had its most ardent supporters calling in sick to work/school the following day, at least. You didn’t want to have to explain to people how you could possibly still root for these guys.

So how high up does this one, a debacle that included the continued regression of supposed franchise quarterback Sam Darnold while New York’s defense was being shredded by former Jet signal caller Ryan Fitzpatrick, rank on the list?

Here’s the top five solely from my memory over the last 40 years—feel free to add your own nightmares. These were games where my fandom was sorely tested. Therefore, playoff losses, like the Mark Gastineau personal foul-fueled choke job in Cleveland, don’t count. That was one of the rare good teams that made Jets fans proud, even if that season ended horribly.

Ryan Fitzpatrick
USA TODAY Images

Counting down the Jets’ Hall of Shame:

5) September 8, 1996 Colts 21, Jets 7

One of many games, including the infamous Bubby Bruster shovel pass interception in Carolina from the previous season, that I could have selected from the Rich Kotite Error. For this otherwise innocuous early-season contest, I happened to be working the sideline holding the parabolic microphone to the sky for the WFAN radio broadcast. Between the lightning delay, heavy rains and the Jets’ ineptitude, that was the closest I’ve ever come to giving up completely on this team. I settled for never returning until Kotite was fired.     

4) November 22, 2012: Patriots 49, Jets 19

Yes, the Mark Sanchez butt fumble game. That it happened in prime time on Thanksgiving night unfortunately made it a blooper for the ages. There are few things worse than feeling pity from in-laws.

3) November 27, 1994: Dolphins 28, Jets 24

Another devastating loss with a moniker—the Dan Marino fake spike game. The Jets blew a 24-6 third-quarter lead. The reasons why they did sent me and the team spiraling into descent.  Head coach Pete Carroll never recovered until, you know, he won a couple of national championships at USC and a Super Bowl in Seattle. 

2) December 14, 1980: Saints 21, Jets 20

The most comparable loss to Sunday’s, it’s not number one because my recollection of it is shaky. I do remember being upset that Bruce Harper, one of my favorite players, wore goat horns. New Orleans, whose fans were the first I ever saw place bags over their heads to shield their shame, was 0-14 heading into Shea Stadium. The 1991 Jets also served up Indianapolis’ sole win of that season, but that was looked at as more of a blip for an 8-8 team at the time.    

1)  November 3, 2019: Dolphins 26, Jets 18

Congratulations, Gase. Your squad gave us number one. You are worse than Kotite 2.0. Because we’re now going on nine years of almost exclusively (save for 2015) lousy football, you are making folks seriously question their loyalty.

We thought the team was on the right track, that it was just prior coach Todd Bowles that was holding it down. Instead, you have made this team a laughingstock.

It was bad enough when Darnold confessed on air to “seeing ghosts” in the blowout loss to New England in Week 7. But three weeks later he’s still not seeing the field properly. How else can you explain that mind-boggling interception at the goal line near the end of the first half? More worrisome, what was with not chasing down the ball into the end zone from the mistimed snap late in the game? What an awful look. 

As for the defense, I know it’s coordinator Gregg Williams’ baby, but someone might want to mention to him that having James Burgess, a practice squad player forced into the starting lineup due to injuries to every other available inside linebacker, needs help covering people one-on-one. Or that cornerback Daryl Roberts might want to alter his technique so that he can actually see the balls before they drop into the receivers’ hands. You can’t keep making the Fitzpatricks and Gardner Minshews of the league look like Tom Brady. 

This was the most embarrassing loss in my lifetime as a Jets fan. Thank you, Gase, for forcing me to take a harrowing stroll down memory lane to make sure. 

For a FAN’s perspective of the Nets, Devils and Jets, follow Steve on Twitter @SteveLichtenst1.

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