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Ladies and gentleman, the Jets 2017 record

The 2017 season will be the 58th season in Jets franchise history. It is also the least anticipated season by Jets fans in that 58-year history. New York went 5-11 last year, and probably wasn’t even that good (the Jets had an SRS of -8.5, 4th worst in the NFL). In the NFL, the way to give a fan base hope is to be good or to make some exciting changes in the offseason. The Jets retained the same general manager (Mike Maccagnan) and head coach (Todd Bowles) from last year’s uninspiring squad, and while New York switched quarterbacks, the addition of 38-year-old Josh McCown somehow feels like a downgrade on Ryan Fitzpatrick.

How bad is it? The USA Today had the Jets going 0-16. Multiple other outlets have spent time discussing that possibility, too. It’s only a question of degree, at this point: everyone assumes that the Jets are going to be horrible.  McCown is a 38-year-old quarterback who has won 8 games since 2006.  The offense is almost certainly the least talented in the NFL ignoring the quarterback position.  And if you were wondering how they got here, well, since the end of 2016, the Jets also said goodbye to:

And again: this team was terrible last year with those players.  So is this really the least optimistic season in Jets history?  Let’s run through things in reverse order, and explain why Jets fans were feeling better on September 1 of every other season than on September 1, 2017.  For brevity’s sake, I’m going to skip seasons where the Jets went at least .500 in the prior year, because, those seasons obviously had more hope than this one.

  • 2017: The least-anticipated season in Jets history.
  • 2016: Jets went 10-6 the prior season. Optimism!
  • 2015: Jets had a new coach in Bowles, and the additions of Marshall and Decker. Maybe the offense would be good? It was.
  • 2014: Jets went 8-8 the prior season and had a second-year quarterback prospect in Geno Smith who showed promise as a rookie despite a terrible supporting cast.
  • 2012: Jets went 8-8 the prior season.
  • 2011: Jets went 11-5 the prior season.
  • 2010: Jets went 9-7 the prior season.
  • 2009: Jets went 9-7 the prior season.

Is it bad when your QB is older than your coach?

  • 2008: Jets added a 39-year-old QB in the offseason, but it was Brett Favre. Exciting! Hope!
  • 2007: Jets went 10-6 the prior season.
  • 2006: Jets had an exciting new coach in a young Eric Mangini, and Chad Pennington was returning after missing nearly all of 2005. The Jets went 10-6.
  • 2005: Jets went 10-6 the prior season.
  • 2004: Pennington had led the NFL in passer rating in 2002, then was hurt in 2003.  There was excitement about a healthy Pennington in ’04 — SI had the Jets at 9-7 — and the Jets fulfilled that excitement, thanks in part to the best season of Curtis Martin’s career.
  • 2003: Jets went 9-7 the prior season.
  • 2002: Jets went 10-6 the prior season.
  • 2001: Jets went 9-7 the prior season.
  • 2000: Jets went 8-8 the prior season.
  • 1999: Jets went 12-4 the prior season.
  • 1998: Jets went 9-7 the prior season.
  • 1996: This was another low expectation year after a disastrous 1995 campaign; for reference, SI had the Jets at 6-10. But the Jets just drafted Keyshawn Johnson with the first overall pick and signed Super Bowl-appearing quarterback Neil O’Donnell.  There was hope!
  • Leon Hess found his man in… Rich Kotite

    1995: Okay, this Jets team was terrible — comparable to the 2017 squad — but there was at least a small modicum of hope. That’s because — and hear me out, because you need to teleport to September 1995 to understand this — there was excitement about Rich Kotite! He was a Brooklyn guy with a winning record (36-28) in the NFL.  No, really, just read this article. Even wrongheaded optimism is better than Josh McCown.

