As Star Wars fans celebrate their annual holidays, we unite the franchise with the New York Jets and see which players best emulate the films.
NFL fans have recently celebrated their holiday, with the NFL draft running its seven rounds in Cleveland over the weekend. Now, it’s Star Wars‘ fans turn.
Supporters of a galaxy far, far away have supported “May the Fourth,” a play-on words of the sci-fi franchise’s famous quote, “May The Force Be With You.” The festivities continue on Wednesday through the “Revenge of the Fifth,” referencing the sixth film (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) released in the episodic film saga that began in 1977.
Jets X-Factor seeks to create a rare union between, say, the New York Jets and Geonosis as we compare members of the team to elements of the nine episodes …
The Phantom Menace: The Revamped Run Game
One of the most exhilarating sequences of Episode I features young Anakin Skywalker beginning his path toward his destiny through a high-speed podracing endeavor. Anakin’s climb from a slow start to a blazing victory over his rival Sebulba emulates what the Jets’ rushing attack is going through now: they’re in a relatively dark place as they pick up the pieces after the Le’Veon Bell era.
But they’re working their way back with the addition of two-time Super Bowl participant Tevin Coleman, who allowed the Jets to be patient when it came to adding another set of legs on draft weekend. They eventually gained said reinforcement in Michael Carter, who joins a triumvirate of young projects, including La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams.
Attack of the Clones: The New Receivers
In the latter stages of Episode II, Anakin, Padme, Obi-Wan Kenobi and other heroes of the Republic are in dire straights, surrounded by the droid armies under the command of Count Dooku. But a squadron of clone troopers arrives at the perfect time, kicking off the Clone Wars in victorious fashion.
The Jets are in a relatively similar spot, with Zach Wilson posing as their Jedi Knight…but he’s going to need some help. Fortunately, help appears to be on the way in the form of talented receivers, both veterans (Corey Davis, Keelan Cole) and rookies (Elijah Moore) alike. Here’s hoping their collaboration ends more lucratively than that between the clones and the Jedi, though.
Revenge of the Sith: WR Jamison Crowder
You’ve heard about the comparisons between Bill Belichick and Darth “Palpatine” Sidious, but it’s about time the Jets turn the Dark Side in their favor. In the midst of Great Jedi Purge at hands of Palpatine’s brainwashed clone troopers, several lightsaber-wielding heroes like Obi-Wan and Yoda are able to escape and leave their own trail of destruction.
Jamison Crowder has a chance to be that as one of the few leftovers from the Adam Gase era and by far the Jets’ most consistent weapon over the last two seasons. Under a new offense and a new quarterback, it’s possible his reign could continue.
A New Hope: QB Zach Wilson
Countless names have filled the role of Luke Skywalker over the years, the most recent of which was Sam Darnold, who now represents the Carolina system. Wilson is the latest, called upon to learn the ways of the green Force from Master Douglas. He’ll need a few training sessions before taking down a new empire, one that has formed its Death Star in Buffalo. Fortunately for Wilson, he is far from the “only hope” repeated by Princess Leia Organa in her desperate plea to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The Empire Strikes Back: Head Coach Robert Saleh
After escaping the cave of the wampa in the movie’s opening act, Luke encounters a vision of his late mentor Obi-Wan, imploring him to go to the Dagobah system to learn from the green Jedi Master Yoda. The Jets have a new green master to work with as well, previously guiding the defensive armies of San Francisco to great success on the west coast. A healthy mix of veterans and youngsters will seek to learn a new way of the Force: the 4-3 defense many expect Robert Saleh to implement.
Return of the Jedi: LB C.J. Mosley
The end of the original trilogy is highlighted by the unexpected return of Anakin Skywalker, shedding his Darth Vader demons to take down the evil Emperor Palpatine. It’s been a while since the Jets’ Rebel Alliance has seen the antics of C.J. Mosley work on their side, though the Baltimore import has had far more legitimate reasons for his absence (injuries and a 2020 opt-out). With a new staff and formation in tow, Mosley is set to make his triumphant return in 2021.
The Force Awakens: DT Quinnen Williams
There has been an awakening, and Jets fans certainly felt it in the form of Williams. Like Rey and Finn before him, Williams came from humble beginnings before going on to make a difference and provide hope in dark times. Many wrote him off as a bust after a tough rookie year, much like the aforementioned galactic pair were seen as a mere scavenger and nameless stormtrooper respectively.
But as they led the charge against the Resistance’s assault on Starkiller Base, Williams led invasions of opposing backfields, earning 55 tackles and seven sacks. The third-year pro will have to spend some time in the Jets’ bacta tank, as he was reportedly injured during on-field work at the Florham Park facility. However, he should be ready for Week 1 action.
The Last Jedi: The Championship Newcomers
A good portion of Episode VIII centers on Rey and others trying to convince a despondent Luke, a former legend of the galaxy, to return to battle against the First Order. This offseason saw the Jets convince several champions of their gridiron galaxy to join their cause. A common theme amongst their free agency additions was playoff experience, working with Vinny Curry, Sheldon Rankins, and Tyler Kroft.
The offseason process also fulfilled an axiom repeated by the film’s main antagonist Kylo Ren: let the past die…kill it if you have to. Douglas was more than happy to listen to the former Ben Solo and let several recent staples walk. Long-tenured linebacker Jordan Jenkins is in Houston while Wilson arrives after Darnold was sent to the Panthers.
The Rise of Skywalker: S Marcus Maye
The ninth and final episodic installment of the Star Wars saga features many returns, primarily that of overarching antagonist Emperor Palpatine. But the heroes had their own brand of nostalgia through the turn of Lando Calrissian, who comes through in the final battle on Exegol with a massive army to help defeat Palpatine’s Final Order.
Much like Lando returned to help the depleted Resistance, Maye returns to anchor the laboring Jets secondary on a franchise tag. Speaking of Palpatine returning—after the complete destruction of his former Empire—comparisons can perhaps be drawn to Brant Boyer, who has now survived two separate coaching staff purgings to retain his position as special teams coordinator.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags