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Vrabel Retirement Spurs ’05 Holiday Memories

Posted by Randy Lange on July 12, 2011 – 4:09 pm

The one-line transaction this morning read:

LB Mike Vrabel announced his retirement to become linebackers coach at Ohio State.

And Jets fans might be tempted to say “good riddance.”

All in jest, of course. But green-clad fanatics were none too jovial about the present they received on the 13th day of Christmas in 2005, when Vrabel, then a versatile starting linebacker for the Patriots, turned into an offensive red zone monster against the Jets in that Dec. 26 Monday night affair.

Lining up at tight end, Vrabel caught a pair of touchdown passes from Tom Brady. His first, 9:33 into the game, put New England ahead, 7-0. His second gave the Pats a 14-7 lead they never lost in their 31-21 win over the Jets.

Not surprisingly, no other primarily defensive player has ever scored two offensive touchdowns in his entire career against the Jets. And Vrabel turned in his two in a span of 14:22 in the first half, a nice set of bookends to go with his team-high six tackles and one sack of Jets starter Brooks Bollinger that night.

The game was oddly historic in Jets and NFL history for a few other reasons. As many will remember, it was the last Monday Night Football telecast by ABC before handing that franchise over to ESPN in 2006. Talk about your bookends — ABC debuted MNF when the Jets and Joe Namath took on and lost to the Browns, also by 31-21, back on Sept. 21, 1970.

Then there was Vinny Testaverde’s contribution to the evening. Vinny famously climbed off his Long Island couch for a classic return as the Jets starter after the season-ending injuries to Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler and provided some early highlights, but soon he was showing his age, suffered a ding or two himself, and had settled back on the depth chart as Bollinger showed a little late promise.

Which caused some eyebrows to arch when coach Herm Edwards said Testaverde would see some action in the final two games of the Jets’ 4-12 campaign. “I think it’s important,” Coach Herm said at the time, “for a lot of reasons.”

One reason was for the record books. If Testaverde, who had thrown no TDs that season, found just one receiver for a score, he’d hold the mark for the most consecutive seasons with a touchdown pass in NFL history. He was tied at the time at 18 straight seasons with Fran Tarkenton (1961-78).

“Just Herm mentioning it says a lot,” Testaverde said during the week of the PT offer. “I’d love to get in there, don’t get me wrong. But if it doesn’t happen, I’m OK with that, too.”

It did happen. No. 16 came back on the field for the Green & White’s final series, and with 2:10 left, on his final play as a Jet, Testaverde hooked up with Laveranues Coles from 27 yards to set the record at 19 straight seasons. (Which he then extended to 21 seasons with one TD pass for the Patriots in ’06 and five for the Panthers in ’07.)

Back to Vrabel, who triggered this funky trip down memory lane. He played 17 games against the Jets as a Patriot from 2001-08 (just one with the Steelers in ’00 and none with the Chiefs in ’09-10). In those games, he had 81 tackles, 7.5 sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles, and the Pats went 13-4 against the Jets. Thus we impersonate Michael Kay and say to Vrabel, “See Ya!”

But if he can coach up a ‘backer or two at The Ohio State University that can help the Jets out in the coming years, well, all will be forgiven. Good luck, Mike.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 20 Comments »

20 Responses to “Vrabel Retirement Spurs ’05 Holiday Memories”

  1. By IRA on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    Vrabel’s play vs the Jets always and still has sits in my craw. As you know besides that MNF Night game and what he did that season was lost already. What bugs me more is what he did in that 01 game @ The Meadowlands. The Jets were up 16-0 or so and Vinny was taking them in for the putaway score early 3rd QT. Vrabel comes up with a pick and that turns the game into a 17-16 loss for us and the Pats then went on their run to the SB.
    Did always love Herm letting Vinny in to throw his last TD to LC. How ironic that Vinny threw his last TD to LC and LC back in the 2000 MNF Mircale Game caught his first TD pass from Vinny.
    Some things just happen full circle.
    GO JETS!!!!!

  2. By IRA on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    Well i was worried about Uncle Al throwing crazy money at Holmes. Well just read a report that Snyder has Holmes as their #1 priority once free agency starts. Its going to be very hard to outbid Snyder. Holmes is going to get a HUGE payday. Like i have said before he will get 12-15 per. Who knows what the guaranteed money will be. Maybe 35?

  3. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    I didn’t like what Joe said about Edwards “dropping more than he catches” or the way he panicked about Slauson, both remarks that he made right after the BAL game last year. But I think his patience, wisdom, and humility on this clip about Sanchez and leadership are pretty extraordinary. And his honesty in bringing up, if very politely, MS’s accuracy issues is certainly to be applauded. I don’t care what anyone says, the accuracy that McElroy showed on Alabama — national championship-winning Alabama — is not something I want to see relegated to the bench unnecessarily if MS doesn’t really step it up on this level in the next year or so.

  4. By uncle joe on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    Yeah Ira, I was walking OUT of the Stadium when LC caught that TD.

  5. By GaryC on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    nice to know james harrison can call the boss a crook and a devil and still have a job and rake in millions,nice world we live in.Oh yeah, that’s right, it doesn’t work for everyone.