  • 1994: Jets went 8-8 the prior season.
  • 1993: This Jets team added a 32-year-old Boomer Esiason, who would make the Pro Bowl this season. The defense looked to be decent, especially after signing Ronnie Lott and using the 4th overall pick on Marvin Jones. The Jets started 8-5, but lost their final three games to miss the playoffs.
  • 1992: Jets went 8-8 the prior season.
  • 1991: Blair Thomas, the 2nd overall pick in 1990, looked like a future star RB as a rookie. Rob Moore was on the rise, and Ken O’Brien and Al Toon were still around. There was hope about the offense, at least. The Jets finished 8-8.
  • 1990: Another bad team, but at least there was a new HC in Bruce Coslet and the addition of Thomas to the backfield. O’Brien was 30 years old, Toon was 27, and the Jets had just drafted Moore with a first round pick in the supplemental draft. You can see a real offense coming together!
  • 1989: Jets went 8-7-1 the prior season.
  • 1988: The Jets still had the bulk of the team that was really good in ’85 and ’86: O’Brien was 28, Toon was 25, Mickey Shuler was about to have a Pro Bowl year at tight end, Wesley Walker and Freeman McNeil were still starters, and Rich Kotite was the OC! What could go wrong? The Jets actually finished the year 6th in scoring, and as noted above, went 8-7-1.
  • 1987: Jets went 10-6 the prior season.
  • 1986: Jets went 11-5 the prior season.
  • 1985: The Jets used a 1st round pick on Ken O’Brien in 1983, but he didn’t enter the season as a starter until this year.  The Jets had gone 7-9 in ’84, leaving optimism if O’Brien could turn into a quality quarterback (he did).
  • 1984: Again, there was optimism surrounding O’Brien, although he sat behind Pat Ryan for most of the year. But the Jets still had Mark Gastineau (about to set the sack record), Joe Klecko, and Marty Lyons, and some exciting players on offense (Freeman McNeil was a Pro Bowl, Walker and Shuler were still in their primes). The Jets started 6-2, went 1-7 down the stretch.
  • 1983: Jets went 6-3 the prior season.
  • 1982: Jets went 10-5 the prior season.


  • 1981: The New York Sack Exchange! Klecko, Gastineau, Lyons, and Abdul Salaam were about to break out. Lyons was a 1st round pick in ’79, Klecko had turned into a good player but not yet a star, Gastineau showed signs in ’80 (11.5 sacks) that he was about to break out, and Salaam was the reliable veteran. The Jets would fall one shy of the NFL record with a whopping 66 sacks on defense, and that level of output wasn’t entirely unexpected.  Richard Todd was still in his prime, and there was hope that he would rebound from a bad 1980 (he did). And the Jets drafted McNeil with the 3rd overall pick. The Jets went 10-5-1.
  • 1980: Jets went 8-8 the prior season.
  • 1979: Jets went 8-8 the prior season.
  • 1978: Richard Todd, the 6th overall pick in the ’76 Draft, wasn’t bad in his first year as a starter in ’77.  Surely he would get better. And the Jets had a star young receiver in Wesley Walker, who led the NFL in yards per catch as a rookie in ’77 (and would do it again in ’78).  The Jets wound up finishing 3rd in scoring (although thanks more to Matt Robinson than Todd) and went 8-8, which is more than the 2017 Jets could hope for.
  • 1977: The team had moved on from Namath, and now Todd — again, the 6th overall pick in the ’76 Draft — was the team’s new QB. Exciting!

This guy does not appear to be a professional coach. Looks are not always deceiving.

  • 1976: The Jets added Lou Holtz! A young and promising college coach! What could go wrong?
  • 1975: Jets went 7-7 the prior season.
  • 1974: Joe Namath had been arguably the best quarterback in football in 1972, then missed most of ’73 due to injury.  Namath was back, baby! Plus the team had a real winner at head coach: Charley Winner, that is. The former Cardinals head coach was replacing Ewbank and surely would restore the team to its glory days.
  • 1973: Jets went 7-7 the prior season.
  • 1972: Namath was just 29 years old, and had been hurt most of the last two years.  Namath was back, baby! He ended up leading the NFL in ANY/A and had one of the best seasons of his career.
  • 1971: Namath was just 28 years old, and had been hurt most of 1970.  With a healthy Namath, the sky is the limit!
  • 1970: Jets went 10-4 the prior season.
  • 1968: Jets went 8-5 the prior season.
  • 1967: Jets went 6-6 the prior season.

The most important signing in franchise history

  • 1964: Year two of the Ewbank era.  The Jets drafted RB Matt Snell with the 3rd overall pick. Maynard was in the prime of his HOF career, and Bake Turner was a 23-year-old wide receiver coming off a 1,000 yard season.  All this team needed was a quarterback.
  • 1963: The Jets added Weeb Ewbank, who had won a pair of titles with the Colts. What more could a young franchise ask for?
  • 1962: Jets went 7-7 the prior season.
  • 1961: Jets went 7-7 the prior season.

So there you have it. No season has ever been less anticipated by Jets fans than the 2017 season. The 1978, 1995, and 1996 seasons come close, but with a third year coach, a journeyman backup quarterback, and below-average talent at most positions, Jets fans have never had fewer reasons for optimism prior to a season than in 2017.

  • Mark Growcott

    The Jets are just about devoid of any veteran talent on the team and are no doubt looking beyond 2017 which won’t help Todd Bowles’ prospects of remaining as head coach after this season. The Jets apparently reached out to Steve Smith a few months ago but he was content with his new role at the NFLN.

