Saturday, June 27, 2009

NY Jets #38 - Part 1

Into how much of futurity? My wife and I are buying a house. We have to pack the apartment, and before that, we have to clean, which is enough of a task that you might even think to never move, ever. Think of the famous Collyer brothers, one of whom was found dead behind an impossible network of boxes, newspapers and gathered stuff. The other was found crushed beneath a booby trap of detritus and clutter. Sometimes the mind makes itself believe that wherever you are is the safest place to be, even as something better waits for you on the other side of town. My Mom would often invoke the Collyers when she saw my piles of magazines and newspapers in my room as a kid. I've always, always had problems with letting go.

Which kind of explains what I do here. Perhaps by gathering things from the past, constantly bringing back names and numbers, I'm building the protective pile around which I can seek a defense from the world outside the windows. Perhaps they will find my lifeless body after days of digging past Phil Wise, W.K. Hicks, Scott Dierking, and Steve O'Neal. Or not.

Or Ed Taylor, #38 at free safety for the Jets from 1975-79. Not a single winning season in the mix. The Jets existed in the same realm as Archie Manning's New Orleans Saints during the time. Things didn't get better for the Jets until 1981, at which point Ed Taylor was finishing up his career in #45 for the Miami Dolphins, the Jets' biggest rival then as now (speak not of Those Of Whom We Do Not Speak). To be honest, playing as he did for a team that won 25 games over the five season he saw for them, I don't remember much about Ed Taylor, and even then he played in the shadow of Burgess Owens and, later, Bobby Jackson. He wasn't a Mormon like Owens, but he was born in Memphis, and went to college at Memphis State. Oh, wait. I do recall that Taylor took the field in his latter Jets seasons wearing shades that were pretty slick, in a late 70's sense. Headband, beard, honey-shaded game time shades - there are worse things for which to be known. Yes indeed.

Where are the Giants fans who remember running back Billy Taylor? He graced the cover of Big Blue's 1980 yearbook after gaining 953 total yards the season before. By the following year, he would wear #38 for both the Giants and the Jets. He was cut from the Blue a few weeks into the 1981 season and picked up by the Green to gain one yard total over two games. He was handed the ball once against New England and took the ball once in a predictably frustrating loss to the Seahawks (Dave Krieg's first start as I recall), both games at Shea. He didn't even start in the home thumping of Buffalo in between. He gained two yards in the Patriots game, then lost one yard against Seattle. History always provides such things as a retrospectively pat examples of how minutiae reveal truths about big things, as if Jets fans needed such clarifications. But did Billy Taylor spend the rest of the season on the sidelines thinking about how his performance for the Jets was merely a metaphor for the Jets' record in those games he played? No, probably not.

George Floyd? Yes. Is that the name of a supporting actor in a Marx Brothers film? No, it is not. He is an inductee in the College Football Hall of Fame (how many former Jets are inductees?), former Jets safety in #38, and I have absolutely no statistics on him, though his Wikipedia entry mentions, his ability to level "vicious hard hits," which might mean he wrote the entry. No harm, no foul, George. After all, Billy Squier was known for hard hits too, but then George Floyd would probably have had enough common sense not to ruin his singing career by prancing around in his video for "Rock Me Tonight" like a very silly, silly man. No, sir.

This is how you dance.

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