Notorious and Victorious: Like the Jets so far this season, some 'bad boys' teams have seen on-the-field success
The Jets are hoping that bad behavior and championships are not mutually exclusive — and there are plenty of historical precendents to encourage that thinking.
The drunken-driving arrest of Braylon Edwards last week only solidified the receiver’s place among a Jets roster with its share of bad apples — from paternity suit-laden cornerback Antonio Cromartie to suspended receiver Santonio Holmes.
But there was Edwards on Sunday in Miami, scoring on a 67-yard catch-and-run that helped the Jets (2-1) beat the Dolphins and secure first place in the AFC East. Here are three teams that overcame bad reps to achieve the ultimate goal.
Detroit Pistons, late 1980s
In contrast to the Showtime Lakers and the indomitable Celtics of the 1980s, the “Bad Boys” Pistons bruised their way to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990 with a snarl worthy of a Motor City engine.
Pistons enforcer Bill Laimbeer was fined about $69,000 during his career for flagrant fouls that sparked fights and retaliations. Cohorts such as forward Rick Mahorn, center James Edwards and even diminutive point guard Isiah Thomas got in on the rugged play.
The Pistons’ rule ended in a sweep at the hands of Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the 1991 Eastern Conference finals, ushering in a more graceful era.New York Mets, 1986
The Mets won 108 regular-season games and their second World Series by relying on stars with unsavory pasts (and presents).
Ace Dwight Gooden (17 wins) and Darryl Strawberry (27 home runs), who were in their early twenties in ’86, were beginning years of problems with drugs, alcohol and domestic abuse. First baseman Keith Hernandez (.310 batting average) brought his own history of admitted cocaine abuse to the Mets.
In his 2009 autobiography, “Straw,” Strawberry called the 1986 Mets clubhouse an “infamous rolling frat party” fueled by “drinking, drugs, fights, gambling, groupies.”Baltimore Ravens, 2000
What a difference a year made for All-Pro Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
A melee at a post-Super Bowl party in Atlanta in 2000 resulted in the stabbing deaths of two men and first-degree murder charges against Lewis.
That June, Lewis agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor obstruction-of-justice charge. He also weathered a $250,000 fine for conduct detrimental to the NFL. The following February, in 2001, the 25-year-old star was celebrating an MVP performance in Super Bowl XXXV after a 34-7 rout of the Giants that included four interceptions by Baltimore’s defense.