New York Jets Coach Bill Parcells wanted the defending AFC East champions to start from scratch this season. Now he's got his wish.
Quarterback Vinny Testaverde ruptured his Achilles' tendon in the New England Patriots' 30-28 comeback victory over the Jets today. He will miss the rest of the season.
And, just like that, the Jets no longer look like Super Bowl contenders and will have to drastically reshape their offense after only one game.
"What? I'm going to put up the white flag? No, I'm not going to do that," said Parcells, who also lost running back Leon Johnson for the year with torn ligaments in his left knee. "You know what? Nobody cares. . . . We just have to try and adjust and go forward."
Chris Slade intercepted a pass from Jets backup Rick Mirer to set up Adam Vinatieri's 23-yard, game-winning field goal with three seconds left. Drew Bledsoe completed 21 of 30 passes for 340 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown pass to Tony Simmons.
The Patriots got their first win in four attempts against their former coach, who left on bad terms after leading them to the 1997 Super Bowl. Two seasons later, Parcells had the Jets in the AFC title game; even more was expected of them this year.
But Parcells said in training camp that he wanted the Jets' motto to be "Starting Over," because he feared his team would be complacent after last season's success.
There's no danger of that happening now.
Testaverde fell to the turf untouched after making a quick cut to the ball when Curtis Martin fumbled in the second quarter. The 35-year-old quarterback immediately grabbed his left leg and writhed in pain.
He limped off the field, using one leg and two teammates for support before he stopped and had to be carried off. He was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and was to stay overnight and undergo surgery. The Jets announced he will miss the rest of the season--a sudden, stunning blow to a team considered poised for a championship run.