The 2009 Hall of Fame class (in no particular order) kicks off with an inspirational talent...

Let me take you back to a simpler time...

No zone blocking systems, no X's and O's

No "can Mark Sanchez make all of the throws?"No worrying about wedge blocking affecting kickoff returns

No incentive clauses, not likely to be earned

No blogging, no websites, no ESPN

No downing of punts inside the ten

No draft busts, no Kiper, no Million Dollar fines

Football was different, when I used to be nine.

I love football. I enjoy the details, the strategic intricacies and statistical analysis as much as I enjoy the brutal, emotive and spectacular competition. Back when I was nine, though, I had a much more innocent and childlike viewpoint of the game I had just discovered. The razzle-dazzle of the game had me hooked, with the futuristically-dressed players so much more glamorous than the mud-covered soccer players or sweatshirt-wearing cricket players my Father introduced to me as the epitome of competitive sport as a child. My Dad explained the rules to me, but obviously many of the finer points of NFL football escaped me. However, on this day, one player moved faster and did more exciting things than anyone else, so he instantly became my favorite...which brings us to Wesley Walker.

Football (and particularly the Jets) was a big obsession for me throughout my childhood and into adolescence and Wesley Walker remained my favorite player until his retirement after an injury-plagued 1989 season. That first game (the heroic 4 touchdown performance in a 51-45 overtime win over Miami, if you didn't click the link above) led to greater things that season, as Walker caught a career high 12 touchdown passes (also including another three against the Colts in week 11) and caught 49 passes for over 1,000 yards. The Jets went 10-6 (having been 10-1 before injuries set in), eventually being eliminated from the playoffs in the divisional round, as despite Walker catching a long touchdown pass on a flea-flicker, the Browns came back from a 20-10 deficit late in the fourth quarter and won in overtime.

The 1987 season got off to a promising start, when Walker went deep - his forte - for a 55 yard TD in an opening day win over the Bills, but the strike and injuries meant that he would only catch another 8 passes that year as the Jets went 6-9.

In 1988, he got off to a slow start, but then busted out with a three touchdown game in a blowout win over the Oilers in week three. He later added game winning scores against the Lions and Dolphins, as the Jets posted a winning record but missed out on the playoffs. He only caught 26 passes on the season, but continued to be a threat, averaging 21 yards per catch and scoring 7 touchdowns. However, by now he was a shadow of his former self, as evidenced by his dropped catch in the end-zone in a key one point loss to the Patriots in week 11. Fittingly, the game winner against Miami would be his last NFL touchdown.

After the 1989 season, where Walker started just three games and caught just 8 passes, I remember being upset when Walker, a free agent, was apparently being pursued by some other teams (including the Rams, if memory serves), but he never played for another NFL team and retired having played all 154 career games for the Jets and with 438 catches for 8,306 yards and 71 TDs and a healthy 19 yards per catch average (19th best all time - he is 6th best in terms of yards per touch).

It was only once his career had ended that I got into researching Jets history and realized that, although he was my favorite player, I had actually missed the best years of his career.

As a rookie in 1977, the speedy Walker led the NFL in average yards per reception, then in 1978, he led the NFL in receiving yards and was named as a first team all-pro. His 24.4 yards per catch average that year is still good enough for 18th best in NFL history. In 1979, he actually averaged 24.7 yards per catch, although he didn't catch enough passes to qualify for the all-time records. He missed several games in 1980, but still averaged over 20 yards per catch for the fourth straight year.

Over the next four years, the tail end of the Richard Todd era, Walker became more of a possession receiver. His reception numbers went up (including a career high 61 catches in 1983), but his average per catch droppped to the 14-16 yards per catch range. He was just as much of a red zone threat, though, catching 29 touchdown passes over that four year span, including 9 in 13 games in 1981. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, he had 620 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns in just 9 games and went to the Pro Bowl for the second time. In the postseason, he had the go ahead touchdown as the Jets defeated the Bengals and a crucial score when they held off the Raiders to reach the AFC title game.

