Fire up the flux capacitor, Doc, and let’s head back to 1969.
I am a huge sports fan, Modern Philosophers.
In my youth, I desperately tried to be an athlete, but I was too small, too scrawny, and too incredibly incompetent at hitting a baseball.
That didn’t prevent me, however, from rooting for my teams with the fanaticism of one who lives vicariously through the players who have become his idols.
I am from New York, and am extremely loyal to the teams from my hometown.
I didn’t change allegiances when I moved to California or Maine. Anyone who does that was never a true fan.
You pick a team and you stay with it, through thick or thin. You never turn your back on the athletes who represent you. To do so would be high treason.
Being a New York sports fan definitely has its perks. The Islanders won the Stanley Cup four consecutive years in the 80s. The Knicks won a couple of NBA Titles in the 70s.
Then there’s my beloved Yankees.
The greatest franchise in the history of sports, the Bronx Bombers have won 27 World Series, with more than a handful of them coming during my lifetime.
In fact, I was lucky enough to be on hand for one of the greatest moments in Yankees and World Series history.
I was at Game 6 of the 1977 World Series when Reggie Jackson hit home runs on three consecutive pitches off of three different Dodgers pitchers.
It was, by far, the most amazing sports feat I have ever seen live, and I cannot believe I was lucky enough to be there to witness such a historic moment.
The Yankees won the World Series that night, so I got to double dip in sports excitement.
I’ll never forget what it was like to watch 56,000 people go berserk, to witness fans storm the sacred diamond of Yankees Stadium and run wild on the field where their heroes had just made history, or how cool the train ride home was as a subway packed with Yankees fans celebrated another World Series Championship.
When the Yankees won the World Series in 1996, Game 1 was played on the night of my wedding. The Yanks won it in six games that year, with Game 6 being played on the night that we returned from our honeymoon in Maine.
The Yankees and I just have a connection.
Being a New York sports fan is wonderful, even when one moves to the middle of Red Sox Nation, because the Yankees will always be better than those bums from Fenway.
However, nothing is perfect.
Even though the Yankees, Islanders, and Knicks have all won championships in my lifetime, one team steadfastly refuses to complete the set.
That’s right, Modern Philosophers, instead of following in my father’s footsteps and becoming a Giants fan, I decided to be a rebel.
I like the J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!
The Giants have won four Super Bowls since I was born.
My sad sack Jets, the team that brought us The New Sack Exchange and The Butt Fumble, have won zero Super Bowls during my lifetime.
And I have a feeling that’s never going to change.
Everyone knows that the Jets won Super Bowl III. Joe Namath guaranteed a victory, and Broadway Joe delivered.
Some say that the Jets’ victory over the Colts was the greatest upset in Super Bowl history. The record books say that it was the upstart AFL team’s victory that led to the merger of the two leagues, thereby creating the football behemoth we know and love today.
The Jets definitely have their place in Super Bowl history.
Unfortunately, this history didn’t happen during my history.
Sure, they’ve played in a few AFC Championships over the years, but the last two were with Mark Sanchez, he of the aforementioned Butt Fumble, at quarterback. I rooted hard for my boys in green those two years, but I knew they had absolutely no chance.
The closest they ever game, in my estimation, was the 1983 AFC Championship Game against the Miami Dolphins.
I still remember it—my Boy Scout troop had a camping trip that weekend, so I missed the start of the game.
Obviously, my not being there to watch from the kickoff jinxed the Jets (have I ever mentioned that I am highly superstitious?), so I have no one but myself to blame.
The Orange Bowl was wet and muddy, Richard Todd threw five interceptions, three of them to A. J. Duhe, and my dream of seeing the Jets in the Super Bowl was washed away.
In the 33 years since, the Jets have not had a better chance to play again on Super Bowl Sunday. I am an intelligent man with the recommended daily allowance of common sense available to a human, and yet, every season, I believe the Jets are finally going to make their second Super Bowl appearance.
I am in serious denial.
I refuse to accept the obvious. Because I am a fan. Because I love the Jets. Because of the sanctity of J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!
This year, the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers will meet in Super Bowl 50.
It’s a game so important that they got rid of the Roman Numerals to make it stand apart from all the rest.
It will be the forty-seventh consecutive Super Bowl in which the New York Jets will not participate.
They’re never going to make it back to the Super Bowl. No matter how hard I cheer, how many pieces of Jets gear I wear when I watch the game, or how many prayers I say to Vince Lombardi, my beloved football team is never again going to play for the Lombardi Trophy.
At least not in my lifetime.
Admitting that was a major breakthrough, I thought it would make me feel much better, but all it did was make me sad.
I’m sure this feeling isn’t limited to me or to Jets fans. I bet Chiefs and Vikings fans feel like they’ll never again see their team up on the big stage. They know my pain.
There’s really only one solution to this problem, Modern Philosophers—just one way to complete my Championship Collection.
If the Jets are going to play in a Super Bowl during my lifetime, I need to alter the parameters of my life span.
Yes, I’m talking about Time Travel.
As much as I like where the team is headed under Todd Bowles, I think that Ryan Fitzpatrick had a career year, and there isn’t enough magic left in his mighty beard to guide the Jets to the Super Bowl.
So it’s going to have to be Time Travel.
Fire up the flux capacitor, Doc, and let’s head back to 1969.
We won’t have to alter history. All I want to do is sit in the Orange Bowl and watch Joe Willie lead the Jets to the greatest win in the franchise’s history.
It still won’t trump seeing Reggie hit three homers in 1977, but it will be a very close second.
Of course, getting to experience the thrill of Time Travel would make this one of the most important moments in my life, but the Yankees will always beat the Jets because they didn’t need science to give me a championship.
I know there are a lot of arguments out there about why Time Travel is a necessity, but I’m certain that this one tops them all.
You’re welcome, Modern Philosophers. Enjoy the Super Bowl!
Photo: Anthony Quintano/Flickr
This article first appeared on The Return of the Moden Philosopher