    There seems to be a handful of poor teams in 2017 who will be fighting it out for the top pick in the 2018 Draft. I can’t recall a time when there were this many weak teams. We first heard the talk of the Jets tanking and now more recently the talk of the Bills tanking, we shall see in the next few months how it all plays out but the prospects look bleak for both those teams and many of the following – Browns, Rams, 49ers and Jaguars.

    The 2003 season was unique in that it was the only season in history where every team won at least 4 games and while I would like to see that repeated sometime, the chances are that it will never be repeated.

    As for the Jets, there is the real prospect of them setting a franchise record for fewest points scored in a 16 game season, the 1992 Jets only scored 220 points.

  • sacramento gold miners

    Couldn’t agree more about the bleak outlook for the Jets. Head Coach Todd Bowles may end up paying the price with his job, and that seems unfair. Going back to some of those older Jets players, it’s amazing to know Wesley Walker became a great receiver despite being legally blind in his left eye.

    • McGeorge

      Todd Bowels has done a poor job as HC his prior 2 years. I wouldn’t fire him for this year, but I would fire him for the prior 2, he’s not cut out to be a HC.

  • Mark Growcott

    I can see the 2017 season as being a long struggle for the Jets. They are devoid of just about any veteran talent and some months ago even reached out to former WR Steve Smith who is now working at the NFL Network to gauge his interest in joining the team. They are obviously looking ahead to 2018 which won’t help Todd Bowles’ prospects of remaining as Head Coach beyond this season.

    There looks to be a handful of poor teams chasing the top pick in the 2018 Draft and one of the leading QBs on offer. I can’t recall going into a season with this many mediocre or poor teams. We first heard the talk of the Jets tanking and more recently the talk of the Bills tanking, so we will see how that all plays out in the coming months but the prospects don’t look promising for either of those teams and you can probably add the Browns, 49ers, Rams, Jaguars and Bears to that list too.

    While a repeat of the 2003 season which for the first time in history saw every team win at least 4 games would be desirable the chances are that is not something we will likely ever see repeated again.

    Going back to the Jets, there is the real prospect they could well set a franchise record for the fewest points scored in a 16 game season surpassing the 1992 team that scored only 220 points. J.E.T.S. – Just end the season!

  • kevin trammo

    I am really amused by the association of the word tanking with the 2017 Jets… if the Jets had kept all of these ‘great’ players , what kind of record would they be looking at… Last time I checked Revis and Mangold were still unemployed, are those really big losses. It wasn’t like there was huge lines trying to sign the other ex-Jets either with Richardson and Marshall being the only real pro bowl caliber players entering 2017.And let’s assume under no circumstances was Ryan Fitzpatrick going to be on the Jets after last season, who could the Jets realistically acquired to be the QB for this season, and what would the record have been….. the Jets are in a complete rebuild . Tanking applies that they are taking a viable playoff contender and dismantling it. This isn’t tanking it’s a rebuild and one that should have happened in 2015 if not 2013. For one, I’m glad , the Jets have been trying quick fixes for at least the last 25 years and I’m tired of it. This needs to be done and the media and all the critics who want to label it as tanking or whatever term they want to use need to get over it.

    • McGeorge

      If the Jets retained Marshall, Decker, and Richardson their record would probably be better, with at least 1 additional win.
      They are employing the no offensive weapons approach which should help their tanking, since 3 and outs tire the defense by the 2nd half.

      I can see 3-13 or 2-14, but who knows, if they lose a few games and go to Hackenberg they could go 0-16.

    • Richie

      Honest question: what is the point of starting McCown over Hackenberg or Petty? Isn’t there still a chance that Petty or Hackenberg could play? Why not give them a shot? It’s not like McCown is likely to make this team a winner.

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  • Maybe the organization thinks that a total rebuild is the only option, but I’m always amused that THIS is the best than an NFL team can come up with. They have to know that they have no chance of competing this year. It reminds me of the 2003 Cardinals – to this point, my favorite example of a team that’s clearly given up, but not willing to admit it. After several disappointing seasons when they were a darkhorse to contend, they dumped Jake Plummer (leading passer previous 6 years), David Boston (leading receiver previous 3 years), and a young Thomas Jones. Then they replaced them with 34 year old Emmitt Smith, 33 year old JEFF BLAKE, and lucked into Anquan Boldin in the 2nd round of the draft. They finished last in the league in scoring, and if not for Boldin’s 1,377 yard season, they probably would’ve been worst in yards too. They signed Dexter Jackson off his Super Bowl MVP to a huge contract, but otherwise made no new additions to their 29th scoring defense. Then they had a ton of injuries and finished with the worst scoring defense to go with their worst scoring offense. I remember following them that offseason and thinking that no one in their right mind could have possibly thought that this roster would be anything but one of the worst teams in the NFL. Their 4-12 record actually outperformed their expected W-L of 2.6-13.4. Of course, I also love this team forever because they played this pathetic season to the final whistle and came back from 11 down with 2 mins left and beat the Vikings on a Hail Mary to get the Packers into the playoffs.

