This week we’re bringing you a trio of voices from the Jets’ championship past, three players who played in the three AFL/AFC title games in franchise history. Today, Marty Lyons, a member of the New York Sack Exchange who’s now the team’s radio analyst, reflects on the 1982 Jets, who won road playoff games at Cincinnati and Los Angeles (vs. the Raiders) before coming to a halt at Miami, just short of Super Bowl XVII.
Nineteen eighty-two was a strike year. The season was shortened, we made it into the playoffs and of course we had to go on the road. We played the Bengals and won, we played the Raiders and won, and then we went down to Miami. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a good outing down there. A lot of it had to do with turnovers. We had five turnovers and lost, 14-0.
Everybody called it the Mud Bowl, said that Don Shula left the tarp off the field. To me, they played on the same field we did. The biggest difference in the game was the mud took away some of our offensive speed. We were a running team with Freeman McNeil and everyone else we had in the backfield. But the bottom line is when you have five interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, it is very difficult to overcome that.
What I remember is the empty feeling at the end of the game, sitting on the turf and then in the locker room. You work your whole life to get to "the game," and in the NFL that’s the Super Bowl. We came within 60 minutes. Everybody said, "Don’t worry, we’ll get ‘em next year." Then the team was dismantled, I retired after the ’90 season and the opportunity never came. These opportunities are few and far between for some players.
Now these Jets have a chance to get to the Super Bowl. Without a doubt, the Indianapolis Colts are going to be a great challenge for them. They’ll be playing against Peyton Manning, the best quarterback to ever play that position in the NFL, a four-time MVP. He knows the game, and it’s going to come at them at a very quick pace. I think there’s more pressure on the Colts than on the Jets in this game, but if there’s anybody who can handle this pressure, it’s Peyton.
He ‘s one of those quarterbacks who can quickly change the game. Last Saturday at the end of the second quarter against Baltimore was a perfect example. Most teams with no timeouts would’ve probably kicked a field goal. Coach Jim Caldwell had the confidence in Peyton to say "I’m going to give you one more play to get it in the end zone." And he does. That changed the whole momentum of the game right there before halftime.
When the Jets win on Sunday — and I’m expecting them to win — they’re going to have to earn it. It’s going to be hard. They’re going to have to control the line of scrimmage, run the ball, go to some play action, and they have to be ready for Peyton.
But this Jets team is a good blend for the young players. Look at what Rex Ryan did, putting out that itinerary: "We’re going to play at Cincinnati in the first round and win, we’re going to go on the road in the second round and win." I think he wanted his players to visualize. A lot of players have never experienced this before. If you paint them the picture, it’s easy for them to understand the story. If you tell them the story and there’s no pictures, sometimes it’s harder.
I think Rex did it with a great deal of respect for the organization and his players. And I’m happy to be a small part of it as a member of the Jets’ radio team.
Tags: AFC Championship Game, Indianapolis Colts, Marty Lyons, Miami Dolphins, Peyton Manning, Rex Ryan
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Where do I start?
Just a few weeks ago the Jets were on top of the world at 8-3. Now the Jets are 9-6, losing three out of their last four. NOT GOOD.
I will make it plain and simple. The game Sunday in Seattle was very disappointing. End of conversation.
As I sit at the table asking myself is the glass half-empty or half-full, I have to take out my carpenter’s level to check. I just don’t know any more. Half-full means you control your own destiny. The Jets don’t. Half-empty means the season is over. The Jets still have a chance to make it to the playoffs with a win over Miami and need some help from around the league.
Trust me, I know what you’re thinking, Big Len: "C’mon, Marty, we deserve better from you." At the beginning of the season I talked about accountability and chemistry. It’s been dormant the last couple of weeks. Can the Jets bring it back against Miami? It really depends on which side of the table you’re looking at the glass from.
I really believe that they can. And if the Jets do finish 10-6 and don’t make it to the playoffs, they can only blame themselves.
