As the tributes to fellow inductees Joe Klecko and Don Maynard show, one of the essential functions of the TJB Hall of Fame and the primary reason for creating this exercise is to go some small way towards righting history's wrongs. Though many feel he is deserving, Winston Hill has always been overlooked for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but there can be no argument that he doesn't deserve recognition as a TJB Hall of Famer.

Considering Hill retired from professional football while I was just a baby, the challenge now is to do his contribution to the New York Jets franchise justice to ensure that Hill is not once again overshadowed by the rest of the 2009 class. In order to do that, we must rely on the testimonies of others.

RB Matt Snell, who ran for 121 yards and a touchdown behind Hill's blocking in Superbowl III:

"So graceful, so beautiful to watch. Took them just where he wanted them to go. Never seemed like he was exerting himself that much. Tell me, did you ever seen [him] sweat?"


Former Packers GM Ron Wolf:
"That's my man, bingo!" You talk about a guy whose name you never hear now, that's him. I'd love to see the Seniors Committee propose him [for the Pro Football Hall of Fame]."


Former Jets Head Coach, Weeb Ewbank:

"I've been telling reporters for a long time that Winston Hill is a great offensive tackle and [in the Superbowl] he proved it. I mean when he blocks, he doesn't just get a stalemate with the guy he's on. He blows him out."
Hill's achievements speak for themselves: He played 14 seasons with the Jets and at one stage recorded the tenth longest streak of consecutive starts in NFL history (174). He went to 4 AFL all-star games and was a 4-time NFL Pro Bowler. Most importantly of all, he won a Superbowl ring and played a huge role in the big game...

This section is best enjoyed if imagined with an authoritative baritone voice over stirring orchestral music...

The Colts, labelled as the Greatest Team in Pro Football History and an overwhelming 18-point favorite were highly motivated and their defense, anchored by defensive end Bubba Smith planned to go into attack mode from the outset. The Jets, however, had other ideas.

Ewbank's gameplan was to run away from Smith and at the right side of the Colts line, where defensive end Ordell Braase was matched up with Hill, the Jets left tackle. Five years earlier, Hill had been an eleventh round draft pick of the Colts and had been cut after having been tormented by Braase in practice. However, Hill's performance was dominant enough to have exploded Bill Simmons' vengeance scale, had it existed at that time.

With Namath confusing the Colts by mixing run and pass perfectly with multiple audibles at the line, the Jets enjoyed their greatest success with a play called "19-Straight", where Snell would take the handoff and start up the middle, but then would bounce to the outside, as Hill rode his man off the line and sealed the edge. 19-Straight got Snell into the endzone for the go-ahead score in the first half, culminating a drive which began with that same play four straight times.

"Braase pretty much faded out," said Snell, although Hill would not take all of the credit for Snell's success. "Snell is a great runner. He doesn't ask for much room. The mediocre backs come back to the huddle and cry if they didn't get a hole big enough to back a truck through. I knew we could do it. We ran against the best teams in our league. What's so special about the Colts?"

That quote underlines the confidence with which the Jets approached the biggest game (still) in franchise history. Namath had famously guaranteed victory, the players did not watch any film in the last three days prior to the game because they were so confident and it was important for them to represent the AFL with pride. “That year the Raiders had a good team, Kansas City had a good team and San Diego had a good team. And the three of them probably could have beaten Baltimore,” Hill would later say. The message was clear and undeniable - the AFL was a league to be reckoned with.

Despite this, the fact that Hill played the first half of his career in the AFL and not the NFL, hurts him in terms of Hall of Fame recognition. An 8-time Pro Bowler with a Superbowl ring is not necessarily a lock for the Hall of Fame - Harry Carson - a 10-time Pro Bowler - only recently made it after years of campaigning, for example. However, Hill is regarded by many of those old enough to have seen him play as one of the best players of his generation.

It may have hurt Hill that the Jets did not have more postseason success. There were other AFL linemen to have made the Hall of Fame - Jim Otto, Ron Mix and Billy Shaw - but his achievements fall just short of these players, although they all enjoyed most of their success in the AFL, whereas Hill, who played the second half of his career in the NFL, spans two eras, making him difficult to compare with anyone else. However, it seems fair to say that Hill has been overlooked, not just as a potential hall of famer, but also in terms of even being mentioned as one, as the debate tends to center around more recent players.

