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Ranking the top 5 days of the NFL year (for New York Jets fans)

NFL draft
NFL draft, Getty Images

What is the best day on the NFL calendar (for the NY Jets fan)?

The encroaching 2024 NFL draft has me thinking about the top five days of the football calendar. After firing out a recent tweet (or X post), there was very little consensus amongst New York Jets fans on how to rank these iconic days.

Full disclosure: The following can only be surmised as my personal opinion. You undoubtedly have a right to your own, but let’s get this out of the way at the very top: I just think yours is wrong, and the below is the best ranking.

And … here … we … go …

5. Championship Sunday

This was a toss-up—between the divisional round and Championship Sunday (the conference title doubleheader), but I lean toward the latter.

Conference Championship Sunday is the highest quality of football in existence. Back-to-back games of heavyweight teams with strong pedigrees make it the ideal teaser trailer for the big game.

This day has led to significant highlights and lowlights of Jets fans’ lives dating back to the 2009 and 2010 seasons. There is something different about playoff football, and it’s going to feel really good to be back in this game next January.

4. Legal tampering window opens

Two days before the official start of the NFL league year, we are blessed with the organizations having the ability to tamper with free agents legally. Although it’s probably one of the silliest traditions in professional sports, these handshake agreements are usually in place at 12:01 a.m. ET between teams and free agents does, indeed, fall into the legally tampering window.

This day is so important for me because, for the most part, the month of February is the absolute worst.

The dead time between the Super Bowl and legal tampering is only about 40 days—yet it feels like 400. This is the first moment the Jets feel like they are truly back and ready to win the offseason for the fifth season in a row.

3. Super Bowl

I will probably get killed for not listing the Super Bowl in the top two, but I must stick to my beliefs and morals.

Super Bowl Pros:

  • Super Bowl boxes
  • Super Bowl prop betting
  • Getting a text from your grandma that she hated the halftime show
  • Super Bowl parties
  • High-quality football (now that the NFC’s absurdly dominant run of the 1980s and the better part of the 1990s is over)
  • Buffalo chicken dip
  • Explaining to my fiance when the clock starts and stops
  • Pizza
  • Beers
  • Wings
  • Asking for loved ones’ Social Security Numbers so they can create an account using my referral bonus—all en route to incremental bonus bets for my own account

The Cons:

  • I get to watch a non-New York Jets fan base bask in the glow of exhilaration and ecstasy …
  • … which undoubtedly and admittedly adds to my already immense bitterness

2. NFL draft

I have never tried the stuff Rick James once emphasized on “Chappell’s Show,” but I bet it feels a little something like hearing the ESPN NFL draft chimes hit. (Disclaimer: ESPN’s NFL draft chimes are a hell of an awesome thing.)

The NFL draft is just a perfect three days, especially for New York Jets fans. Consistently picking in the top 10, the Jets can land a highly touted NFL prospect each April.

Whether or not the Jets have hit on those players is beside the point. There is truly no better feeling than drafting a player in the sixth round, watching one highlight tape, and Jets Twitter collectively declaring him the chosen one.

Remember, the season of hope is the climax of each NFL calendar—around these parts, at the very least.

I am also a sucker for post-draft grades before these guys even take a snap in the NFL. Oh, Mike Maccagnan drafted an interior defensive lineman from Canada who is 27 years old. … Yeah, that earns an A+ draft grade from me (obviously).

There is also the drama of the players who are selected before the Jets. With each and every selection, the Jets’ pool of players dwindles. Fans are then forced to hold their breath, curse out Joe Douglas for trading down, and pray positions of need don’t fly off the board (hello, Denzel Mims).

This year, the Jets can add a top 10 offensive player to an undisputed top 10 roster in just 15 days, which means hope reigns supreme. Will it be an offensive tackle, like J.C. Latham or Joe Alt? Or, could Douglas and company point to a weapon like Brock Bowers or Rome Odunze—en route to making Aaron Rodgers’s life that much easier?

1. Week 1

Debate a wall. This is the undisputed greatest day of the year for football fans. NFL Week 1 is superior to the Super Bowl, the NFL draft, and all the rest.

It’s the weekend featuring the return of football and a clean slate for all involved.

After a long offseason filled with free agent acquisitions, NFL draft talk, position battles in training camp, and losing money while betting on baseball—because you just missed football so much—you finally made it.

You didn’t just make it to your destination; you are embarking on a brand new journey. It can represent a magical road trip’s commencement with your college buddies, ultimately turning out to be the greatest trip of your life, or it can end with your roommate being arrested for aggravated assault.

Either way, for just a single moment, we all feel alive.

Everyone is 0-0, expectations are officially out the window, and all that matters is you get to watch your team play a meaningful football game.

Whether you are at home or in actual attendance, that first domestic beer cracking open hits harder than Calvin Pryor’s Louisville tape. The crisp fall air, throwing the football, and injuring your shoulder pre-game take center stage on tough-as-nails concrete. That weird uncle pontificating about how Robert Saleh knows nothing about coaching football looms loudly in the background.

It’s all right there in front of you—Week 1 is special and is more important to me than my 3-month-old child’s birthday. (After all, it’s not my kid’s final birthday.)

Where was I right? Where was I wrong? Let me know in the comments.

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