Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985. His SportsWatch column debuted in 2005.
SNY's postgame panel wasted no time leaping into action late Thanksgiving night, raining a torrent of criticism on the Jets moments after their 49-19 loss to the Patriots.
Among the descriptions: "an unmitigated disaster," "a debacle," "an embarrassment of incredible proportions," "a disgrace," "a nauseating feeling" and "amateur hour."
Former Jet Kris Jenkins weighed in with a particularly memorable shot:
"You know who my players of the game are? The defensive wives of the Jets, because after their men lose their pride, they have to go out there and hug them and console them and act like they still love them."
In fairness, during seven years of postgames, SNY has been equally enthusiastic about praising the Jets when they have earned it. But in dark times such as these, the show has become a popular group therapy session for depressed fans.
It is one thing to vent on the Internet or among family and friends. It is another to turn the channel after the game and hear former Jets such as Jenkins, Ray Lucas and Joe Klecko say, in essence, "We share your pain."
"I think it's very therapeutic for the quote-unquote long-suffering Jets fan," said Adam Schein, who along with host Brian Custer and Lucas has been on the show since its inception in 2006. Klecko usually is the fourth man on set, with Jenkins an occasional fill-in.
The group is known for its passion, no one more so than Lucas, the emotional fulcrum of the show.
"I don't want to assassinate anybody's character," he said. "But if you play bad, I'm going to say you played bad. I am a Jets fan. When they lose, I do get upset a little bit."
Said Custer: "One thing you can say about Ray is he loves football, and he hates bad football. There's no filter with Ray. I think people who are passionate about their team, it resonates with them."
Every other New York-area pro franchise has a postgame show that appears on a team-owned channel or on the channel that carries the team's games, or that is produced by the team itself.
SNY and the Jets merely have a programming and marketing partnership. Curt Gowdy Jr., SNY's executive producer, said the Jets knew going in that the network planned to pull no punches.
"I think the Jets understand what our network represents and how we produce our programming," he said. "There is a trust factor between us."
The appeal of the show, which is produced by Chris Farina, goes beyond critiques of the Jets. It carries Rex Ryan's and Mark Sanchez's interviews in their entirety, supplemented with interviews by reporter Jeané Coakley.
Such is their rising profile that most of the crew is to appear in studio with WFAN's Mike Francesa on Tuesday.
"I think in a lot of ways, positive, negative, you represent Jets fans," Schein said. "You want them to win. You want them to be in contention for the Super Bowl. But whether it's a laugher or an embarrassment like Thursday [Thanksgiving], when fans are frustrated, I think it's our job to basically be a replica for the fans."
Jenkins said his favorite thing about playing in New York was the intensity of fans, and he feels responsible to them when it comes time to talk turkey. "They want to hear the truth, in my opinion," he said. "They don't want things sugarcoated."
So he gave it to them straight on Thanksgiving. "I'm tired of seeing the Jets be terrible like this," he said, summing up. "Can we get some real football?"