You never want the compound adjective “long-suffering” to precede your name.
It most often refers to sports fans who faithfully cheer on their teams year after year after year, only to see them come up empty by season’s end.
Teams that always finish at the bottom of the standings are bad enough. Worse are teams that tease you, that make you think, “Ah, this is the year!”
These are the teams that make some good trades, make some good draft picks, even make the playoffs — only to make you cry by getting blown out in the first round.
“Long-suffering” was attached to “Chicago Cubs fans” for so long, you thought it was all one word.
They actually thought they were cursed. Yet the fans stayed loyal, and finally found glory with a World Series title in 2016.
The Boston Red Sox fans suffered long — until winning a title in 2004. Today they are on top of the world.
A true sports fan will never give up. Just keep on saying, “Wait’ll next year!”
We New York Jets fans have been saddled with that “long-suffering” appellation for decades now, for so long that Facebook even features a “Long-Suffering Jets Fans” page.
Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the Jets’ stunning 16-7 upset win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
I was 11, and still remember my hero, the quarterback, Broadway Joe Namath, jogging off the field in slo-mo, his right hand held high, signaling “No. 1.”
My dad and I took 180-degree opposite positions on that game. I loved Namath’s flamboyance, his long hair, his white shoes, his (in those days) unheard of boastfulness in guaranteeing victory.
My old-school dad loathed showboating. He favored the crew-cut coiffed Earl Morrall, the aged Baltimore Colts quarterback.
This was before the merger of the National Football League and the American Football League. The Jets, the AFL champs, were the upstarts, the anti-establishment team.
The Vegas oddsmakers, some rather shrewd fellows, favored the Colts by 18. Dad looked forward to Joe Namath getting his posterior kicked — exactly as all the pundits predicted.
Except it didn’t go that way. Many people in the years since have said that if the two teams played 10 games, the Colts would have crushed the Jets in nine of them.
But on that day — on Jan. 12, 1969 — the Jets were the better team. Other than the hugeness of the upset and the way it placed the AFL on equal footing with the NFL, it was not an especially exciting game.
Unlike the 44-34 shootout won by the Jets over the Colts in a regular season game three years later, there wasn’t that much action in Super Bowl III.
But the Jets won; all that mattered to this 11-year-old. Little did I or any Jet fan realize, though, that we would have to wait at least 51 years to see a repeat.
There have been good Jets teams and miserable Jets teams, but none has made it back to the Super Bowl.
Now, suddenly, 50 years have passed. The irony is these days, I would side with my dad. I loathe showboating in sports and would not like someone as cocky as Joe Namath if he came along now.
As with most things, Dad was right.
William P. Warford’s column appears every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.