Picture this: You’re hanging from a cliff. Do you just let go because that’s the easy way out? Or do you hold on with every bit of energy and strength you have, fighting till the end, hoping that someone comes to your aid? Maybe if you hold on long enough, help will come. That’s what the Jets have to do this week against Miami — hold on and win and hope for help.
During the holiday season, please take time to tell all of your loved ones how special they are in your life. None of us has a crystal ball, so spend you time wisely and enjoy the holidays. Week 17 in the NFL should be interesting.
Tags: Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks
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Yesterday I didn’t go to my therapist, Dr. Brian. I didn’t have to. I hosted the Marty Lyons Foundation Holiday Party with my former teammate, Kenny Schroy.
Hundreds of children attended the party with their families, most with the aid of their wheelchairs, fighting each day for their lives. The party is a celebration of another year of life for children that are seriously ill. For some of them, their greatest wish in life is to see tomorrow.
As we gave out thousands of toys, you realize all the gifts that you have around you, your family, your friends, and more importantly the opportunity that all of us have to make a difference in some one else’s lives. "To make a difference, all you have to do is care".
The game of football was very good to me. The Jets fans were always supportive of my effort on the field and continue to support my effort with the foundation. The best part about the game of football is the relationships that I built with my teammates. A special thanks to Greg Buttle, John Nitti, and of course Kenny Schroy. Relationships last a lifetime if you allow them to. This 2008 Jets team should treasure the moment they have now, share it with one another and don’t take it granted.
As for the game on Sunday against the Bills, the players have to think one game at a time, one play at a time. Yes, it took one play to save the game on Sunday against the Bills, and yes, that one play might have saved the Jets’ entire hopes of making it to the playoffs.
You can say what you want — "the Jets didn’t play well," "the Jets got lucky," even "the Jets didn’t deserve to win." But what you have to realize is the Jets didn’t quit. The second effort from Abram Elam to come from the backside to sack and strip the ball out of J.P. Losman’s hand was just that, second effort. Second effort by Shaun Ellis to get into the end zone for the touchdown, that happens when you’re hustling to the ball and being in the right place at the right time.
In football it takes just one play to win a game or lose a game. Maybe, just maybe that one play is what the Jets needed to boost their confidence for these last two games. The players, coaches and fans know they will have to play a more complete game against Seattle this week to win, but as far as the Bills goes, take the win and be happy.
It’s a one-game schedule, Seattle on the road. Don’t waste the opportunity.
Tags: Abram Elam, Buffalo Bills, Marty Lyons Foundation, Seattle Seahawks, Shaun Ellis
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Monday was a long and tough day for me after the flight back from San Fran. I was tried, disappointed, mad and frustrated. I had to go see my therapist, Dr. Brian. I needed help, words of encouragement. I’ve been seeing him for almost 30 years now. Dr. Brian is a mountain of a man, soft spoken, and he always greets me with a smile.
When I got to his office, the parking lot was packed. Cars were parked everywhere — on the curbs, on the grass, even doubled-parked. All of the vehicles had some kind of Jets stickers on them. What was going on here?
Then I realized I wasn’t the only one that needed to talk to Dr. Brian this morning. All Jets Fans did.
Walking into his office was surprising. It was empty, except for Mike . We call him the "The King." He’s been going to Jets games his entire life, home and away, even the preseason games, and the guy lives in Florida. Yes, he has issues.
As I walked to the receptionist to check in and ask for Dr. Brian, Debbie told me that when he got to the office in the morning, Jets fans were everywhere. They were screaming, cussing, "do this and do that type of attitudes." So Dr. Brian took them all in the conference room to show the Jets-Tennessee game from three weeks ago.
His message: Stay positive. Remember who you are, where you’re at, what’s in front of you. Don’t be negative.
As I sat across from the King watching him bite his nails one after another, I noticed a sign above his head. It read: "Stay positive. The Jets are still in first place at 8-5." Yes, Dr. Brian was working his magic. As poorly as the Jets had played the last two weeks, they were still in first place. I started to think about the positive, not the negative.