In 1985, the introduction of draft pick Al Toon to the roster and announcement of strong-armed Ken O'Brien as full-time starting quarterback enabled Walker to return to his deep threat role. He again averaged over 20 yards per catch in each of the next four seasons. The 1985 season featured some great moments, such as when with the Jets up 17-13 against the Bengals, Ken O'Brien threw an interception to Louis Breeden at the six yard line, but he reversed his field and Walker took him down for a key safety. He also had a late game-winner against the Seahawks and a franchise-record 96 yard TD against the Bills as the Jets battled to a wild card position despite having both the team with the AFC's best record and the Superbowl runners-up in their division. Walker would miss four games though and ultimately played 16 games only three times in his 13 year career.

The 1986 season was when I first discovered Wesley and the Jets and saw Walker named as a UPI all-AFC selection even though he wasn't invited to the Pro Bowl. Clearly, his achievements speak for themselves and he is a worthy inclusion in our hall of fame.

However, although he was a fantastic player, this is not the only reason for his inclusion. Walker was inspirational, for the fact that he incredibly managed to achieve such a high level of greatness despite the fact he was legally blind in one eye. He also laid it on the line for the team, as evidenced by disturbing recent reports that he is still in constant pain due to the after effects of a nerve injury to his neck. He is still involved in the community, currently working as a teacher and doing great work for charitable causes. And, over and above all of that, he's still a Jets lifer, as evidenced by him representing the team on Jets night at Shea and apparently knocking back drinks impressively with fans at Dave and Busters 2008 draft party.

To close, however, I want to end on a personal note and take you back to that simpler time. This young newly-minted Jets fan, still only ten, wrote a letter to his new favorite player in 1987. It must have been the worst fan letter ever, just saying how exciting I found American Football to be, recounting a load of his stats and telling him he was the best. I can't imagine it made for very interesting reading and I don't think I ever expected a reply beyond my wildest dreams. A month or so later, a signed photograph came through the door addressed to me. I still have it to this day. It was clear that he had also addressed the envelope himself too. He didn't have to do that, so I am honored to get the chance to pay tribute to Wesley Walker, as a way of thanking him for what was one of the biggest thrills of my childhood.

So, thanks Wesley, welcome to the hall and we wish you good health in the future. Ladies and Gentleman, Wesley Walker...

Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

 (Jasen Vinlove)
(Jasen Vinlove)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets once again gave a good account of themselves in this game, but they had too many defensive penalties and the offense dried up in the fourth quarter, enabling Miami's come-from-behind win. Despite knocking Jay Cutler out of the game, the Jets were unable to protect a 28-14 lead, the first time since 1999 they've had a two score lead in the fourth quarter and not won. Let's start this week by breaking down the performances on the defensive side of the ball:

Defensive Line

Once again, the defensive line didn't generate any sacks, but this was an extremely encouraging performance. Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson combined for five quarterback hits, and each stuffed a couple of runs as the Jets held Miami to just 53 yards on 25 carries. Williams almost picked up his first sack on a blitz from middle linebacker that led to Jamal Adams recording the sack cleaning up, while Wilkerson intercepted a tipped pass to set up a touchdown. Moreover, they both looked more powerful and explosive than they have in recent weeks. Hopefully this is a sign that they are getting closer to 100 percent...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rontez Miles, Sheldon Richardson
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 (Jasen Vinlove)
(Jasen Vinlove)

Jets QB Josh McCown could barely talk about the interception he threw that set up the Dolphins game-winning field goal in the team's 31-28 loss on Sunday. 

After blowing a two-touchdown lead, the Jets had the ball at their own 15-yard line with 47 seconds and three timeouts in their pocket. But on the very first play of a potential game-winning drive, McCown made a very costly mistake. And he knew it was going to happen before he even released the ball. 

"It was one of those where I tried to stop as I was throwing because I saw [CB Bobby McCain] late," McCown told Newsday's Bob Glauber. "So I didn't get enough on the ball."

Tags: Josh McCown
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 10/22 00:11:02
The Jets Post Game Overtime crew breaks down the Jets' 31-28 loss to the Dolphins, after surrendering a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The New York Jets refused to go down quietly. After their fourth-quarter meltdown Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, there was some angry shouting in the locker room behind closed doors.

Quarterback Josh McCown said defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson was rallying his teammates. But it was Dolphins' rally that will be remembered after their 31-28 comeback victory Sunday.

