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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New York Jets By The Numbers: One More 13

Were it not for Dave Jennings, the lucky #13 would have been the sole property of one player, a distinction not found with many numbers on many teams anywhere. Dave Jennings punted for the Jets for three seasons in the 80's after kicking productively for the Giants for more than ten. In fact, the Giants of the late 70's were so bad (think Pasarcik to Kotar to Herman Edwards, 1978) that some years their only Pro Bowlers were Dave Jennings or, maybe, Brad Van Pelt. Your punter is your Pro Bowler - you have had a bad season.

However, Jennings also has the unique distinction of his own, of having broadcasted more Jets games than any other person - 14 seasons' worth. And what I always liked about Jennings was his insistence on being mercilessly dry witted with reference to the extraordinary ineptitude of the team in the Kotite years. Listening to him do the play-by-play of the away win at Indianapolis in 1995 (one of three wins that year) with whomever it was with him in the booth was a not exactly the Algonquin Table, but it kept the me listening to some pretty bleak %#&*ing games. When the Jets started turning around in 1998, he sounded impressed and cautiously hopeful, but always as an outsider. He was often apostrophic - "Jets fans," he would say, addressing the imaginary listener on WFAN, "you really have to put your gripes aside and be impressed with your team today." Lucky Dave - this year, he got to broadcast Giants games.

And I know what you're thinking. Is there any significant link here to "Dave Jennings," the English professor played by Donald Sutherland in "Animal House," who smokes dope, beds Karen Allen and declares John Milton boring - even boring to Milton's wife? Well, no. No. Not at all.

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