New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins: Unforgettable Games in Rivalry History
The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins have been at each other's throats for almost five decades. This heated rivalry has now spanned 95 games, and has seen the likes of historical comebacks, trash talk throw-downs, and full-blown brawls.
It started in 1966 when an upstart franchise hosted Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath and the Jets at the Miami Orange Bowl in an American Football League showdown.
The Dolphins would commence a treacherous climb to overtake their soon-to-be sworn rival. The Jets would win the first eight contests between the two franchises, while also claiming the Super Bowl III title.
But the tides started to turn after the AFL-NFL merger took place.
The Dolphins would mount the NFL's only perfect season (14-0) en route to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1972 and '73 while the Jets sputtered out of control as Namath combated countless injuries.
The Jets lead the all-time series 49-45-1, although the Dolphins have sustained more success through winning more divisional championships and reaching more Super Bowls.
This is a video breakdown of ten memorable games in the 46-year history of the Jets-Dolphins rivalry:
10. Oronde Gadsden's One-Handed Catch
The Dolphins stomped the Jets 30-3 in Week 3 of the 2002 season to end an eight game losing streak to New York and silence those who had called Miami's four-season drought a "jinx."
Journeyman receiver Oronde Gadsden had made himself famous with a pair of stellar one-handed grabs in the playoffs against the Oakland Raiders in 2001.
Gadsden resurrected his fame with the ridiculous over-the-middle catch shown above. Quarterback Jay Fielder had overthrown Gadsden, leading the receiver too far over the middle.
It looked as though strong safety Nick Ferguson was going to field an interception in his bread basket, totally altering the complexion of the game by forcing a shift in momentum.
The Dolphins failed to score at the end of the first half following Gadsden's majesty, though.
But Miami would score 17 points in the fourth quarter behind the brute strength of Ricky Williams, who pounded the Jets for 151 yards on 24 carries to aid the Dolphins in a romping win.
9. Santonio Holmes' Meltdown
New York entered Week 17 of the 2011 season with a bleak chance to sneak into the playoffs with some serious help from other contenders. On the flip side, Miami was 5-10 and had nothing but pride to play for.
Enter the soap opera known as the Jets.
Offensive tackle Wayne Hunter blasted disgruntled receiver Santonio Holmes midgame because of his lame duck attitude, claiming Holmes had quit on the team.
Head coach Rex Ryan benched Holmes in the second half in favor of Patrick Turner, who was next to last on the depth chart at his respective position.
Holmes watched in anguish on the sideline as Mark Sanchez delivered three interceptions to seal the Jets' flight into total abyss.
The Dolphins took advantage of the Jets' plummet into irrelevancy and finished the season on a high note.
An internal controversy lasting into the offseason ensued for the Jets, who dropped their final three regular season games in the midst of a team-oriented debacle.
Miami dismantled the Jets, winning the battle in the trenches on both sides of the football, while forcing New York to wear their emotions on their sleeves.
8. Ted Ginn Jr. Records Two Kickoffs for Touchdowns
Ted Ginn Jr. was benched in favor of rookie Brian Hartline before Week 8 of the 2009 season.
He felt damaged, but was not broken as he responded by becoming the first player in the astounding history of the NFL to record two kickoff returns for touchdowns of 100-yards or more on November 1, 2009.
Ginn Jr. totaled 201 return yards on the day as the Dolphins beat the Jets 30-25 to complete their first season sweep against New York since 2003.
Miami racked up 299 total return yards, accumulating just 104 yards on offense. The Jets were defeated despite recording 378 yards of total offense and controlling the time of possession.
But the Dolphins were relentless on special teams, enabling embattled quarterback Chad Henne to control the pace of the game on offense.
The Jets wasted a solid performance from Mark Sanchez, who threw two touchdown passes and also ran for a score.
Ginn Jr. entered the game with a chip on his shoulder, angered from the idea of riding the bench. He blistered the Jets for two touchdowns, despite not catching a pass and seeing limited time on offense.
