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Sam Darnold: I always envisioned making a Super Bowl run with the Jets

Sam Darnold had plans to make it to the Super Bowl when he entered the NFL, but his first visit to the game came under different circumstances than he imagined at the time.

The Jets made Darnold the third-overall pick of the 2018 draft and the hope was that he'd break their long run of futility and get them back to the Super Bowl for the first time since Joe Namath was under center. Darnold wasn't able to break the cycle, however, and he was shuffled off to the Panthers after three years and then joined the 49ers as a backup in 2023.

On Monday night, Darnold said that this wasn't how he pictured his first playoff and Super Bowl experience but that he's still learned a lot about what is needed to make it to this point in the season.

"I always envisioned going deep in the playoffs with New York and being able to make a run at the Super Bowl," Darnold said, via Brian Costello of the New York Post. "Obviously, that’s what you dream of as a kid. Right when I got drafted by the Jets, and still to this day it’s my goal to be able to bring a championship somewhere. At the same time, you kind of understand what it takes, even in the backup role like I am right now you understand what it takes to actually make it here and actually get it done and not just dream of it and envision it. It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice."

Given the way his career has played out over his first six seasons, Darnold is fighting an uphill battle when it comes to being the guy leading a team with title aspirations but he may still be able to call himself a Super Bowl champion before the week is out.