New York Jets all-time great Wayne Chrebet greatly appreciates the movie “Elf” for a very good reason that deals with No. 80.
The first real fan-worn sports jerseys started to surface in the 1970s, but its popularity really began to explode in the late 1980s.
From the Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown Hoyas gear in pop culture to hip hop artists regularly sporting hockey jerseys (Tupac’s Detroit Red Wings jersey and Snoop’s Pittsburgh Penguins jersey in “Gin And Juice” come to mind), the 1990s saw an explosion in this area.
This, of course, isn’t limited to just music. Movies have also thrown in many fan sports jersey cameos, and one such example is close to the New York Jets fan’s heart. Apparently, it’s also close to Wayne Chrebet‘s heart.
The former Jets wide receiver shouted out his appreciation to the movie Elf on Monday, and no, it had nothing to do with Will Ferrell’s innocent and child-like performance.
— Wayne Chrebet (@waynechrebet) December 14, 2020
Michael Hobbs, played by Daniel Tay, donned a No. 80 Chrebet road white in the film. The most famous No. 80-Elf moment is the Christmas tree scene that saw Buddy leap higher than any one of Chrebet’s NFL receptions (the Garfield, NJ native would probably admit that himself).
Released in 2003, the movie is an unbelievable 17 years old. Chrebet was still with the Jets, a struggling 6-10 team that season mainly thanks to a Chad Pennington preseason injury sustained against the Giants.
Not only did Pennington miss time, but so did Chrebet. Playing in just seven games, the Hofstra alumn, who received his degree in criminal justice, failed to play at least 11 games for the first time in his NFL career. (He played in at least 15 games in every season other than 1999, 2003 and 2005.)
By the time the Jets won 10 games and beat the San Diego Chargers in the wild card round the following year, Elf had been embedded in the hearts of all Christmas lovers worldwide. While many observers wondered quietly who No. 80 actually was, New York Jets fans had no such problem.
As far as other classic Jet moments in movie history, that’s another topic for a different day.