Brett Favre's Jets Career: An Apology to Mark Gastineau?

Angel Navedo@NamedAngelSenior Writer INovember 26, 2008

New York City has been officially diagnosed with Brett Favre Fever. And rightfully so! He's the quarterback of the best team in the NFL, and who doesn't love a quarterback?

The New York Jets have been busy welcoming new fans to the fold since his arrival. And as the team continues to succeed, the buzzing surrounding the potential for a hometown Super Bowl is nearly deafening.

The Jets have had good years without him, and have made their way to the playoffs on multiple occasions in recent years. But 2008 is the first time in a long where they're winning, looking competitive, and are legitimate contenders for the throne that rests with the Giants.

While every man on the roster contributes to a Super Bowl run, it's Brett Favre that owes this to the New York Jets and their fans the most. Because it's Brett Favre that's responsible for handing the memories of one of the Jets' proudest moments to the enemies down the hall.

The New York Jets haven't been one of the most successful teams in NFL history. Fans know that and accept it. So when they do have something to be proud of, it feels even better for the Jets' faithful.

Super Bowl III was, of course, the Jets' brightest moment. But aside from that historic game 40 years ago, the Jets have had less than a handful of glory years. There have been plenty of smiles and cheers, but outright domination has been rare. 

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One of the best eras for the team came in the early 1980's with the New York Sack Exchange.

Joe Klecko, Marty Lyons, Abdul Salaam, and Mark Gastineau made up one of the NFL's most dangerous defensive lines. Led by Gastineau, the Jets sacked the quarterback 44 times in 1984, 22 of which belonged to no. 99 himself.

That individual record stood for 17 years—until Jan. 6, 2002, when Brett Favre handed Strahan the record on a ridiculous play.

In the final minutes of the final game in the 2001 regular season—Strahan needed only one sack to claim the record, and the Packers' offensive line completely neutralized him—Brett Favre decided to be a good ol' boy and audible out of a called run play.

Favre received the snap, rolled right, and slid to the ground on a bootleg for Strahan to steal Gastineau's record. Some Packers were slightly confused as Giants cheered and thanked Favre.

And Jets' fans wept.

It's been a tough existence for the Jets. It's not easy being green, right? There aren't many places for fans to point and say, "Yeah, those were the days!"

The Jets play in Giants Stadium, have watched Super Bowls from home that the Giants have won, and have been considered a second-class team in their own town.

Did Favre really need to give them the sack record, too?

When he found his way to New York this summer, most fans didn't remember that Favre stripped the team of a spot in history. After all, records are made to be forgotten.

Selective memory allowed fans to see Brett Favre, the Future Hall of Fame QB, and not Brett Favre, the Guy that Stole the Glory.

New York loves him right now. And as long as he continues to win, the sack record will become a faded memory. That's the nature of the beast.

But it shouldn't be forgotten that one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time owes the team on his helmet. He's not in New York simply because he wasn't ready to retire. This was fate. This is karma getting back at the old man, making him bring respectability to an organization he thoughtlessly snubbed.

He's here to bring new memories to the Jets.

And maybe one day Mark Gastineau can forgive him.

Angel Navedo is the Head Writer at NYJetsFan.com, boasting Jet Fuel Radio, frequently updated news and opinions, and a premier fan community. He is also the Community Leader for the New York Jets on Bleacher Report.