Fans know it feels pretty good to win the “big one.”
The New York Jets are known for winning the big one, but just once. They have an interesting history. We covered the Jet’s Championship in Pillars of the NFL when Weeb Ewbank’s players won Super Bowl III. Ewbank had shown that he could build a team from the ground up when he won two championships with the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas. He was hired by the Jets to do the same. Ewbank’s first Jets’ season was in 1963. In 1965, Sonny Werblin, President and one of the owners of the Jets, signed Joe Namath. Ewbank continued building and in 1968 his Jets won the AFL Championship and the Super Bowl before the official merger of the AFL and NFL. Ironically, Ewbank’s Jets win was against his old team, the Colts. His quarterback, Joe Namath, was confident and the Jets were tough. The Colts had a reputation, but Ewbank sensed that could be had and with Namath playing under control, the Jets won the day.
The Jets have not won another Super Bowl.
Not trying to big cruel, if you came up with a nickname for the Jets winning history, they might be a “one hit wonder.” With a number of professional sports teams centered around New York, the media is known to be pretty tough on their teams. After all, as the song goes, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. I’d say that New York is more than ready for another Super Bowl winner. The Jets have hired Adam Gase and recently fired general manager Mike MacCagnan. The media suggests that the organization is little dysfunctional–that remains to be seen as the season is ahead of us, not behind us.
Meanwhile, back in Green Bay, the Titletown nomenclature is starting to sound disingenuous. Over the past 50 seasons, the Packers have won the championship twice. Does a team who won 2 championships in the last 50 years deserve the moniker Titletown? Seven NFL teams have won it 2 times more than the Packers during that time. So it’s hard to think of the Packers as one of the elite teams in the NFL, although in several seasons, they certainly had the reputation of being elite. Elite does not come to mind for me in Green Bay unless you go back to Lombardi, and before Lombardi, it was Lambeau.
On February 6th, 2011, the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25. At the time, it was Aaron Rodgers fourth season as the starting quarterback. It was Mike McCarthy’s sixth year as head coach. If you go back to those days, it just seemed like the Packers were destined for great things, but over the next 8 seasons, they could not get past the conference championship game.
On January 26th, 1997, the Packers with Brett Favre under head coach Mike Holmgren won the Super Bowl by beating the New England Patriots, 35-21. Favre and Holmgren were able to accomplish another Super Bowl attempt the next year, but lost to the San Francisco 49ers of Steve Young under head coach Steve Mariucci, 30-27.
From there you travel back three decades until you meet up with one Vince Lombardi and his five NFL Championships in 9 years. Titletown made sense during the Lombardi years.
I remember as a kid going to the Museum of Science and Industry and walking around this large room of historical storefronts and ancient cars–Model Ts as I recall. At the time, that history was closer to that present day than Vince Lombardi’s championships are to today.
No, for the modern football fan, it’s hard to think of Green Bay as Titletown.
Time moves quickly and there are 32 teams in the NFL. Although 2 Super Bowls in 50 years is hardly a dynasty, it is better than average. With 32 teams, it would therefore not be unusual for a team to only win a championship every 3 or 4 decades. These are not the kind of statistics that give fans comfort!