Although just because the current band of Jets isn’t Super Bowl-bound, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for celebration.
Four former members of the green and white roster and coaching staff will have a chance at Super Bowl immortality on February 13. With representatives on both sides, it is guaranteed that at least one ex-Jets player/coach will have a championship ring at the end of this.
ALL the latest Jets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Jets newsletter here!
Los Angeles Rams Side of Things
In the late game, the Los Angeles Rams knocked off the San Francisco 49ers in a heated NFC West matchup that went down to the wire. It required a mini-comeback, but ultimately the Rams came out on top 20-17 and will now be just the second team in NFL history to host the Super Bowl (Tampa Bay Buccaneers did it last year).
On the LA side of things, there are several former Jets representatives in their ranks.
Sharrod Neasman, safety
The former undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic was most recently with the Jets this season. He played in 11 games (starting in one of those) and registered a pick, three pass deflections, and secured 14 combined tackles.
After their season was complete they released the 30-year-old safety which opened the door for him to join a playoff team. Less than a week later he signed on to the Rams practice squad and has been there ever since.
Raheem Morris, defensive coordinator
Back in 2001, Raheem Morris got his first taste of the NFL with the Jets as a minority intern on the defensive side of the football. He would later go on to great glory with the Bucs as an assistant and eventually as a head coach.
After that stint, he also spent time with the Washington Football Team and the Atlanta Falcons respectively. Although his latest promotion saw him jump from the east to the west coast to become the Rams, defensive coordinator.
Kevin O’Connell, offensive coordinator
The former backup NFL quarterback was only in the league from 2008 through 2012, but shortly after his playing career, he found his true calling.
O’Connell got into coaching thanks to his bright football mind and worked his way up from quarterback’s coach with the Cleveland Browns to eventually landing the gig as the Rams offensive coordinator.
In this coaching cycle, he has been in the mix for several NFL head coaching openings and many believe he will land one of those jobs sooner rather than later.
O’Connell’s claim to fame with the Jets was his arrival via trade from the Detroit Lions. It seemed like he had a path to be the primary backup quarterback, but for one reason or another, it never materialized.
Cincinnati Bengals Representation
In the early game, the Cincinnati Bengals continued their magical run as they pulled off an improbable upset over the Kansas City Chiefs.
In the AFC Championship Game, they were down by as many as 18 before ultimately winning 27 to 24 in overtime. It was the largest comeback in conference title history.
A big part of their success in this game can be attributed to a former member of the Gang Green coaching staff.
Frank Pollack, Offensive line coach
The 54-year-old grizzled veteran coach has been in the NFL as both a player (1990-97) and as a coach (2012 through the present).
He spent two years with the Jets from 2019 through 2020 under Adam Gase. While things didn’t go well during his tenure, he was able to land on his feet pretty quickly with the same gig and some as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator with the Bengals in 2021.
Last week Joe Burrow and the Bengals won in spite of their offensive line which allowed a record-breaking nine sacks. While they were much maligned coming out of that dog fight, they had an epic bounceback in the conference championship game.
Cincinnati only allowed one sack and ran for over 116 yards on the ground versus Kansas City. If they lost the battle in the trenches, the Bengals would’ve been blown out.
Instead, they had one of the best turnarounds in just a week’s time to help pull off the major upset and get the Bengals back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1989.
While the Jets aren’t in the championship game and that stinks, at least you can have some rooting interest for some former members of the green and white.