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Jets fans daring to dream about another win

Fans cheer for the New York Jets in

Fans cheer for the New York Jets in celebration of their 37-0 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. (Jan. 3, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

They came with faces painted, they came dressed in jerseys. They came to cheer some old heroes - and in hope they will soon be able to anoint new ones. They came to dream a dream: that more than 40 years after their one and only Super Bowl appearance, the Jets and coach Rex Ryan will make good on their promise, just as Broadway Joe Namath did all those years ago.

"It's been very nerve-racking, exciting, anxious," Lori Kassidy, 48, of Merrick said Friday when asked about the week leading up to the Jets' divisional-round playoff game this weekend in San Diego.

"We'll see what happens Sunday," she said.

A lifelong Jets fan, Kassidy said she ducked out of an upstairs office where she works as an executive assistant to attend an autograph session with two former members of the infamous 1980s "Sack Exchange" at The Jets Store. She got Mark Gastineau to sign a hat. She hoped her boss, who was out of town, would sanction her extended break.

"He's a Giants fan," she said. "He knows how I feel about the Jets. He'll understand."

Friday was a big day for Jets fans in midtown Manhattan, with a pep rally on Sixth Avenue between 50th and 51st streets. There was a stage and a band - and, of course, hundreds of cheering, boisterous Jets fans.

Three were U.S. postal workers from the Commack Post Office. Rob Spera, 28, of Ronkonkoma, said his boss, Jim Gibbons, 36, of Mastic Beach, called late Thursday night and asked if he and a co-worker, Darrin Hurst, 36, of Ronkonkoma, wanted to go to the rally. Actually, he insisted they did.

"He called and said, 'I'll give you tomorrow off if you come with us. He promised Darrin booze. We've been talking about it [the Jets and the playoffs] all season, even before baseball season ended."

The fans' excitement and expectations have really swelled since the Jets defeated the Cincinnati Bengals last week in the wild-card round.

Now, they hope to feel the same way Sunday night.

With John Valenti

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