    • Richie

      Come on! You forgot the best part. That hail Mary against the Vikings was thrown by……JOSH MCCOWN!!!

      • Good catch. I could’ve brought it full circle! Though, I’m sure some clueless franchise will inexplicably sign McCown to be their quarterback next year and I’ll have another crack to tell this story again. After Chase writes “The Outlook Has Never Looked Bleaker For A Bills Season” next year, I’ll tell the story properly!!

  • Deacon Drake

    Yeah, not sure why the Jets didn’t just completely clean house and bring in new coaches/GMs this offseason… Now they will likely loses 2018 to rebuilding/rebranding as well. No way Bowles survives the season if they are 3-13 or worse, and the GM situation isn’t much better. Browns and Lions have shown that the bottoming can take 3+ seasons, so why not find the coach of the future now as well?

    • McGeorge

      If the Jets had fired the GM and HC (neither has done a good job) they would have difficulty hiring competent replacements. They would be in the same situation the 49ers were in, having to give out very long guarantees.
      It’s better to tank, then fire the FO after the season, then a new GM can have his QB and HC.
      But that won’t happen. The owner will probably keep the GM for 2018 as well.
      The GM has done a below average job, and by treading water for several years has managed to age and destroy a bad team. The HC is clearly not suited for the position, but he’ll probably be back in 2018.

      • Deacon Drake

        The Patriots were in this situation in the early ’90s. Team had overachieved in the ’80s, never reloaded or drafted well, got old, harassed female reporters… Yet, Parcells fixed it in 18 months. Then 3 years later, he did the same for the Jets. You can’t mask shit smell with fabreeze… you burn it down. Yet the Jets aren’t doing that. They are just plodding along with the status quo. What blows for Bowles is that he is in a total Lose/Lose. He is going to fail if he coaches, and will be fired. His reputation as a head coach will be crap and may not get a second chance. But if he quits Petrino-style, his reputation is ruined and he is branded quitter and won’t get another job again. The only thing he can do is go Lou Brown and “win the whole fuckin thing”.

        • McGeorge

          Bowles would have done better if Maccagnan (the GM) had drafted better. But Bowels still makes mistakes and is not HC material. His defense was bad, and his coach selection bad. I would love a clean sweep after the season, sadly it won’t happen.

    • Richie

      “No way Bowles survives the season if they are 3-13 or worse,”

      Why? Does management really think they provided Bowles with a roster good enough to win 4+ games? If not, why fire a guy in an impossible situation? Why not fire him last year if that was the case?

  • Josh Carter

    too bold of a statement, there’s plenty to be optimistic about, first of all we got the 2nd best overall player in draft in Jamal Adams. Marcus Maye has looked terrific throughout camp and preseason and the wrs they drafted looked good in preseason too. the qb and OL situation is as dismal as ever but we have good RBs. Powell is primed for a breakout year and Eli Mcguire was starting to look good towards the end of pre season. if the ol can just be decent, we should get 5-8 wins on defense and run games back

    • McGeorge

      The problem is if the offense consistently goes 3 and out the defense is on the field with bad field position for most of the game. Eventually they will tire. I can’t see this team being as good as last years crappy team, even with the additions of Adams and Maye.

  • Richie

    I feel like teams that are expected to be really bad, rarely end up being as bad as expected.

    Looking at the implied SRS ratings from 2015 http://www.footballperspective.com/implied-srs-nfl-ratings-for-2015/ the 3 worst teams were expected to be Jacksonville, Tennessee and Oakland. Jacksonville ended up 5-11, Tennessee 3-13 and Oakland 7-9.

    In 2013, http://www.footballperspective.com/implied-srs-ratings-of-each-nfl-team/ the worst teams were Jacksonville (4-12), Oakland (4-12) and Tennessee (7-9). (The same 3 teams in different order!?!!?) The worst teams were actually Houston (2-14) and Washington (3-13).

    In 1999, ESPN http://a.espncdn.com/nfl/preview99/rankings.htmlhad Philadelphia (5-11), Cincinnati (4-12) and Carolina (8-8) as the worst teams. Cleveland (2-14) and New Orleans (3-13) had the actual worst records.

    I think part of this is because getting rid of big names like Revis and Mangold seem like the team is getting rid of good players. But instead they are replacing them with younger guys with more upside.

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