The list is long. Far too long.

The heartbreak is unceasing, testing every fiber of a Jets fan’s soul.

The cycle keeps repeating over and over – and over – again. First there is hope, sometimes followed by the euphoria of playoff possibilities, and then, inevitably, disappointment.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Since Joe Namath last started a game for this team in 1976, a total of 34 quarterbacks have started at least once. And not one of them has been able to match what Namath did on that warm afternoon in south Florida on Jan. 12, 1969.

And now, Zach Wilson makes 35.

It’s a safe assumption you’d never heard of Wilson before he blossomed at BYU with 33 touchdown passes and three interceptions in 2020.

But now he carries your football hopes and dreams.

Like so many others before him.

Wilson’s arm talent has been compared by some draft experts to Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers – high praise indeed. The highest, in fact. He has earned the respect of the greatest BYU quarterback of all – Hall of Famer Steve Young, who has been singing Wilson’s praises for months now. And he sufficiently impressed Jets general manager Joe Douglas and head coach and first-year coach Robert Saleh at his recent pro day workout to convince them to move on from Sam Darnold.

It wasn’t all that long ago when Darnold was another in a long line of quarterbacks counted on to deliver this franchise out of its post-Namathian haze. In fact, it seemed as if the draft-day gods had smiled down on GM Mike Maccangnan in 2018, allowing him to take Darnold with the third overall pick after Cleveland selected Baker Mayfield and the Giants then eschewed a quarterback at No. 2 and took tailback Saquon Barkley instead.

Darnold, who had dazzled at USC and was thought by many to be the pre-eminent talent in that draft, showed flashes in his first year under Todd Bowles. But the instability that has beset this franchise so often before surfaced yet again, with Bowles shown the door after a 4-12 season and Maccagnan gone a year later after coach Adam Gase nudged him out and brought in Douglas.

Gase himself bottomed out in 2020, but Douglas has settled things down with some smart trades and the hiring of Saleh, one of the most accomplished head coaching prospects on the market.

And now it’s Wilson’s shot at bringing stability to a position that has seen little else but instability and inadequacy over the decades. If he can progress the way the Jets hope, and if Douglas surrounds him with the kind of talent that can make this a more reliable team, then there is certainly a chance. Wilson’s talent and intangibles are off the charts, and his ceiling is high.

But as so many others have found out before him, figuring things out will not be easy or swift.

The pressure will be intense, and Wilson knows it. New York is like no place else when it comes to expectations. But perhaps some words of wisdom imparted by one of the 34 other quarterbacks after Namath who tried and failed will smooth the transition for the rookie.

Josh McCown has already helped Wilson prepare for his next journey.

"He was talking about how amazing of a situation this is," said Wilson, who hails from Draper, Utah, a city of less than 50,000. "(McCown) came from a small town in Texas, and he never wanted to go to the big city, and when he got there to New York, he loved it, he loved the culture, the atmosphere, the coaches. He felt that the team was right there. It made it comforting to know I’m going to a great situation."

Can Wilson be better than the ones who came before?

"I’ve got confidence in myself, but I've got confidence in the ownership and all the way down through these new coaches and players," Wilson said. "I'm excited to get in there and try and figure out what we can do to get better."

Now it’s Wilson’s turn and his time.

Best of luck.

He’ll need it.

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