On the other wall was a sign that read: "No problem is too big that it can’t be fixed. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Attitude." A thought came to my head: If the Jets win the next three games, they’ll win their division. Stay Positive.
The next two signs were powerful. The first was a quote from General Colin L. Powell. It read: "There is no secret to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure." The Jets had experienced all three. Why can’t they win three in a row? Learn from failure.
The other read: "Self-trust is the first secret of success — Ralph Waldo Emerson." Once again I realized how important it is to ALWAYS look at the glass half full, not half empty. Self-trust.
Just then the door opened and Dr. Brian came over with his big smile and asked, "How you doing, big guy? Tough couple of weeks for the Jets." I quickly replied, "I’m fine." His subliminal form of therapy had worked.
Think about it, Jets fans. Win three and you win the division. In hard times stay positive.
I always choose to look at the glass as half full. That’s just who I am and how I live my life. If it’s just for one more week with the Jets, so be it. Hopefully, it’s into the playoff.
Tags: San Francisco, Tennessee Titans
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I know everyone is disappointed in the performance Sunday against the Broncos. I am. The weather was bad, the officiating was bad, the Jets were bad.
But it’s just one game in a long season of 16 games. The Jets still are 8-4, still in first place in the AFC East and control their own destiny.
If I wanted to beat the Jets up after their loss to Denver, where would I start? But I won’t. They have played amazing football for the last five weeks. They gave all of us a reason to believe and to be proud to be a Jets fan.
I’ve talked about it and heard about it everywhere I went for the last five weeks. Jets jerseys were everywhere, being worn by both young and old. Closet Jets fans were back on the streets with stories like they were actually playing the games themselves.
Eddie the plumber said to me this week, "Dude, the Jets are for real." Fred from Kings Park Meat Market, a long-time Jets fan, was smiling ear to ear about the Jets when I saw him on Friday, even with Vin the Giants fan sitting in the corner wearing last year’s Super Bowl T-shirt and hat, laughing out loud. Then there was Mike, who said, "I can finally wear my Jets sweatshirt again." Mike from the fish market, a true Jets fan, said it best, plain and simple — "Go Jets."
And of course the best was Mr. Lips, an older gentleman and a true soccer fan who knows "NOTHING" about football, and I really mean "NOTHING." But he goes out and buys a Jets folding chair for the soccer field. Mr. Lips, God bless him, just wanted to be part of this Jets season.
Get the picture? We were all on the Jets bandwagon, and now is not the time to jump off of it because of one bad game. They’re still in first place.
I’ve said since the beginning of the season the magical number was 10 wins, now maybe 11, to make it to the playoffs. Well, the Jets have eight wins after three quarters of the 16-week season. With four games left, they have to win two to get to 10 or three to be safe. After they stubbed their toe against Oakland, they won five in a row. What makes you believe they can’t do it again? They can if they play from the shoulders up, play smart, play fast, and play physical.
Now it’s time to see the finish line, four games left. The Patriots are looking over your shoulder, the Dolphins are looking over your shoulder. Don’t forget that if they’re looking over your shoulder they’re behind you. You can keep it that way by just winning. Yesterday is gone, there’s nothing you can do to get back your performance against Denver. Move on to San Fran. Forget about it. You’ve worked too hard to get where you are. Don’t let it slip away. WIN!!!!!!!
Tags: AFC East, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers
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Wow, back-to-back wins on the road. First against last year’s AFC champions, the New England Patriots, and Sunday against undefeated Tennessee. You’re now 8-3 and there’s only one team with a better record than the one you’ve got in the AFC, and guess what — it’s the team you beat yesterday, the Titans at 10-1.
Last week one of the responses to my blog was from a lady named Diane. She said, "Consistency, Marty". Well, Diane, here it is:
Consistency — Winning their last five games in a row.
Consistency — Outscoring their opponents in the five wins, 169-88.
Consistency — Winning the fourth quarter, scoring a total of 98 points so far. In ’07 they scored a total of 73 points, and the ’08 Jets still have five games left.
Consistency — The Jets are tied for third in the NFL with most players with 15 or more receptions.
