Jets Lose; Reggie RIP

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Curtis Martin moved to the podium displaying the same grace and ease he does when he runs with the football. He came with a purpose displayed often when he carries the pigskin. Dapper as normal and speaking with ease and conviction the Jets great running back told the media his teammates and he were a "disappointment."

The Jets 23-7 loss to the world champion New England Patriots needed no other explanation. "We had so much energy," Curtis stated. Remarking how the practices in the past weeks had been so energetic and good. When asked what aspect of the Jets play was disappointing Martin replied that it was every aspect. Martin pointed the finger first at himself first and foremost. He ran for 33 yards on 13 carries. But then again the team only totaled 46 rushing yards against the world champions.

"I feel sorry for the people who paid their money," added the classy Martin. He replied "Yes" when asked whether the offense let the defense stay out on the field too long. "Yes" the Jets have yet to beat an elite team. "Yes" he still feels they can be an elite team and beat one. "Yes" this was the first time all season he felt another team simply and soundly beat his team.

Jets quarterback Chad Pennington remarked: "New England has the best front seven in football." Pennington also stated that their linebackers, the Patriots are the key to their team. Doesn't that remind one of another team that used to play in the Meadowlands and had linebackers named Taylor, Banks and Martin? And if memory serves me correctly, wasn't New England's 'present head coach Bill Billick, the defensive coach of that crew? The answer is YES to both questions, thank you. Martin said he wasn't happy or proud of his teams play on this day. He too seemed puzzled, as was Pennington about how they just simply didn't do the job.

The first quarter found the Jets controlling the football for nearly 12 minutes (11:20). It seemed only a matter of time before they would get into the red zone and score. That time turned out to be in the fourth quarter with 9:32 left in the game and Santana Moss catching a pass that he simply wouldn't let be anything but a touchdown. The score also didn't allow New England to shut out the Jets. But Moss had said last week that New England plays defense as a team. He said people kept talking about the Patriots cornerbacks, but they (as Moss had reminded us) are just a part of the whole defensive fabric.

"We control our own destiny" Pennington told the press. "The Rams are not going to roll over for us" Martin remarked about the Jets forthcoming game with the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis. "We just don't make it easy" said Pennington. J-E-T-S need a WIN.
Jets running back Lamont Jordan came to the same conclusion as his running mate Curtis Martin about the Jets offense not having done the job. "We are going to make coach Edwards old before his time," he joked. Then he added, "Don't knock the running game because it didn't work this time. If you don't knock it when we win don't do so when we lose." But one could detect a tone in his voice that seemed to say a better scheme of designing the offensive wouldn't have hurt.

Okay, the Jets win and the playoffs in St. Louis are a given. But like Lamont Jordan said to be 5-0 at one time and to be in this position, means things have not gone as expected or planned. Stay tuned.

Giants play their final home game against the Dallas Cowboys and former Giants and Jets coach Bill Parcells next Sunday at the Meadowlands with an 8:30pm start. It doesn't matter if you lose late, close big, small or early... the Giants after Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, continue to loss all kinds of ways with Eli Manning. Is it time to admit one panicked too soon? Bill Cosby once recorded a record entitled "Yes. Yes. Yes." I think that answers the question.

Anytime one can be in the same area or arena that Joe Willie Namath and Don Maynard are in... hey you are blessed. Namath is one of sports true heroes, superstars, leaders and living legends. Namath is one of the heroes of my youth and one of the greatest quarterback of the game. The Jets of Maynard and Namath days were the players and me and my dad, James Sr., agreed on and loved. Those were special memories. I loved those Sundays sitting in front of the television watching the great old AFL and those guys play the sport as it's meant to be played. GOD IS GOOD!

Joe Klecko had his number, 73, retired this past Sunday. Joe Namath, No. 12 and Don Maynard No. 13 were the only two Jets prior to Klecko, to have had their numbers retired. Maynard said he wore number 13 for a host of reasons. Both his sisters were born on the 13th and the fact that his name has 13 letters (Donald Maynard). Then he added that the Jets were the first AFL team
(1) to win the Super and it was the third (3) Superbowl. Though combining those numbers might be a bit of a stretch, what the! 13 again. His lucky number. Maynard played briefly for the New York Giants.

Did you notice during the Miami Heat-Los Angeles Laker game that Kobe Bryant scored 42 points and Shaquille O'Neal got 24? The reversal of both numbers. What Kobe would love to reverse is the loss to a win. Proof once again, the Big fella wins again.
I read that Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion, could block a punch and hit you with the same hand. Johnson won the title on Dec. 26th 1908, which is the birthday of Ozzie Smith, the greatest defensive shortstop in the history of baseball. Happy birthday Ozzie! You, too, Denzel and Tiger.

Ozzie Smith's birthday falls on the 26th, Denzel Washington's on the 28th (50), Tiger Woods falls on the 30th (28). Tiger is 28?
Also, birthday greetings to super boxing fan, Marie Ruggerio.

Ever notice how nobody blamed Phil Jackson, former Los Angeles Laker coach, for their loss last year to the Detroit Pistons? Just like nobody blamed Pat Riley when the New York Knicks lost in 1994 to the Houston Rockets. And just like you hear nothing about how the Minnesota Vikings keep blowing big games and not making the playoffs since Mike Tice has been head coach. But when Dennis Green was there, he always was called to task.

Pedro Martinez has stats comparable to Sandy Koufax at the same age, but that's where it ends. Nobody I ever saw pitch (I didn't see Satchel Paige who is the greatest) was as great or could dominate like Koufax. One of the greatest southpaw pitchers I've seen without a doubt is Warren Sphann. Though two other southpaws Steve Carlton and Vida Blue follow in suit. As far as right-handers, stats wise its tough to top George Thomas Seaver. Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Jim Maloney, Doc Gooden, Don Drysdale and Greg Maddux all in the ballpark, but Tom gets the first ticket. Seaver is in baseballs top five in strikeouts and ERA.

Then he also won 300 games and struck out 200 batters or more for 8 straight years. Nobody has ever done that either but GT. The guy who was described by the late great Don Drysdale as" the greatest pitching talent since Sandy Koufax, Dwight "Doc" Gooden, could have surpassed everybody but the Mets pitching coach ruined Doc, way before the blow.

I saw a gent on the way to the Jet game wearing an old New York Giants baseball cap. It reminded me of the fact Willie Mays lead the National league in stolen ('56-'59) bases for four straight years. Barry Bonds never did that nor Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMagio, Frank Robinson or Ted Williams.

My deepest Sympathy to the family of Reggie White from all our staff here. Reggie was a champion in life as well as on the football field. He was also a devout Christian. One of my greatest compliments came from the late, great lens man Carl Nesfield, who mentioned me in the same vein with White. He was referring to the fact that I also display my deep conviction to Christ through my speech and reference.

My publisher Milton Allimadi and all the staff at the Black Star New wish our readers a safe and Happy New Year!


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