When Hill first joined the Jets in 1963, he apparently earned the name "Holding Hill", but went to the AFL all-star game in his second season and then, after two years of being overlooked, was recognized in seven straight seasons (three as an AFL all-star and four as an NFL Pro Bowler). He was not honored in his final three seasons as a Jet, although the coaching staff apparently felt that 1974 was the best season of his career. He finished his career with a year at the Rams, but played in just three games.

Responsible for protecting Namath's blindside, he was regarded by some as the first great pass-protecting left tackle, using his size and strength well (he played most of his career at 285, very big for a tackle at that time, although he did play a few seasons at 270). This would give Namath and his notoriously quick release sufficient time to get rid of the ball. However, even his work in this area was sometimes overshadowed by his teammates. NFL Films called center John Schmitt "perhaps the key man - and most adept man - at protecting Namath," whereas ESPN awarded Guard Dave Herman, who played RT in the Superbowl as the real MVP of that game because he neutralized Bubba Smith, holding him to one sack.

As a run blocker, Hill was again influential, as shown by his display in the Superbowl. However, his reputation was as more of a pass protector until the latter stages of his career, moving to right tackle in 1971 and improving his run blocking to a high level of efficiency over the last three seasons. Ultimately, although he may not have been the best pass protector or the best run blocker on those talent-laden offensive lines, most experts agree that Hill was the most complete and most dominating offensive lineman in Jets history.

Off the field, Hill, who still gets involved in Jets fundraising events, was clearly an interesting and witty character, as the internet has many examples of amusing quotes from him.

After the Miami Dolphins voted him "most likely to hold" in 1975 - a sure badge of honor, somewhat reminiscent of Kobe or Lebron complaining about someone playing physical defense against them, because they couldn't cope with it - Hill said "I never held an honest man in my life." At the end of his career, when he went into the food business and started marketing "Winston's Low-Cal Yoghurt", he said ''I don't need this extra weight anymore. Starting Sept. 1, I'm going to go on a diet to lose 40 or 50 pounds. By November, I can use 'before and after' pictures of me for ads.'' When he hurt his foot in 1970, the notoriously tough Hill was quoted as saying "I'm looking for a name this long, Doc. (Moving his hands apart) It's not so impressive to have a sprained toe." Finally, perhaps his most famous quote was this:

"Of all the names I could have had that would have inspired fear. Rocky. Bruiser. My parents had to name me Winston ... Winnie to everyone. I mean could you see a defensive lineman terrified because he had to go up against a Winnie?"


Before writing this article, I made a point of checking out Winston Hill in action (in the 1972 game where Namath famously out-duelled Unitas, throwing for 496 yards and 6 TDs on FIFTEEN completions...you don't do that without good pass protection!)

Sure enough, Hill was as smooth and stylish as they say and stood out because of his size (big for an OT even then. He would usually stay comfortably in front of his man to help form a perfect pocket around Namath, despite the loss of Schmitt to an early injury. With the running game not working, the Jets practically abandoned it, which meant the Colts could send multiple pass rushers, but on the couple of occasions when Hill was beaten, he was able to recover and use his strength to knock the pass rusher off balance enough to enable Namath to get rid of the ball. Finally, on a crucial second half drive, the Jets did return to the running game and Riggins picked up 44 yards on six carries, with Hill consistently driving his man off the line. It may be a small sample size, but it was enough to make a believer out of me.

Other than this and the Superbowl itself, I never saw Hill play, but I was convinced. If there's any justice, hopefully the Canton's Hall of Fame selection committee will be too, one day. For now, a place in our humble Hall will have to do. Winston Hill, ladies and gentlemen...

If you're prepared to admit to being old enough, please share your memories of him in the comments.
Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold scrambles out of the pocket against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold scrambles out of the pocket against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

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Until the final drive, Sam Darnold's performance in his return to the starting lineup would be defined by his best and worst play. However, Darnold's composure in leading the team downfield for the late game-winning score in Sunday's 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills was exactly the kind of thing the Jets and their fans had been hoping to see from him this year.

Let's look at some specific examples before we draw conclusions:

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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What to make of Sam Darnold 00:00:51
Sam Darnold returned to action against the Bills. What should Jets fans takeaway from the young QB?s season so far?

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Fourteen years ago there was a young quarterback in New York who had struggled through an up-and-down rookie season. He showed flashes of his potential, but not nearly enough to convince everyone he would someday be the man to lead his franchise.

Then in Week 17, Eli Manning got the ball with 1:41 remaining and drove the Giants down the field for a game-winning drive capped by a 3-yard Tiki Barber touchdown run. The Giants beat the Cowboys 28-24 that day and it seemed like the moment that Manning arrived.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Eli Manning, Elijah McGuire, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Report Cards from the Jets win 00:02:37
Willie Colon and Bart Scott give their grades for the Jets 27-23 win over Buffalo. It's all A's for special teams but what about the rest?