  6. By IRA on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    uncle joe, Whenever i see that game i still can’t believe what we saw. And man getting home and not going to sleep and going to work was well worth it back then. One name that really never gets mentioned was Wiggins. He caught 2 passes all year and one was a TD in that game. He is a player the Jets gave up too early. he went on to have a good career and made that clutch catch in the snow in Foxboro in the Tuck Game.

  7. By wayne on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    Good riddance. Good luck Vrabel. Won’t miss ya.

  8. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    Don’t just blame Harrison, GaryC, blame the cowardly powers-that-be in the NFL (including you-know-who) for encouraging refs to call nonsense like the first quarter pass interference on Cromartie against PIT in the championship game but allow Harrison to stay in the game after practically assaulting a Cardinal who was lying on the ground after a crucial late-game play in the Super Bowl. Pay your $100 parking, drink your $18 margarita, and shut up…

  9. By GaryC on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    remember jet fan tom, that goes to my theory that the steelers do get the majority of the officials calls,that being said we know the game was more physical in the 60’s,you could get away with anything,but getting back to Harrison and his ilk, this is what happens when you give power to certain factions of society,they become immune to the circumstances that are around them and do not see the sufferings of others, only themselves.you get to the point that you can challenge all authority without ramafications.

  10. By kw65fan on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    HUH…you a psych teacher GaryC…such poignant facts. I would take Harrison in a heart beat. He is a player…plays hard…and he lets you know it. Don’t give a hoot what he does off the field…in fact he is as clean as the next guy…you don’t hear of drugs….booze…parties. How quickly you overlook the fact of the work he has done with kids in Pittsburgh and his hometown in Ohio with a lot of charity giving. As far as Vrabel is concerned…hard nose player that we all admire…reminds me of a Lance Mehl type player…always in the middle of things.

  11. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    I suppose I’d take Harrison if he wanted to be a Jet, kw65fan, a guy can always change and we certainly need guys at his position. But please don’t tell me about his work with kids, that kind of hypocritical nonsense is straight out of the old Lenny Bruce joke about the Friars Club “telling dirty jokes all night and then giving milk to children.” People who can only behave like human beings when they’re around children and not adults are still in fact children themselves, and rather unruly ones at that. As for charity giving, if NFL star players can’t afford to do that in this day and age, who the hell can?!

  12. By GaryC on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    sorry kw65fan, no that is just from my queens high school education, sorry,no college in my background,all I say is if you bad mouth the bosses in the nfl your giving more lieniency than the average joes like you and I.Don’t know if we would last at our jobs if we showed up late more than a couple ot times.

  13. By wayne on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    Goddell is nobody’s boss. He’s a figurehead and a puppet at best….Harrison is a hotheat and loudmouth, but I personally have little regard for Mr. Goddell myself….Besides, the more things change the more they stay the same. You could always badmouth the boss as long as he needed you…..People been complaining bout things changing since the beginning of time….All it means is that it’s changing and you are unwilling to keep up……..NOTHING STAYS THE SAME…….OR DOES IT?……………………………………………..Do tire marks go well with stripes?

  14. By wayne on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    I’d grade Uncle Al’s performance over the last 40yrs far above the cumulative performance of all Jets brass………Yeah, I’ll believe Snyder is gonna splurge when I see it….Haynesworth and McNabb cut em deep. They cut em deep.

  15. By carl on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Randy, things must be slow for you to devote time on player that jet nation cant stand! But seriously are we gonna have football or what?Randy whats your take on this bull?

  16. By GaryC on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    I know one group that this strike is going to kill, that is the football publications,one of the rites of fall is getting your football magazine, no sense picking up magazine if you don’t know what the rosters are going to be.street and smith, pro football weekly, they are probably pulling their hair out of their heads.

  17. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jul 15, 2011 | Reply

    Uncle Al was great, but even Ali stayed in the ring too long. As for Snyder going after Holmes, if Holmes has to go, let him go to the Redskins, a team with a lousy QB situation, a head coach who hasn’t figured out what to do about that issue or some other things yet, and almost no relevance to the Jets for at least the next yr or 2. Holmes on the Pats or the Fins is the only thing I’d worry about.

  18. By GaryC on Jul 15, 2011 | Reply

    jet fan tom, do not worry if holmes goes to pats or fins,here how it will play out.afc championship,jets up by six, fourth and goal for dolphins at jets six,henne hits holmes in breadbasket only to see him drop it, jets win, jets win, off to the super bowl.then it won’t matter what I say about holmes,he would be the biggest jet ally.

  19. By Jimmer on Jul 15, 2011 | Reply

    I always thought Vrabel was a dirty player just like RHarrison. Nothing this guy does can wipe away my image of him.

  20. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jul 16, 2011 | Reply

    That sure would be payback, GaryC. Though I’ll balance the scales and say that it was Holmes’ TD against PIT in the championship that got us back in the game. He still has that explosive quality, as he proved all last yr. He’s just gotta make up his mind that he wants to lend it to the Jets rather than just anybody with a big checkbook. James Jones and Vincent Jackson are pretty explosive, too. I was saying to Arte the other day that I have a feeling Jackson and Floyd would love to be Jets because I think they may know that SD’s not winning a SB with Rivers or Turner. I just don’t think those two guys are winners, especially Turner, when you get right down to it. (Arte said there are lots of reasons SD’s not winning a SB.)

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