We asked ESPNNewYork.com's beat writers to rank their five top stories of 2010. Next up: Rich Cimini, who's covered the New York Jets through a year of unbelievable craziness (we'll just say right up front that certain controversies involving Rex Ryan were too outlandish to consider, and we included only stories published after the site launched on April 2). Check out Rich's picks, then vote for yours in the poll at right.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images file photoRevis was hiding in plain sight.
1. Where's Revis?
I went to Darrelle Revis' hometown, Aliquippa, Pa., with the hope of gaining an interview with the Jets' star cornerback, who was in the midst of an acrimonious holdout. I didn't find Revis, but my day in Aliquippa turned into an almost comical wild-goose chase, with odd twists and turns. His friends and former coaches, protective of Revis, wouldn't comment, but his grandmother wasn't shy about sharing her feelings.
The Jets have done a poor job of handling the Sal Alosi tripping incident, making the cover-up bigger than the actual "crime." This column explains how the Jets threw Alosi under the bus, trying to make it seem as if he acted unilaterally by ordering a sideline wall. The Jets managed to turn one dumb act into a national story, resulting in another embarrassing off-the-field incident in a season full of them.
I wanted to do a story about the big, quiet man in the middle of the Jets' defense, but this turned into something more. Pouha opened up, discussing his late father's impact on his life. His dad was on his deathbed in 2009, suffering from cancer. In his final act, he rubbed Sione's hair, his way of telling his only son that he was proud of him. To honor his father's memory, Sione has yet to cut his hair. And, oh by the way, Pouha is having his best season.
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This is the story of an unlikely friendship that began in 2000. Steve Yarnell is the Jets' director of security, a former FBI agent known to be a tough guy who doesn't smile much. Coles was a talented, but troubled player coming out of Florida State in 2000. A lot of teams didn't want to draft him. Yarnell researched Coles' background and put his reputation on the line, endorsing Coles on draft day. Coles and Yarnell were reunited this summer, when Coles re-signed with the Jets after a long, trouble-free career. Coles will be forever indebted to the man who took a chance on him.
Because of new rules, the Jets couldn't spend much money in free agency, but GM Mike Tannenbaum delivered a stunning, headline-making offseason. For this story, Tannenbaum provided a behind-the-scenes play-by-play, so to speak, on how it all came together. There's insight on how the Santonio Holmes deal came together so quickly and how the Jets wined and dined Jason Taylor, once the Jets' biggest enemy.