The Jets blew a 28-14 lead in the final 12 minutes. Hence Wilkerson's postgame "pep talk."

Tags: Miami Dolphins, Josh McCown, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Bowles and McCown on loss 00:01:54
Todd Bowles breaks down the Jets' disappointing last-minute loss and Josh McCown comments on his crucial late interception.

The Dolphins overcame a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter and kicker Cody Parker drilled a game-winning 39-yard field goal to hand the Jets a second consecutive loss. >> Box score

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Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive tackle Brandon Shell (72) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive tackle Brandon Shell (72) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)

Jets T Brandon Shell left the team's game against the Marlins on Sunday with a neck injury and is doubtful to return, the team announced.

Tags: Brandon Shell
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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)

Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson's is active for the Jets' Week 7 game against the Dolphins despite a lingering toe and shoulder injury that has put his status in jeopardy early this season.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Derrick Jones, Jordan Leggett, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Oct 8, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) congratulates wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) (Scott Galvin)
Oct 8, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) congratulates wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) (Scott Galvin)

 Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Jets (3-3) vs. the Miami Dolphins (3-2) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

It will be hot, as usual, with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s. It will also be windy, with sustained winds of 15-20 m.p.h. expected. And as always in Miami, there could be some late afternoon thunderstorms that potentially could impact the second half of the game.

Tags: Buster Skrine, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at a tough loss to the New England Patriots. The guys discuss the brutal mistakes by the Jets which kept the Pats in the game, and the blown call at the goal line involving Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Plus, Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon joins the show to talk about the struggles of Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams, and his role on the team. Later, Brian Costello of the New York Post calls in to give his take on the loss to NE, and how the Jets missed out on Deshaun Watson.

Click below to listen!

Tags: Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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Vacc's 3 Keys to a Jets win 00:01:37
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

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In the latest episode of Timeout with Taylor Rooks, former NFL running back Curtis Martin recalls some of the most dramatic moments of his life, including two near-death experiences, as well as his relationship with Bill Parcells, Bob Kraft, and the infamous trade that sent him from the Patriots to the Jets.

Click below to listen

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets vs. Miami 00:01:54
With Muhammad Wilkerson likely a game-time decision to play Sunday, Jeane Coakley talks to Leonard Williams about stepping up his game.

 

Tags: Leonard Williams
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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The last time the Jets had Bilal Powell in the lineup, at full strength, he ran all over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Forced into the lead back role with Matt Forte sidelined, he ran for 163 yards on 7.8 yards per carry, including a 75-yard touchdown run.

He's back this week in time for the Jets game in Miami on Sunday, and so is Forte, with both apparently as close to full strength as they're going to be. But the Jets can't revert to their old habit of splitting their backfield duties.

They need Powell to carry the load.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Jeremy Kerley, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)

Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder/toe) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Dolphins, and will be a game-time decision, head coach Todd Bowles said on Friday.

Wilkerson played through his shoulder injury in Weeks 4 and 5, and didn't practice throughout those weeks, so this might be the same scenario.

However, Bowles added that the team has discussed the possibility of giving Wilkerson one or two weeks off.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson
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New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins runs the ball against New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins runs the ball against New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today:

Need to know

The Jets are preparing for the trip to Miami, so there will be no media access at Florham Park on Friday. The entire term, apart from Muhammad Wilkerson, practiced without limitation yesterday, so they are in good shape for the road trip.

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will preview the game and send his three keys. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the happenings.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Miami Dolphins, Jordan Leggett, Muhammad Wilkerson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets defense 00:01:25
Ralph Vacchiano reports in from Jets practice to address the question that is on everyone's mind; when will the Jets finally get a sack?

 

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Jenkins on overcoming addiction 00:03:29
On Jets Game Plan, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins sits down with Jeane Coakley to share about how he overcame his battle with addiction.

 

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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- On the day the Jets re-signed Muhammad Wilkerson in the summer of 2016 to a blockbuster, five-year, $86 million contract, they made it clear they were banking on him and not Sheldon Richardson. Fourteen months later, Richardson was traded.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)

RB Bilal Powell, who missed last week's game due to a calf injury, practiced on Thursday and will return when the Jets face the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami, head coach Todd Bowles said.