Consistency — They’re first in the NFL in ball-control five-minutes drives with 27.
Consistency — The defense has held six opponents to under 50 yards rushing for the game.
Consistency — The defense is first in the NFL with the most players with at least a half sack.
Consistency — The defense is first in the NFL in forced fumbles with 16.
Need I say more? This team is for real. To win five games in a row, you have to play physical football, and they do. To be 8-3 after 11 games, you have to play smart football, and they do. To have the second-best record in the AFC after 11 games, you have to have players and coaches who believe in one another and trust in one another, and they do.
Now that Jets fans have seen consistency, they want more. BEAT DENVER.
Let’s not forget that Thursday is Thanksgiving. Remember the words of Barbara Bush: "Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people — your family, friends and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way."
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Tags: New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans
Posted in Marty Lyons | 57 Comments »
Congratulations to the New York Jets players and staff for their big win against New England. You’re now where you wanted to be — first place in the AFC East.
The facts of the game tell the whole story, The Jets never trailed the entire game, building a lead of 24-6 at one time in the second quarter. Brett Favre was 26-for-33, 2 TDs, 258 yards and NO INTS. The Jets rushed for 140 yards, compared to 125 yards for the Patriots.
I know what everyone is thinking: How did the Jets allow New England back in the game? Well, New England is not the St. Louis Ram. They don’t roll over, they have a rich tradition and a great deal of pride. That’s why they’ve won three Super Bowls in the previous seven years. That’s why they went 18-0 last year: pride and respect for themselves.
That’s why this was such a big win.
The Jets could have felt sorry for themselves when the Patriots tied the score, but they didn’t. They could have felt sorry for themselves when the game went into overtime after a great catch by Randy Moss, but they didn’t. This team is different.
Being different doesn’t always mean winning more games.
Being different means believing in one another and fighting till the end, whether it’s 60 minutes of football or even overtime.
Being different is believing in the game plan and executing it.
Being different is leadership, guys like Favre, Faneca, Woody, Jones, Washington, Jenkins, Ellis, Barton, Revis and Rhodes to name a few.
Being different is not allowing fans to say "the same old Jets". It’s OK to be different.
You really want to be different? Do what no one has been able to do …
Beat the TITANS!!!!!!!!!
Remember you have something special here. Build on it, one game at a time.
Posted in Marty Lyons | 20 Comments »
According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word "dominate" means: "control, be the most powerful or influential member or part of something." As of 5 o’clock yesterday Webster’s added a picture of the Jets’ game against the Rams.
Let’s start on the defensive side of the ball. They were outstanding, starting with the play of Eric Barton (14 tackles, a half sack and a fumble recovery). He along with 10 other green jerseys were everywhere, creating turnover after turnover and even scoring on defense when Abram Elam sacked Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, forcing a fumble that was returned by Calvin Pace for a touchdown.
Defensive game ball goes to coordinator Bob Sutton. Bob had his unit prepared and ready to play. The defensive scheme was to attack the Rams with everything they had for 60 minutes and that’s what they did. Bob is allowing his players to play, putting them in the best positions to come up with big-time plays. They are the real deal. Great job by all.
Offensively, great job by the offensive line. Thomas Jones running for three touchdowns, protecting Brett Favre all day, not allowing a sack. But the most impressive stat: scoring on their first seven possessions. Brian Schottenheimer, the offensive coordinator, did an excellent job, calling plays with play action and controlling the passing game, and no turnovers.
Special teams were perfect, as was Jay Feely. Icing on the cake: a 55-yard field goal to end the first half.
Bottom line, the Jets started fast and finished strong. They had a game plan and executed it to perfection. They dominated the game.
Once again, the energy level in the stadium was unbelievable. If I had extra game balls, I’d give each one of you one.
Now it’s show time in New England. It not what New England brings to the table, it’s what YOU bring to the table. You have something special here — build on it. Believe that you can win and settle for nothing less. Remember what I said last week: "If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right."
It doesn’t get any better than this … IT’S SHOW TIME.
