Jets-Patiots: A Rivalry Explained

Donny Mahoney
By Donny Mahoney
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Ancient history- Throughout the early years of the AFL, and then the NFL, the Jets (formerly the New York Titans) and the Patriots (formerly the Boston Patriots) were average to shit. The Jets pulled off one of the flukiest Super Bowl wins in 1969 but that was generally the exception that proves the rule that the Jets are crap. Most of their good seasons have been marred by terrible, stomach punch defeats. The Pats were pretty mediocre for twenty-five years, with high points being two Superbowl losses, one to the Bears in the mid-80s, one to the Packers in the mid-90s.

The Belichick Years: The first reals shots of the rivalry were fired when Bill Belichick was hired by the Jets after his mentor Bill Parcells resigned as head of the NY team. One day later, Belichick resigned and weeks later became coach of the Patriots. This decision has always stung Jets fans. What might have been, they always wonder. In the intervening years, Belichick built a dynasty with Tom Brady and won 3 Super Bowls and the Jets have continued to be has-been’s and pretenders to the throne.


Spygate: To steal a bit of the Patriots thunder, the Jets hired Patriots defensive coach Eric Mangini as their head coach in 2006. The teams played on the first game of the season, and a Patriots assistant was found videotaping Jets signal-calling. Belichick was fined $500,000, the largest fine in NFL history. The Patriots went on a destructive run afterwards, winning all of their games that season (until their famous Super Bowl loss to the other New York football team), but the affair cast a very long shadow over their unheralded success during the era of parity.

This season: Since losing that Super Bowl, the Patriots went into decline. The Jets hired foot fetishist Rex Ryan and drafted quarterback Matt Sanchez and have fully embraced the villain role. 2010 has been good for New England. They’re the best team in the league. They’ve revamped their philosophy, dumping Randy Moss for blue collar players like Danny Woodhead. Tom Brady had got his gameface back. The Jets won the first meeting of the teams early this season, but the Patriots destroyed the Jets 45-3 last month.


The score won’t be as one-sided this Sunday, but it’s hard to see past the Pats. Here's how the geeks see it going.

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