Mike White, Keelan Cole, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals
Mike White, Keelan Cole, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images
  • Naturally, one of the four teams the New York Jets defeated in 2021 is playing in Super Bowl 56.
  • Incredibly, the Jets accomplished something against the AFC champs, the Cincinnati Bengals, that nobody else could get done this past season.
  • How will Cincy handle the uniform decision against the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl?

The Cincinnati Bengals’ ‘Road Warrior’ aesthetic was no match for the New York Jets

It’s only appropriate that the New York Jets earned a special aesthetic accomplishment on Halloween, the most fashionable of holidays.

Though the Cincinnati Bengals were riding the momentum of an AFC North division title, few had them destined for Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. Thus, their surprising championship bid has been mostly staged in their white road uniforms, which they’ve paired with white pants in upset victories over the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, topping the latter in a 27-24 overtime victory in Sunday afternoon’s AFC Championship Game.

Including their past two playoff games (they wore their traditional home black jersey in their postseason debut in the Wild Card round win over Las Vegas), the Bengals have worn the all-white set on seven occasions this season.

Cincinnati is now 5-1 in those contests after Sunday’s win. The lone exception? October 31’s defeat at the hands of the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

In Jets lore, the 34-31 win over the newly crowned AFC champions will likely always go down as the “Mike White Game,” which saw the backup quarterback throw for 405 yards and conjure 20 points (three touchdown passes and a two-point conversion via trick play from the hands of Jamison Crowder) in relief of Zach Wilson.

While White’s other two starts (one cut short due to injury) failed to live up to the hype of his first, he made league history in his memorable debut.

With his 400-plus yard tally, White became the first NFL thrower to earn such a number in his first start since Cam Newton in 2015 and the first Jet to get that far overall since Vinny Testaverde on Christmas Eve 2000.

To complement White’s output, rookie running back Michael Carter put up 172 yards from scrimmage. New York erased a 31-20 deficit over the final five minutes of play, with White finding Ty Johnson and Tyler Kroft for the winning scores, which sandwiched Shaq Lawson’s interception of Joe Burrow.

This marks the first time that the Jets have won a regular season matchup against the future conference champions since 2010 when they topped the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ironically, Pittsburgh needed to take a rematch from the Jets in the AFC title game to make it to Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, where they eventually fell to the Green Bay Packers.

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The Bengals’ victory over the Chiefs advanced them to their first Super Bowl since the 1988 season. They’ll face the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium (6:30 p.m. ET, NBC), seeking their first Vince Lombardi Trophy hoist.

With the AFC team afforded home team duties this year, the Bengals will have first dibs at choosing their uniform set for the game.

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email: geoffmags90@gmail.com

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