Friday, February 05, 2010
In 2005 under Herman Edwards Jonathan Vilma was an absolute destroyer for the New York Jets. He tackled anything that moved. He looked like a young Ray Lewis. He was an unstoppable force. He quickly became my favorite New York Jet and it wasn't even really close. I though Vilma would be a Jet for life. I thought he would be a perennial representative for the Jets in the Pro Bowl. I was wrong. All of this changed as soon as Herm went cross country to Kansas City and Eric Mangini walked in the door.
With Mangini Vilma quickly became out of place. Out was the old 4-3 system designed for speed linebackers to grab anything that moved and in was a 3-4 system designed for bigger more powerful linebackers who could shed blockers with ease. Vilma's 2006 season was a disappointment. His 2007 season opened the door for him to be traded. When Vilma went down with an injury midseason, in walked David Harris to slide directly into his spot and make Vilma no longer needed. Just months later the Jets traded Vilma to the Saints for draft picks to be determined. I obviously took the trade in stride, or not.
So while the majority of the neutral fans will be pulling for the Saints to win the Super Bowl as a lift to the city of New Orleans or because they hate Peyton Manning (Pats fans), I will be pulling for the Saints because of Jonathan Vilma, an old Jet favorite and a player that deserves a title in his career.