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Was this the worst stretch in the history of the New York Jets?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 2, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN.
Joe Douglas, New York Jets (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

This stretch of football has been an unending nightmare for Jets fans

The New York Jets have played a lot of bad football in their time. They rank 27th all-time in win percentage among all NFL franchises, winning only 414 games compared to 527 losses and eight ties. However, the last six years have been especially difficult for Jets fans.

Since the Jets missed just playoffs in 2015, the team has exceeded five wins in a season only once (2019). They have bottomed out the division in all seasons except that 2019 campaign.

So is this truly the worst six-year stretch in Jets history?

I look at total wins, losses, win percentage, and point differential to find that answer.

Six-year horrors

If the Jets win at least six games in 2022, the worst six-year stretch in team history will finally be over. From 2016 to 2021, the Jets have won 27 games to 70 losses with a horrific point differential of -817. They have been outscored by 21 points or more a whopping 16 times.

All those numbers are by far the worst in team history. The last time the Jets had only 27 wins in six years was from 1972 to 1977 – when there were only 14 games in a season.

These past six years have been a wild ride, to say the least. The fall of Fitzmagic, Josh McCown‘s career year, the rise and fall of Jamal Adams, the anointment and eventual trade of Sam Darnold, and finally the first year of the Douglas – Saleh – Wilson era.

Now, only two players remain from pre-2019: long snapper Thomas Hennessy and defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd. It’s small consolation that the Jets are mostly removed from that time, but the last three years haven’t been much better.

When zooming in on three-year runs, though, these last three seasons constitute merely the second-worst stretch in team history. From 1994 to 1996, the Jets won only 10 games vs. 38 losses. That time was lowlighted by a 1-15 season in 1996. 2019-21 is not that far off, though: the Jets were outscored by 491 points over the last three years, compared to 382 from 1994 to 1996.

Enough about the worst stretch in Jets history, though. What was the best?

The best stretch in franchise history

Quarterback Zach Wilson has his work cut out for him if this is to be the case, as the Jets would need to win at least 11 games for the next five seasons. On the bright side, the Jets’ best six-year stretch came immediately after the second-worst six-year stretch in Jets history.

After winning only 30 games from 1991 to 1996 (31.25% win percentage), the Jets would win 57 games from 1997 to 2002 (59.38% win percentage). The Jets also had their best point differential in this stretch, outscoring opponents by 246 points.

Unfortunately, that did not equate to postseason success. The Jets would make it to the playoffs three times in those six seasons, finishing 2-3 in the playoffs.

The Jets’ next-most successful six-year stretch came from 2008 to 2013. Over this stretch, the Jets won 51 games (53.13% win percentage) and made it to the playoffs three times. In that period, they went 5-3 in the playoffs, finishing a game away from the Super Bowl twice.

The Jets have hopes for future success

It’s been a rough few decades for Jets fans, as the team has struggled to shake the narrative of the “Same Old Jets.” Despite these struggles, the last 10 years have been the worst in franchise history.

However, general manager Joe Douglas has given the Jets franchise hope for a bright future.

In total, the Jets have drafted 26 players from 2020 to 2022 since Douglas took over. In that time, they have made an astounding six first-round picks. The last time this occurred was from 2000 to 2002. Those drafts set up the Jets for their best decade, as the team made playoffs six times from 2000-10.

Now it’s up to the new generation to have similar success.

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