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What’s happened to the New York Jets since their last playoff appearance?

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 24: Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets reacts in the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

A lot has transpired for the New York Jets since reaching the 2010 AFC title game. And much of it hasn’t been very good.

If you believe it’s been an awfully long time since the New York Jets were a playoff team, you are completely accurate. It’s now been roughly a decade since the Green and White appeared in back-to-back AFC championship games in both 2009 and 2010—coming up short in Indianapolis and in Pittsburgh, respectively. The club was under the command of boisterous Rex Ryan, who certainly brought a little swagger to the team.

But the bottom line is that the Jets have now gone nine consecutive years without reaching the postseason. It’s the second-longest stretch in the history of the franchise which began play in 1960 in the original American Football League and under the name of the New York Titans.

After reaching the 1969 postseason, the club went 11-straight seasons (1970-80) tournament-less before earning a wild card berth in 1981. It’s also worth noting that this organization hasn’t won a division title since 2002, the first year of the NFL’s latest realignment (from six to eight divisions).

The Jets have posted just one winning season since 2011, and that came in 2015 when head coach Todd Bowles guided the club to a 10-6 record. Unfortunately, of course, they fell short of the playoffs. Since then, there have been four straight losing campaigns under Bowles and current sideline leader Adam Gase and a combined 21-43 mark.

So what went wrong for a club that roughly 10 years ago look like it was making progress? Perhaps giving then-starting quarterback Mark Sanchez a bigger role and not relying on a strong ground the pain was a mistake given it was just third year in the league.

The fifth overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft seemed to regress as the team relied more on the passing game than what got them to where they were for two seasons. During Sanchez’s rookie campaign, New York led the NFL in rushing, and one year later, only three teams in the league gained more yards on the ground. In 2011, the Jets slipped to 22nd in the league when it came to running the rock.

Over the past nine years, the green and white are a combined 57-87. There have been six losing campaigns (10 or more losses five times), a pair of 8-8 finishes, and the aforementioned 10-6 showing in 2015. Of course, when you are in a division with the NFL’s most recent dynasty, things don’t come easy as well.

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During Ryan’s first two seasons as head coach, the Jets battled the Patriots a total of five times and won three of those contests, including an upset victory in the 2010 AFC Divisional Playoffs at Foxborough. Since then, the team is a combined 2-16 vs. Bill Belichick’s squad and have dropped eight consecutive games in the series.

Of course, this was a team in 2019 that won six of its final nine outings after a miserable 1-6 start. That’s little solace when it comes to the past nine seasons but once quarterback Sam Darnold was healthy and back in the groove, this was a better football team a year ago.

It’s been a dismal stretch for a franchise that has now gone more than 50 years without winning an NFL title. But perhaps last season’s 6-2 finish was the start of some good things for a team desperate for success.

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