DE Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder/toe) was the only Jets player who didn't practice on Thursday.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: Powell should hopefully give a boost to the Jets' struggling running game, although I suspect the team's inability to get the running game going has more to do with how overmatched the Jets have been in the trenches...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Ken Blaze)
(Ken Blaze)

He may be one of the most productive tight ends in football at the moment, but Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins admits his career was taking a dive before joining the Green and White. 

Seferian-Jenkins has caught 23 passes over the last four weeks of the season. It could be more if he didn't have to serve a two-game suspension that stems from his DUI arrest last September when he was with the Buccaneers.

But ASJ doesn't mind the numbers. He is happy that he is still playing the game he loves in the first place. 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today...

Need to know

The Jets practice today at Florham Park. Will Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson, or Robby Anderson return to practice after sitting out on Wednesday?

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be out at practice. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the happenings...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson, Robby Anderson
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DNL: 2017 Jets season so far 00:02:58
The DNL panel discusses the Jets' season so far including if Todd Bowles deserves more credit and which player has disappointed the most.

 

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets featured many key players out during practice Wednesday including RB Bilal Powell, DE Muhammad Wilkerson, and WR Robby Anderson. 

Powell, who is nursing a calf injury, stretched with the team, but he didn't participate in anything else. He already missed last week with the same injury.

Wilkerson played through his shoulder injury in Weeks 4 and 5, He didn't practice throughout those weeks, so this might be the same scenario for No. 96...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson, Robby Anderson
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Daily News Live: Cool your Jets 00:03:02
The DNL panel discusses how the controversial play and loss to the Patriots could affect the Jets' mentality going into Week 7.

The DNL panel discusses how the controversial play and loss to the Patriots could affect the Jets' mentality going into Week 7.

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New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today...

Need to know

The Jets practice today at Florham Park.

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be out at practice on Thursday and Friday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors...

Tags: Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye
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Daily News Live: Colon 00:01:10
Willie Colon's sources at the meeting between NFL owners and Roger Goodell on anthem protests say no progress was made Tuesday.

SNY's Willie Colon said sources told him that players felt "nothing was accomplished" during a meeting on Tuesday between the NFL, executives, players, and the NFL Players' Association.

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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

After a hot start to his rookie season, Jets S Jamal Adams became the latest victim of Patriots' star TE Rob Gronkowski in the Jets' 24-17 loss on Sunday. 

Adams had troubles with Gronk from the beginning of the game. The Jets had a 14-0 lead when Patriots QB Tom Brady launched a ball toward the back of the end zone intended for Gronkowski. Adams made a play on the ball, but refs said that he made too much contact with the 6-foot-6 tight end resulting in a pass interference call.

Dion Lewis would score on the next play, and Adams was still surprised as to why the refs threw the flag. 

Tags: Jamal Adams
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (Ben Margot/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (Ben Margot/AP)

The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today...

Need to know

The Jets are off today.

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be out at practice on Thursday and Friday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors...

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buster Skrine, Jalin Marshall, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Daily News Live: Reffed Up 00:03:44
The Daily News Live panel discusses the controversial "fumble" call on Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the Jets' loss.

 

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New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall (89) runs past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas (13) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall (89) runs past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas (13) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets assigned wide receiver Jalin Marshall to the practice squad on Monday after they waived him on Saturday.

Marshall, who served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, was waived to make room for cornerback Xavier Coleman on the team's active roster for Sunday's 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots.

The 22-year-old Marshall recorded 14 catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games last season. He also returned 18 punts for 100 yards and 13 kickoffs for 324 yards.

Tags: Jalin Marshall
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The decision to turn an Austin Seferian-Jenkins' touchdown on Sunday into a hard-to-explain fumble and touchback was a "clear and obvious" decision, according to the replay official who made the call.

Al Riveron, the NFL's senior VP of officiating, strongly defended his call in a conference call with reporters on Monday morning, one day after it impacted the Jets' 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots. He said the reversal of the touchdown after a video review was absolutely the correct decision based on the rule, and he didn't see anything controversial about it.

"No doubt about it, it was clear and obvious," Riveron said. "And we use that (standard) for every replay. Unless it's clear and obvious to us, we will not change the ruling on the field, and this definitely met that criteria."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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