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Carroll’s Column: A Cruel Thanksgiving for the Jets

Dolphins defeat Jets in first-ever NFL Black Friday game - Image Credit: Yahoo Sports

NEW YORK — Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful, and highly spirited; however for one particular NFL franchise and their rabid fanbase, it is quite the opposite… 

Thanksgiving has been cruel to the New York Jets. Twelve years ago, the Jets were humiliated by the New England Patriots, 49-19. As bad as that score was, what people remember about the game was not the shellacking the Jets received. That was common during the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era. What has stood out over the years, and still defines the Jets franchise, was the “Butt Fumble,” when Jets QB Mark Sanchez lost the football by running into his own guard, Brandon Moore, and was run in for a touchdown by the Patriots. 

Patriots Jets in 2012 Thanksgiving Night game, known as the game that featured the Butt Fumble – Image Credit: ABC

Fast forward a dozen years, and the NFL decides to plant a flag on Black Friday by having its first-ever game played on America’s shopping day. The Jets hosted the Miami Dolphins in the inaugural game. Few expected the Jets, with their awful quarterback corps, and even worse offensive line, to beat the Dolphins. Oddsmakers had Gang Green as a ten-point underdog. 

The Jets were beaten, 34-13. Losing by three touchdowns to a team heading for the playoffs has been par for the course for the Jets for years. What will be remembered from this game was the last play of the first half with the Jets trailing the Dolphins 10-6. Jets QB Tim Boyle heaved a fifty-yard “Hail Mary” pass to the end zone with two seconds left in the hopes a receiver would haul it in for a touchdown.

In most of these situations, the worst that happens is the defending team bats the ball away or intercepts it and takes a knee to end the half or the game, if it is fourth quarter. Of course, we are talking about the Jets where the bizarre is expected. Miami Dolphins defender Jevon Holland intercepted Boyle’s pass just before the Jets end zone and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown. The “Hail Mary” pass was quickly dubbed the “Hell Mary” on social media. Benched Jets QB Zach Wilson must have felt like the luckiest person in MetLife Stadium.

On the SNY Jets postgame show, former NFL stars Bart Scott and Willie Colon both stated they had never seen a “Hail Mary” pass returned for a touchdown. They also blasted the Jets receivers for not doing enough to bat the ball away from Holland or pursue him after he caught it and started running it back.   

The good news for the Jets was although the game was televised nationally, it was shown on the streamer Prime Video instead of CBS, NBC, ABC, or FOX. That meant less viewership for this game. The bad news is the Miami Dolphins are being featured on the latest installment of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” which means the Jets’ futility will be dissected again next week. This will make “Hell Mary” a worthy addition to the “Butt Fumble” in both NFL and Jets lore.     

Veteran broadcaster Al Michaels called the Dolphins-Jets game on Prime Video, and by the fourth quarter he could no longer hide his disgust. He understandably ignored the action on the field in favor of schmoozing with his analyst Kirk Herbstreit, about past Jets debacles he called in his career. They also discussed Michaels’ dietary preferences and dislikes. I have a feeling Al Michaels, who is exceptionally good at dishing zingers, will be paying tribute to the late comedian, and Jackson Heights native, Don Rickles, on Thursday evening, December 28th, when the Jets play the Browns in frigid Cleveland. He will not be a happy camper to leave his home in balmy LA for that game.     

FOX Sports and Prime Video air personality Charissa Thompson causes a stir on Social Media

Last week FOX Sports and Prime Video air personality Charissa Thompson caused a stir by admitting that early in her career when she was a sidelines reporter, many NFL coaches would not talk to her during the game, and her job was to get quotes from them. Worried she would lose her job, she admitted she made up timeless cliches such as “We’ve got to convert better on third down” and “We need to stop committing dumb penalties” and ascribed them to whichever head coach was on the sidelines with her. I am not saying what she did was right, but it was not a capital offense either. 

Charissa Thompson on Thursday Night Football – Image Credit: Amazon Prime

Despite the outcry from some curmudgeons calling for Thompson to be fired, her employers have stood by her, and I am glad. I have enjoyed her work on the FOX Sports NFL pregame show. Frankly, Thompson’s candor may improve sports journalism as coaches may think twice about sprouting well-worm cliches. Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy gave CBS Sports NFL sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson thoughtful answers to her questions instead of hackneyed responses, following their 45-10 pasting of the Washington Commanders.      

Dolly Parton performs Halftime Show in Commanders-Cowboys on Thanksgiving

Whether the pathetic Washington Commanders really showed up to play in Dallas on Thanksgiving is debatable, what is certain is the highlight of the game for many was the terrific halftime performance by 77-year-old Dolly Parton. Wearing the iconic Dallas Cowboys cheerleader outfit, and looking like she could really be a member of the 2023 squad, Parton launched into terrific renditions of two of her best-known songs, “Jolene” and “9 to 5,” before breaking into the Queen medley of “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You” from her new album, Rockstar.”     

Dolly Parton sounded as she did forty years ago. Her performance should send a message to both NFL executives, and to “Saturday Night Live” majordomo Lorne Michaels, that it is all right to deviate from the current, and mostly forgettable, musical acts on the charts, and let some veterans get one more chance in the spotlight.      

A Mic for All Seasons out now – autobiography published by Kenny Albert

Kenny Albert has just published his autobiography, “A Mic for All Seasons” (Triumph Books). It is an apt title since Kenny Albert has broadcast nearly every sport outside of golf and auto racing.      

A Mic for All Seasons – Image Credit: Triumph Books

Although growing up in a sportscasting family, as his dad is Marv, and his uncles are Al and Steve Albert, Kenny only mentions them in passing. He talks about what he learned from his first big break, being the voice of the Baltimore Skipjacks of the American Hockey League, to hitting the big-time calling Knicks games for MSG Network, and MLB and NFL games for FOX Sports.     

The best advice Kenny Albert imparts to aspiring broadcasters is not to commit to calling a game in another city the next day if you are in Buffalo anytime from late fall to early spring. He twice got caught in snow storms there when he had to be elsewhere the next day. 

Gregg Popovich raises his voice at Spurs fans

The usually respected head coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich, made a fool of himself when he grabbed a microphone and scolded fans for booing former Spur, and current Los Angeles Clippers star, Kawhi Leonard. Paying customers have the right to boo as they please, especially at former players who return “home.”

You can read more of Lloyd Carroll’s columns posted weekly on The Queens Chronicle.

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