The Jets crew hands out grades after Sam Darnold led the Jets to a last-minute comeback drive in Sunday's 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at New Era Field.

Tags: Buffalo Bills
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Jets beat Bills 27-23 00:01:17
The Jets got their much-wanted revenge on the Buffalo Bills, winning 27-23. After the game it was all smiles in the locker room.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When Sam Darnold limped off to the locker room after the Jets' first series, it looked like this season was going to go from bad to much worse. This season had always been about him. But he had already missed three games with a foot injury after three terrible performances.

And now he was going to be out again?

Well, though it wasn't exactly a Willis Reed performance, Darnold returned quickly enough to give some life and hope to what's left of this Jets season. He went 12 of 18 for 139 yards in the second half and led a game-winning touchdown drive in the final two minutes to give the Jets a 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Elijah McGuire, Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell looks for a hole to run through during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell looks for a hole to run through during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

Running back Isaiah Crowell left Week 14 against Buffalo with a foot injury. The Jets announced he is questionable to return. 

The 25-year-old was sidelined at Jets practice with a toe issue all week, and it could be related to Sunday's injury. Crowell had three touches for seven yards before exiting. Elijah McGuire took over for Crowell as the New York's lead back.

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Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) jogs off the field after the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)
Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) jogs off the field after the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)

Jets QB Sam Darnold left Sunday's game against the Bills after just three plays, heading to the locker room with team doctors before being replaced by Josh McCown.

Darnold missed one drive before jogging back on the field and coming back in the game. 

He is playing in his first game since Week 9, when he suffered a right foot strain.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Danny Abriano
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Josh McCown (15) watch second half of play against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Josh McCown (15) watch second half of play against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

After missing the last three games due to a foot injury, Sam Darnold will return as the Jets' QB on Sunday against the Bills, the team announced. 

Darnold practiced in full on Friday, but head coach Todd Bowles said a final decision on his availability wouldn't be made until right before the game. 

"We'll decide that on Sunday," Bowles said. "Both he and Josh (McCown) had good weeks."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Nov 4, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Nov 4, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Jets (3-9) at the Buffalo Bills (4-8) at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. ET.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Parry Nickerson (43) and defensive end Leonard Williams (92) celebrate a fumble by the Indianapolis Colts during a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Parry Nickerson (43) and defensive end Leonard Williams (92) celebrate a fumble by the Indianapolis Colts during a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

As the Jets enter the final quarter of their schedule in the 2018-2019 season, the reality that there will be no postseason football for Gang Green has set in. But that does not mean players are packing it in on the whole.

That's certainly not how Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams sees it.

"You can tell guys are tired of it - they want to win, no more losing," Williams told the New York Post on Friday. "I think it shows a lot."

Tags: Leonard Williams
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Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)
Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The last time Sam Darnold was under center for the Jets, his rookie season was in a freefall.

In his last three games, he had completed just 47.3 percent of his passes for 588 yards, with two touchdowns and seven interceptions. He had a dismal passer rating of 43.2.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Manish Mehta responds to Bowles 00:02:56
Daily News Jets writer Manish Mehta responds to Todd Bowles' denial of his story about tension between and GM Mike Maccagnan and himself.

Even though Todd Bowles claims there was "never any tension" between him and anyone else on the Jets staff, New York Daily News Jets writer Manish Mehta isn't buying it. 

Mehta doubled down on his Daily News report Friday, saying the head coach's denial of friction between him and GM Mike Maccagnan were "predictable" and he wouldn't expect the two to publicly say otherwise.

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New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee is chased by Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack after an interception in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee is chased by Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack after an interception in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets season still manages to reach a new low. 

Linebacker Darron Lee was suspended four games without pay for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, the team announced on Friday. 

Lee will begin his suspension immediately and will be eligible to return to the Jets' active roster on Dec. 31, the day after their final game. 

Tags: Darron Lee
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Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks on from the sideline in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. (Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks on from the sideline in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. (Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports)

In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz is joined by Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager to discuss why a younger, offensive-minded head coach would be a lot better than hiring Mike McCarthy and could get the most out of Sam Darnold. Lastly, The Athletic's Jets beat writer Connor Hughes goes in-depth on the Jets roster and how the losing is impacting the locker room.

