It’s been five seasons since the Jets have made a playoff appearance, but older New York fans know this kind of drought hasn’t always been the norm. The Jets have as proud a history as any franchise, and (for better or worse) are one of the most exciting and fun teams to watch every season. Regularly undervalued by bookies, they are also one of the most fun teams to wager on.
Below are five of the best New York Jets games of all-time (chronologically) that had J-E-T-S fans and bettors alike on the edge of their seats.
December 29, 1968: Jets 27, Raiders 23
In November 1968, the Raiders staged a dramatic fourth quarter comeback to beat the Jets in the infamous Heidi Bowl. What many NFL fans (outside New York and Oakland) forget is that the Jets exacted revenge against the Raiders just six weeks later in equally dramatic fashion.
Down 23-20 in the fourth quarter of the AFL Championship Game, Joe Namath heaved a pass downfield to Don Maynard, who caught the ball over his shoulder before being downed at Oakland’s 6-yard line. On the next play the dynamic duo would pair up again, this time scoring off a play-action to give the Jets a 27-23 lead and eventually their first and only Super Bowl berth.
January 12, 1969: Jets 16, Colts 7
The Guarantee. Even though the Jets have only been to one Super Bowl, their one appearance (and win) has arguably had a greater impact on the NFL than any other. Just three years removed from the AFL-NFL merger, the underdog Jets faced off against the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts. Back then, AFL teams were seen as inferior to their NFL counterparts, one of the big reasons Joe Namath was laughed at when he guaranteed a NY victory three days before Super Bowl III.
From the kickoff, New York looked to make good on that promise. The Jets controlled most of the game and kept the Colts from scoring until late in the fourth quarter. The great guarantor, Namath, was named MVP in the game that ushered in a new era of competition in professional football.
October 23, 2000: Jets 40, Dolphins 37 (OT)
“With a whole quarter to go, this game is over,” announced Jets broadcaster Howard David when the Jets went into the final quarter of a MNF game against Miami down 30-7. But with 5:43 to go, New York managed to cut the score to seven thanks to two Testaverde touchdown passes and a John Hall field goal.
Less than two minutes later, the Jets would score their 23rd unanswered point to level the game at 30. On the first play of the next series, Miami would go up again by seven. That didn’t bother Vinny, who again drove the Jets down the field to tie the game, 37-37. Even though sports betting has been around for many years, bettors were surprised at what happened next. In overtime, Hall hit a 40-yard field goal to cap what is now known as the Monday Night Miracle and the largest comeback in franchise history.
January 8, 2005: Jets 20, Chargers 17 (OT)
After losing their last two regular season games, the 2004-05 Jets backed their way into the playoffs, but made the most of the opportunity once they were there. Despite the long trip to San Diego to face the favored Chargers, the Jets held a 17-7 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Drew Brees and the Chargers would rally back though, tying the game with 11 seconds left in regulation. In OT, San Diego overturned the ball when their game-winning field goal attempt sailed wide. Two clutch Pennington passes and a 19-yard run from LaMont Jordan later, Doug Brien would step up to kick the winning field goal with just five seconds left on the clock.
January 8, 2011: Jets 17, Colts 16
The Jets gave the Colts’ Peyton Manning a taste of his own late-drive medicine in the 2011 Wild Card Playoffs. Nursing a 14-10 lead with 10 minutes left, New York looked like they were in a good position to avenge the previous season’s loss to Indy in the AFC title game. But Adam Vinatieri made two clutch field goals, including a 50-yarder, to make it appear as if the Colts were going to do this all over again with a minute to go.
However Antonio Cromartie wasn’t having it, and returned the ensuing kickoff for 47 yards. Short Mark Sanchez passes chipped away at the field, and Braylon Edwards caught a leaping pass in-bounds near the Colts’ fourteen. The Jets let the clock run down to three seconds before calling timeout, setting the stage for Nick Folk to hit the game-winning 32-yarder in front of a Peyton Manning wearing a Colts uniform for the very last time.
Photo Credit: Newsday // New York Daily News