The decade we leave behind has been a professional sports referendum on more incredulous ineptitude and incompetence than we deserve:
One New York Giants championship and mostly a revolving door of head coaches and general managers and fan disillusionment and disenchantment in every precinct.
Winters of our discontent bleed into little or no hope that springs eternal and Boys of Summer who inevitably become fall guys. Even the Yankees failed to raise that 28th championship flag.
And we witnessed one event, one play, one date that will live in sports infamy, especially in this town, that will forever remain the butt of jokes everywhere…
Did someone say BUTT?
Ah yes, the Buttfumble, our biggest debacle of the decade.
The mere mention of it makes Jets fans either recoil in horror or double over with laughter. Or both.
The Buttfumble: Jets quarterback runs into offensive lineman’s butt, drops to ground as if sucker-punched by Mike Tyson. Or by IK Enemkpali. Patriots defender picks up fumble and runs it in for a touchdown.
Jets play-by-play man Bob Wischusen was in the radio booth on Nov. 22, 2012 — Thanksgiving night against the Patriots — when Mark Sanchez and an unsuspecting Brandon Moore combined on a blooper that belongs front and center on a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! exhibit.
So much had already gone wrong when Steve Gregory took the Buttfumble into the end zone to make it 21-0, on the way to 49-19. Wischusen’s immediate reaction was one that echoed through bars and living rooms across the country and in the MetLife Stadium stands and sidelines:
“I think I capped the call with ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!” Wischusen said. “And I’m really not sure that there was anything else to say. It was just this overall feeling of like what else could go wrong?”
Dustin Keller was the Jets tight end that night. Always one of the good guys. He groans at the mere mention of the Buttfumble.
“I never would have thought that this thing would still be alive and that it truly would have been a thing for years and years to come,” Keller told The Post from Austin, Texas.
His reaction when he sees it on TV?
“I change the channel,” he said. “And just don’t even talk about it.”
Asked why that one play is so painful for him to watch for him, Keller said: “When you think about it, it was kind of a wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time thing, and more than anything, that so much was made of it, that for that to be any type of legacy for any team or whatever, is pretty incredible. It goes to show you the power of TV and social media … that how did that become a thing? That somebody brings up the Buttfumble and millions of people know exactly what you’re talking about.”
It began as a busted handoff to fullback Lex Hilliard.
“And next thing you know, somebody else has the ball, and I’m chasing them the other way,” Keller said.
“I wasn’t fast enough.”
Mike Westhoff was Rex Ryan’s special teams coach that night.
“It was right in tune with getting our ass kicked the rest of the day,” Westhoff said by phone.
Westhoff is also incredulous that the Buttfumble has made such a notorious footprint in the NFL landscape.
“I’ve seen it on film 100,000 times,” Westhoff said. “They show it more than ‘Gone With The Wind.’ It’s ridiculous.”
Mike Reiss is ESPN.com’s Patriots reporter.
“It’s Thanksgiving night, one of Bill Belichick’s favorite holidays — because he loves food, he loves football and he loves family — and as I watched that play unfold, I said, ‘He probably loves a fourth thing right now just in that same realm,’ ” Reiss said, “and that’s not just beating the Jets, but having the Jets embarrass themselves. And then the other part of me just remembers thinking to myself, what a comedy of errors for this franchise that had just a couple of years ago actually beaten the Patriots in the playoffs, and how it looked so different from just a couple of years ago.”
BUTT UGLY was The Post’s backpage headline.
“It was just like any other turnover on the field,” Keller said. “It wasn’t the Buttfumble right after the play, that’s not what it was. The next day — that’s when it was the Buttfumble.”
Sanchez is now an ESPN college football analyst. Wischusen credits him with being a standup guy postgame during the difficult times following the Jets’ back-to-back AFC Championship appearances in 2010 and ’11.
“I’m going straight to the quarterback’s locker,” Wischusen recalled, “and he never shirked that responsibility.”
Sanchez, who unlike Moore has been able to laugh about the Buttfumble from time to time, politely declined comment.
“I talk to him from time to time,” Keller said, “but I promise you it’s not about that.”