AFC East: Rich Kotite

Pete Carroll doesn't have fond memories of his time with the New York Jets, and that's understandable. He went 6-10 in his only season as the head coach and was unceremoniously fired, replaced by Rich Kotite.

Now Carroll returns to New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII, coaching the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. On Monday, he was asked if it's a "full-circle" moment for him.

"I think my first time in New York as a head coach was kind of in the middle of the circle somewhere or maybe it wasn’t even a circle, it might have been some other shape," Carroll joked. “It was kind of a hairy time."

Carroll's abrupt firing, and the infamous Dan Marino fake spike play that triggered the late-season collapse, overshadowed some good work as the Jets' defensive coordinator. From 1990 to 1993, the Jets ranked 23rd, 12th, 16th and eighth in total defense, respectively. They were even better in points allowed, finishing 17th, 10th, 18th and sixth.

Carroll demonstrated promise as a coach and then things got ... well, hairy, when owner Leon Hess decided he absolutely had to hire Kotite. The Jets went from hairy to scary.

Biggest letdown seasons of past 25 years

May, 17, 2011
Sean McCormick of Football Outsiders studied the past 25 years to come up with a list of the NFL's 10 most disappointing teams for ESPN Insider.

Two AFC East clubs and a Bill Belichick team made the cut.

The 1995 Cleveland Browns were 10th. Belichick took Cleveland to the playoffs the year before and got off to a 3-1 start before owner Art Modell's shocking decision to move the team to Baltimore. Cleveland meekly limped to a 5-11 exit.

Ninth were the 1996 New York Jets. They'd gone an unpromising 3-13 the year before, but McCormick rattles off a list of expensive veteran acquisitions that were supposed to turn around Rick Kotite's squad: quarterback Neil O'Donnell, left tackle Jumbo Elliott and right tackle David Williams. The Jets also drafted receiver Keyshawn Johnson first overall. They went 1-15.

The 1995 Miami Dolphins came in fifth. That was Don Shula's swan song. They'd gone 10-6 the previous season, winning the AFC East with a healthy Dan Marino. They added tight end Eric Green, defensive end Trace Armstrong and cornerback Terrell Buckley. They got off to a 4-0 start but fizzled as a wild-card playoff team and a quick exit.