D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Santonio Holmes
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Dissecting the New York Jets last truly great roster brings an incredible reality to the forefront, one Joe Douglas abides by in full.

Robby Sabo

Starting fresh. Back to the drawing board. That dreaded overused word that really doesn’t mean much these days: rebuilding.

For unsuccessful teams, “starting over” is an idea that pops up every few years. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. The New York Jets have been continuously stuck in this mode since Mike Tannenbaum was thrown to the wolves after the 2012 season.

It was at that moment one of the most talented rosters in the NFL had seen its window slammed shut. January 2011 in Foxborough was not only the high point, but it was also the beginning of the end.

For Joe Douglas and the 2020 version, “starting over” is once again the mantra. “Rebuilding” is annoyingly, yet again, smacking everybody in the face with its overbearing presence. What’s not cutting through the noise is exactly how disciplined Douglas must be during these crucial early times and the Jets last truly great roster can help identify exactly what I’m referencing.

Are you in the mood to put a smile on Jets fans’ faces? Go to Twitter and throw up a video of the Jets’ last playoff victory.

It was at this moment the world realized this roster was no joke. Any NFL team could get hot in one tournament. Come on… that 9-7 team fortunate enough to squeeze into the 2009 NFL Playoffs just simply got hot at the right time. They’d have to follow it up in order to really prove something.

After edging Peyton Manning‘s Indianapolis Colts on a Nick Folk field goal the week prior, Rex Ryan’s squad shocked the world by defeating Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. While most Jets fans feel those warm and fuzzy feelings when thinking January 2011, others can’t stand the thought that this roster didn’t take it to the final level: the Super Bowl.

It All Started With Patience

The responses on Twitter are classic. Everybody loves the names of the fellas who actually touch the ball. Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards… it’s those guys fans usually have dancing in their heads in grand, nostalgic fashion.

Sure, those guys did their thing. But this fan is missing the point: those skill players were the last piece of the puzzle.

The 2006 NFL Draft, Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum. Mangini, the man who got away, could have turned into an all-time great Jets coach if things just hadn’t gone down so sour with ownership. But it was the newly-hired head coach and newly-promoted general manager who kickstarted the last great roster with patience.


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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder/Consultant: Elite Sports NY - ESNY. Email: robby.sabo@jetsxfactor.com

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