The 1980 Oakland Raiders.
Oh, and next month's Super Bowl in Dallas -- where the Jets are trying to go as a wild-card team -- will mark the 30th anniversary of those Raiders becoming the first wild-card team to capture a world championship.
I'm just saying.
For one, I covered those wild and wacky Raiders for the San Francisco Examiner. For another, Art Shell played for them. The point is, we both are nodding these days with a sense of déjà vu while watching these Jets overcome a bunch of stuff.
That stuff ranges from the alleged harassment of a female reporter to the strength and conditioning coach tripping an opposing player on the sidelines during a game to Rex Ryan's eternally flapping tongue.
For instance: Ryan is in his second season as Jets coach, which means he is in his second season of boasting that they are the NFL's best. Courtesy of it all, he has generated more than a few controversies -- with help from his wife. There are foot-fetish videos featuring a woman who resembles Mrs. Ryan, but Mr. Ryan has refused to comment on the matter, which, considering the source, speaks volumes.
Those Raiders' didn't have any of that stuff, but they had stuff.
"We worked our tails off (through the distractions). We just needed dedication, and I think that's what the Jets are doing, kind of like circling the wagons," said Shell, the Hall of Fame offensive tackle whose 1980 Raiders survived everything from the trading of locker room favorite Ken Stabler to the heightening of the feud (OK, hatred) between owner Al Davis and NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle to the ongoing presence of zany guys throughout their roster.
Those Raiders also competed in a highly potent league with the final days of the Steel Curtain, Tom Landry's dynastic Cowboys and the explosive Chargers of Air Coryell, to name a few.
It all contributed to an us-against-them mentality for those Raiders that Shell sees in these Jets.
"Everybody's taking shots at you, so you circle the wagons, and you bust your tails, and you find a way to win," Shell said. "And that year, we found ways to win football games. But if we hadn't changed our attitudes (after a 2-3 start), we couldn't have won."
Those Raiders had it, and these Jets have it.
As for the attitude of those Raiders, it began with this: Stabler was their miracle quarterback, but after clashing with Davis, he was traded to the Houston Oilers for Dan Pastorini, who struggled. In fact, when he broke his leg in Oakland during the fifth game, the hometown crowd cheered. He was carried off the field and replaced by Jim Plunkett, who was considered a nothing backup on his way out of the league.
"One of our own had fallen (in Pastorini), and the crowd reaction was something we didn't like to hear, and it pulled us together even more," said Shell, adding those other things also helped the Raiders jell.
Things such as the Raiders' pending move from Oakland to Los Angeles that had Davis and Rozelle ripping each other in court, through the media and just overall.
Shell laughed, saying, "We were well aware of the situation, and we looked at ourselves as the outsiders. We were the renegades trying to knock the door down to be part of the NFL. We were like step children. So we wanted to make sure we won and got into the playoffs. Then it would be like, 'Well, now we're going to show you what we can do.' "
First, those Raiders ruined Stabler's homecoming, when the Oilers came to Oakland to start the playoffs, and when Plunkett continued to show he was a has-been turned superstar. Then the Raiders traveled to Cleveland, where the Browns were just an easy field goal away in the final seconds from ending the Raiders' fairy tale.
"I couldn't believe they tried to throw the ball instead," said Shell, recalling how the pass from the famously accurate Brian Sipe looked on target in the end zone toward Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome, but was intercepted by Raiders safety Mike Davis, who dove out of nowhere.
To which Shell laughed, saying of Davis, "He had the worst hands on the team."
Sounds like the magic of these Jets.
No way, these Jets should have survived last Saturday in Indianapolis, where the Colts booted the apparent winning field goal inside the final minute of a first-round playoff game only to watch the visitors charge downfield to kick the actual winner with no time left.
Just before that field goal, the Jets needed a big play, and they got it, when Braylon Edwards made an over-the-shoulder catch along the sidelines.
This is the same Edwards who contributed to the Jets' chaos after an arrest earlier in the season for DUI. This also is the same Edwards who continues to join the rest of his teammates (and coach) in running his mouth. He says that, despite the Patriots smashing the Jets 45-3 in New England about a month ago, things will be different this weekend when they meet at Gillette Stadium Sunday.
"I remember what happened (the last time), but at the end of the day, we know we're better," Edwards told reporters on Sunday, referring to the AFC's No. 1-seed and owner of the league's top offense, led by Tom Brady and his three Super Bowl rings.
Added Jets tight end Dustin Keller, "It's our chance to get back (at them). We're very confident going into this game."
Ryan demands as much.
Sounds like nearly everybody on the 1980 Raiders, who enhanced their defiant attitude after they arrived in San Diego for the AFC championship game. It was because of this: The bus driver taking them from the airport to the hotel said the Chargers and their fans already had hotel rooms at the Super Bowl site that year in New Orleans.
If that wasn't enough, Davis furthered his reputation for placing hurdles over the hurdles of his coaches and players. "As soon as I got to the hotel, I opened up a newspaper, and there was a quote from Al Davis: 'Art Shell will nullify (Chargers pass specialist) Fred Dean.' '' I said, 'Whoa. As if Fred needed something else to get him going.' "
The Raiders won the AFC.
Then came the Super Bowl and more distractions. The biggest involved John Matuszak, the Raiders' defensive lineman and noted crazy man. He arrived with a hangover for one of the Super Bowl media sessions after he obliterated curfew the night before in the French Quarter.
While Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil was true to his by-the-book philosophy by saying he would have shipped Matuszak back to Oakland, Davis and Raiders coach Tom Flores said nothing.
The Raiders won the Super Bowl.
This isn't to say the Jets will do the same thing.
I'm just ... saying.