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Saw this on Deadspin.com with their usual snarky comments, but after reading it, it's really more of a touching, sweet story: J-E-T-S are a hit on Sesame Street - New York Times

For those without an NYTimes.com login:

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., Dec. 18 ? Two days after he looked hopelessly out of sync in a loss to the Buffalo Bills, Chad Pennington found his groove on a soundstage in Queens.

Dancing with his 2-year-old son, Cole, during a taping last Tuesday of an ?Elmo?s World? segment of ?Sesame Street,? Pennington, the Jets? quarterback, felt disembodied from his serious, studious self. It was as if, like Elmo himself, Pennington?s arms and legs were being operated by somebody else.

Eric Mangini, the Jets? coach, and his 2-year-old son, Jake, shared the stage with Pennington. Joining them were receiver Laveranues Coles and punter Ben Graham and his two daughters. For a few hours they enjoyed a few laughs and a connection that did not fade to black when the cameras stopped rolling.

?I can?t thank Eric enough to have something set up like that,? Pennington said. ?It was really neat.?

The taping, which was set up more than a week in advance, was an offshoot of the Jets? surprising success. Mangini?s profile is rising with every rung his 8-6 team climbs in the American Football Conference standings, creating opportunities to connect with audiences outside of football.

There are not many show-biz types that could lure Mangini, a football fanatic, away from the Jets? practice facility. Elmo was on the short list. ?Because it?s Jake?s favorite show and we watch it together,? he said.

At the time it seemed like a precious off-day diversion, but after the Jets? 31-13 loss to the Bills it loomed as a potential distraction. Pennington?s competitive instinct was to call an audible and pass on the taping.

?You normally want to do something like that after a win,? said Pennington, whose 3 turnovers and 182 yards passing against the Bills engendered a blitz of criticism.

In the end, his conscientiousness about honoring commitments prevailed. ?We had planned it so I couldn?t get out of it even though I was actually wanting to after we lost,? Pennington said. ?I?m really glad that I didn?t.?

Their trek to Elmo?s imaginary crayon-colored world took the edge off the black-and-white, win-or-else urgency that Pennington, in particular, faced in Sunday?s game at Minnesota. It is hard not to have a light heart when you are throwing the football long to a furry red monster with a bright orange nose.

?It was actually pretty good medicine for me to go out there and just take my mind off of football for a little bit,? Pennington said.

Every week Pennington is put under the microscope. Whatever he does on the field, good or bad, is magnified. He professes not to care how he is perceived by the general public. But in explaining the lure of Elmo?s world, he sounded a bit like a puppet on a string himself inasmuch as his moods can be controlled by the public.

?Especially with all the chaos going on last week, it worked out good,? he said.

Like the others, Pennington made up the work he missed on his so-called day off by coming in early the other days and staying late. On Sunday he did not appear to skip a beat, passing for 339 yards and a touchdown, to Coles, to lead the Jets to a 26-13 victory against the Vikings.

It was a performance that might have had Elmo asking his friend, Dorothy the goldfish, ?Guess what Elmo?s thinking about today??

The answer, of course: the playoffs.

The Jets were invited on the show to teach Elmo football fundamentals, but they ended up learning about one another.

?It was good for me to have an opportunity to see Coach in a different light,? Coles said. ?To see him interact with his kids and stuff, it?s exciting. I get to see another part of him.?

Coles is the person his teammates seek out when they need a laugh. He kept the mood from becoming oppressive during training camp by poking fun at Mangini, a micromanager who waddles when he walks, assigning him the villainous nickname the Penguin.

But like the other Jets, it took him a while to loosen up in front of Elmo. They were all a little nervous starting out, so Mangini turned to Coles off camera.

?You need to lighten up the mood,? he said, to which Coles replied, ?I?ll try, but it?s hard with you here.?

That broke the ice. Everybody loosened up after that. ?It was just a fantastic experience,? Graham said, adding, ?It was a long day but it was worth it.?

The segment with the Jets is scheduled to run in August.

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I read somewhere that one time Sesame Street's "Closing Sponsors" was brought to you by the letters "F" and "U" and by the number "2". I'm guessing someone in the editing department didn't like his job.

How that ever got past the higher-ups on the show I'll never know. I guess they figured kids wouldn't get it.

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I read somewhere that one time Sesame Street's "Closing Sponsors" was brought to you by the letters "F" and "U" and by the number "2".

Not true. The comment was lifted from a WB exec's wisecrack at a press conference. He was attempting to poke fun at the FCC in the wake of their post-wardrobe malfunction regulatory tizzy and someone took it out of context. Imagine that.

Back on topic, it'll be interesting to see whether the little red guy becomes the Jets' rally monkey.

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