If the Jets lose to the Patriots on Monday night, then Tuesday afternoon will have a weird feeling… and sound. For 25 years, the soundtrack for the day after the Jets defeat was Joe Benigno screaming about the team and what the latest coach and defender did wrong.
Benigno has been the voice of Jets fans whether it’s overnight, at 10am or recently, at 2pm on WFAN. Friday is Benigno’s final show with partner Evan Roberts before he retires and heads to golf. Jet attack radio host is not uncommon. The group offers a lot of food for the talk-show hosts. But Benigno is different. He’s a Jets fan you know at work. The one who always waits for the other shoe to fall. The person convinces that they hire the wrong coach, draft the wrong player or call the game wrong (and he is usually right).
While Benigno̵7;s response to the Jets’ dire losses and dysfunction generally will be what is most remembered, Benigno can also sometimes be frantically optimistic. That’s what makes him the perfect representative for Jets fans. How many times the team beat you, you keep coming back and believing. After a few good wins, Benigno would be drawn in and then his hopes were dashed again by the team he loved to remind everyone the last time to win the Super Bowl when he was 15.
I’ve been delighted to appear on “Joe and Evan” quite often for the past seven or eight years. At times, I feel like I need to wear an armor to protect myself. He kicked me flying and scolded me (recently about Adam Gase). It’s always been an adventure and you never know what could make Benigno fail. But his voice is always honest. This is not an action when Benigno talks about Jets, Mets, Knicks or Rangers. He lives and dies with his team as many fans do. That’s what made his New York success story.
As Benigno would say, all love, man. We’ll miss you, Joe.
The jet’s losses wouldn’t have been that way without Benigno around to scream about them the next day.
Oh the pain.