Subscribe to the show here: https://on.sny.tv/2Od2Qzt

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN

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Todd Bowles denies rift with GM 00:00:36
Jets head coach Todd Bowles denies a published report that there's a rift between himself and GM Mike Maccagnan.

Todd Bowles insists everything is just fine between him and GM Mike Maccagnan

The Jets head coach denied a report form Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that said there was "friction and passive aggressive petulance" between Bowles and Maccagnan. 

"I'm not big on responding to articles, but there's never been any tension between me or anybody else in this building," Bowles told SNY's Jeane Coakley on Friday.

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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before his game against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before his game against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

After a 30-9 Titans beatdown on the Jaguars Thursday night, the Jets were officially eliminated from playoff contention this season. 

A 3-9 Jets team had extremely slim chances of staying afloat, but Tennessee put the nail in the coffin to send New York packing after Week 17 for the eighth straight season. This playoff drought is the second-longest in franchise history. 

In turn, head coach Todd Bowles' job could be in some serious jeopardy. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano says it "seems like a given at this point" considering the lackluster performance the team has had all season long. So, while fans will be focused on the Jets' high draft pick, finding a new head coach will also be on their radar. 

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Nov 4, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy on the sideline during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports (Stew Milne)
Nov 4, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy on the sideline during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports (Stew Milne)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There doesn't seem to be any way for Todd Bowles to save his job now, which means the Jets are probably already thinking about what comes next. Most good executives always have a list of future potential coaches. Surely GM Mike Maccagnan and CEO Christopher Johnson have lists, too.

It's hard to say for sure who is on it with four games to go in the regular season. It's not even absolutely certain who will lead the search, though one team source indicated Maccagnan will have "strong influence" if not total control. Regardless, the Jets will have several strong candidates from which to choose.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Darnold looks good, could start 00:00:53
New York Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates is encouraged by what he's seen from Sam Darnold in practice, but will he play on Sunday?

Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold was back with the first team at practice on Thursday, which means the first-year signal-caller could see action for the first time in nearly a month when the Jets hit the road Sunday to take on the Buffalo Bills.

Talking on "Good Morning Football" this morning, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said Darnold is "expected to exit the injury report pretty soon." Darnold took part in full practice drills, and seems to be back on track after a foot injury that sidelined him in Week 9.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles hasn't said whether or not Darnold will start across from fellow rookie QB Josh Allen. Darnold noted feeling great after practice Wednesday, as he continues to practice hard...

Tags: Josh Allen, Sam Darnold
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New York Jets safety Jamal Adams reacts during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams reacts during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets are looking to avenge their embarrassing 41-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills last month, and in Jamal Adams' eyes, "It's personal.

"They came in and they whupped us," Adams continued, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. "They don't like us, we don't like them, so it's going to be a tough battle."

So much went wrong for the Jets on Nov. 11 that it was fair to question of the players quit. The heat under head coach Todd Bowles' hot seat was scorching; owner Christopher Johnson did comment on Bowles' job status after the game. 

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Jamal Adams, Josh McCown, Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold
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Get to know Jonotthan Harrison 00:02:19
Jonotthan Harrison would be a homicide detective if he wasn't playing football. He shared a lot of interesting facts with Jeane Coakley.

Jets C Jonotthan Harrison is something of a Renaissance man.

The 27-year-old University of Florida product revealed to SNY's Jeane Coakley some of his varied interests.

Harrison said football came later in his life because he was simply too big to play in his youth. That put the sport on the back burner until around halfway through college, he said.

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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, right, talks to the team's latest addition, wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who recently signed with the team, as they conversed during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, right, talks to the team's latest addition, wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who recently signed with the team, as they conversed during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Mark Sanchez seems to be taking his "Butt Fumble" saga in stride, but Plaxico Burress is still firing his shots.

The former Giants receiver caught Sanchez in his crosshairs Wednesday, two days after the quarterback added another butt-centric fumble play to his repertoire in his debut with the Redskins.

"I can't wait to see this QB play for the Washington Redskins for the rest of the season," Burress tweeted. "@mark_sanchez Let me grab my popcorn. #comedyfor3hours #checkdowning Yup I said it!!"

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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez looks to pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
		
		 (John Minchillo/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez looks to pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (John Minchillo/AP)

It has been six years since that infamous day at MetLife Stadium. The Jets and Patriots were pitted against each other in a division matchup on Thanksgiving, and New England was the obvious favorite. 

But it was one play in particular during this blowout loss for Gang Green that would be cemented in history -- and it wasn't good. Jets QB Mark Sanchez wanted to hand the ball off for a fullback dive, but miscommunication forced him to run himself.