Tags: Bob Sutton, Brian Schottenheimer, Eric Barton, Jay Feely, St. Louis Rams
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It was once said, "If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right."
The Jets played smart football and used a physical defense to beat a Buffalo team that had not lost a home game in the ’08 season. They played from the shoulders up and executed a game plan that didn’t just frustrate the Buffalo players but also their fans.
The team leader also emerged yesterday: Kris Jenkins. Kris leads by example and when he speaks, everyone listens. Besides owning the middle of the defense, he was all over Trent Edwards all day, hitting him three times (one resulting in a 92-yard interception return for a touchdown by Abram Elam). He also had two sacks and five tackles.
I haven’t seen some one dominate the nose tackle position since Joe Klecko did so in the Eighties.
One example of smart football was when Leon Washington, on a third-quarter kickoff by Buffalo, was out of bounds when first touching the ball. The ball is considered out of bounds by rule, spot the ball on the 40-yard line.
Another was when Brett Favre used a quick snap to catch Buffalo with 12 men on the field. When a flag wasn’t thrown, Eric Mangini challenged the play and won — 5 free yards and repeat the down.
It was smart football when when Laveranues Coles slid his hand under the ball to keep it from hitting the turf — first down.
It was smart football when the offense controlled the fourth quarter, holding the ball for just over 10 minutes to FINISH the game.
One last thing about smart football. Look at the final numbers by the defense. They held Buffalo to 30 yards rushing, had 5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 6 tackles for losses, 1 fumble recovery and 1 defensive score. Not to mention Darrelle Revis was outstanding and is having a Pro Bowl season. It doesn’t get any better than that.
After eight games the Jets are tied in the AFC East for first place at 5-3. Don’t look back, look forward. The next quarter of football is time for you to build on what you started in Buffalo, not go backward. Take one game at a time starting with the Rams. This is a game you should win.
My MVPs after eight games: Offense — Thomas Jones and Jerricho Cotchery. Defense — Darrelle Revis and Kris Jenkins. Special Teams — Wallace Wright and Leon Washington.
Remember this: "If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse." No more excuses.
Tags: Brett Favre, Buffalo Bills, Eric Mangini, Laveranues Coles, Leon Washington, Trent Edwards
Posted in Marty Lyons | 67 Comments »
Everyone has either watched or seen the advertisement for Ugly Betty. America Ferrera with her glasses and braces is like watching a football game with turnovers and mistakes — not the greatest thing for your stomach.
Remove it all and you have a beautiful actress and a team that can win any football game.
The Jets allowed Kansas City to believe that they could win the game with three turnovers by Brett Favre and a defense that made Tyler Thigpen think he was back at Coastal Carolina throwing one completion after another. Sometimes when you play a bad team, which Kansas City is, you play down a level and forget to take advantage of their weakness … rush defense.
Kansas City came into yesterday’s game last in the NFL in rush defense, allowing over 200 yards per game. While the Jets finished the game with over 100 yards rushing on the afternoon, they only ran the ball nine times in the first half for 80 yards. And one of those runs was a 60-yard touchdown run by Leon Washington. Thank God for Leon Washington, he was outstanding.
Bottom line, it’s hard to win in the NFL. The Jets did in Ugly Betty style, but getting ready for Buffalo, you’d better take the costume off, put your mouthpiece in and buckle your chinstrap. You might even want to do all that on the flight to Buffalo — if you wait for the game to start, that might be too late.
You thought Oakland was a hard place to play? Buffalo is even harder. The fans are loud and they’re right on top of you and they do not like the Jets. The Bills are a physical team, so be ready. You’re right in the mix of the AFC East at 4-3. A lot is riding on this game. Borrowing a line from the movie "Water Boy," "You can do it."
Buffalo is the last game of the first half of the ’08 season, and 5-3 would be nice. Stop the Ugly Betty turnovers, protect the quarterback and believe that you can win. Believe …
Talk to you next week. Until then, live, love, laugh and be happy.
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Leon Washington
Posted in Marty Lyons | 54 Comments »