Well, Jets fans know what happened next...

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Bowles and Darnold on QB status 00:00:57
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and Sam Darnold talk about the rookie QB's health, and Jamal Adams talks about his desire to beat the Bills

Jets QB Sam Darnold spoke Wednesday about his ongoing recovery from a strained foot and how he feels about his chances to return Sunday against the Bills.

"I'm really excited about this week and where we're headed," Darnold said. "Really excited about how I felt today, so as of right now I'm really excited about hopefully getting the chance to play Sunday."

"I like to take everything one day at a time, especially this injury that I had," he added. "I'm really just trying to practice hard every single day. And when Sunday comes and I'm healthy, I'm really looking forward to going out there and playing well."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (25) runs against New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) during a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports  (Robert Deutsch)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (25) runs against New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) during a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said S Marcus Maye underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair his shoulder injury that placed him on the IR for the remainder of the season. 

When asked about his expected recovery, Bowles answered with "a couple months," which is a good sign for the second-year player.

Maye, a second-round pick in 2017, is the seventh-leading tackler for the Jets in 2018-2019. He tallied 34 tackles, a half-sack, a forced fumble and one interception in six games this season.

Tags: Marcus Maye
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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan reacts on the field before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan reacts on the field before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

With a 3-9 record, the Jets are currently on pace to make the third overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.

But their road to the No. 1 pick remains complicated with four games left in the 2018 season.

The 49ers and Raiders are the leading contenders for the top pick with a shared record of 2-10. In the event two or more teams are tied for the worst record at the end of the season, the team with the lowest strength of schedule is awarded the No. 1 pick.

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Should the Jets pursue McCarthy? 00:01:03
Ralph Vacchiano defends Mike McCarthy as a good option to be the next head coach of the Jets over the likes of Lincoln Riley.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There is no more accomplished coaching candidate on the market right now than former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, and there isn't likely to be one when this season is over. His record is stellar. He's coached a string of top-10 offenses. He even has a Super Bowl ring.

He could be exactly the coach the Jets need to turn around the star-crossed franchise.

Of course, that might be what they're thinking in Cleveland and Tampa Bay -- and maybe Cincinnati, Baltimore, Denver and a few other cities, too.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 3, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) sacks Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) causing a fumble during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Dec 3, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) sacks Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) causing a fumble during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Is this what redemption looks like for Mark Sanchez?

Taking his first NFL snaps since Jan 1, 2017, the former Jets QB came in for the Redskins Monday night against the Eagles after Colt McCoy left the game with a season-ending leg injury in the second quarter.

And it didn't take long for Sanchez to inadvertently remind the football world of the most infamous play of his career.

Tags: Washington Redskins
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before his game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before his game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have had some bad losses during the Todd Bowles era, but it was Sunday's 26-22 defeat to the Titans that elicited such a strong response from the normally reserved Jets head coach. 

"This game will stick with me for the rest of my life," he told reporters on Monday. 

Bowles, who has never made the playoffs and has had just one winning season in his four-year head coaching career, oversaw his team blow a 16-point lead that they held late in the second quarter to drop their sixth straight game. 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy reacts after a 29-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy reacts after a 29-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Timing can be everything for a team that is rebuilding. It needs to bottom out in a year when the right players and coaches are available to help with their long-term plan.

That's why the Jets should consider it a sign that the Green Bay Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday afternoon. And as soon as they fire Todd Bowles after the season (which seems like a given at this point), they need to put McCarthy at the top of their list.

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Grades for the Jets 26-22 loss 00:03:49
Ray Lucas, Victor Green and Chad Cascadden deliver their grades for Jets performance against the Titans in the 26-22 loss.

The Jets crew hands out grades after New York's fourth-quarter meltdown led to a 26-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

Tags: Tennessee Titans
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Penalties hurt Jets in loss 00:01:39
The Jets looked like they were going to beat the Titans at home. Ultimately falling short as penalties riddled the team in the 26-22 loss.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There are many things that have become trademarks of the Todd Bowles era. One big one is that the Jets simply never learned how to finish games.

And that's exactly what happened to them in Tennessee on Sunday afternoon.

They fought hard and played a gritty game all day, building a 16-point first-half lead and still leading by nine points heading into the fourth quarter. Then they melted down on both sides of the ball and lost their sixth straight game, 26-22 to the Titans.

Tags: Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins, Josh McCown, Leonard Williams, Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Tennessee Titans, Ralph Vacchiano
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