7. Chad Pennington Gets Revenge
Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington rallied his new team to beat the Jets at the Meadowlands in the final week of the 2008 season. Pennington outplayed future hall-of-famer Brett Favre, who threw three devastating interceptions in defeat.
Favre had replaced Pennington as the Jets’ starting quarterback via trade before the start of the ’08 season. Jets’ front office personnel had concluded that multiple shoulder surgeries couldn’t fix the witty play-caller. Pennington was chalked up as “finished.” It was assumed he didn’t have the arm strength necessary to succeed in the NFL.
Pennington continuously proved doubters wrong.
Miami clinched their first divisional crown since 2000, completing an epic turnaround to finish 11-5. The Dolphins recorded just one win the season prior.
6. Trip Gate: Sal Alosi Trips Dolphins' Nolan Carroll
This famous sideline tripping incident encompasses the hatred that the Jets and Dolphins share for each other, but also highlights perhaps the most embarrassing coaching blunder in the history of the NFL.
Strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi purposely tripped Dolphins' defensive back Nolan Carroll on December 12, 2010. It was a deliberate maneuver performed by a member of a professional coaching staff in which the goal was to legitimately sabotage an opposing player.
Miami defeated the Jets 10-6, but Monday's headlines focused on Alosi's brain-dead attempt to upend the opponent.
Alosi was consequentially fined $25,000 the day following the incident and was officially relieved of his duties after performing a public apology, where he admitted to intentionally tripping Carroll.
The incident became well known as "Trip Gate" and altered the media perception of Head Coach Rex Ryan and his coaching staff as an entity.
Alosi ultimately granted Dolphins' fans the opportunity to legitimize their intense hatred towards the Jets as Gang Green became dubbed a "dirty" team.
5. Marino's Fake Spike Stuns Jets
The Jets entered the fourth quarter with a ten-point edge over the Dolphins at the Meadowlands with first place in the division at stake in Week 13 of the 1994 season.
New York was seemingly clicking on all cylinders, racking up over 440 yards of total offense while efficiently sustaining drives long enough to keep the ball out of Dan Marino's hands.
But the Jets faltered after building a 24-6 lead in the second half. Boomer Esiason tossed two interceptions to virtually nullify his pair of touchdown passes, giving Marino and Co. a serious opportunity to mount a comeback.
The game intensified when Marino delivered a strike to receiver Mark Ingram for a 28-yard touchdown to cut the Jets' lead to three. It was Ingram's third TD reception of the day and it wouldn't be his last.
The Jets handed the ball over to Marino with too much time left on the clock and the Dolphins marched downfield.
As the final seconds began to click off the clock and the Dolphins at the Jets' five-yard line, Marino motioned that he was going to spike the ball to stop the clock.
What happened next was unforgettable. Marino faked the spike and darted a pass to Ingram in the front corner of the end zone.
Touchdown. Game over.
Marino completed 31-of-44 passes for 359 yards in mounting his 29th career comeback win to keep the Dolphins atop the AFC East.
4. The Revenge Game: Jets Defeat the Dolphins in OT
Week 3 in the 1986 season planted Miami in the Meadowlands to clash with their heated rival in what would become one of the greatest games ever played between the Dolphins and Jets.
The two teams combined to score 96 points on 1,066 yards of total offense in an old school shootout.
Dan Marino and Ken O'Brien combined to deliver an epic display of offensive fortitude, establishing a NFL record that still stands today, while compounding a whopping 884 yards through the air.
Both teams exploited the opposition in the second quarter. Marino tossed two touchdown passes to briefly give Miami the edge, but the Jets stormed back. O'Brien connected with Wesley Walker twice to close the half. New York slashed Miami for 28 points in that quarter to take a 31-21 lead.
The Dolphins roared out of the locker room to shut down the Jets' soaring offense and put up 17 unanswered points. Marino logged a 46-yard touchdown pass to Mark Duper, his second TD catch of the game.
The Jets had relinquished their lead, but they weren't done scoring yet.
Miami retained a 45-38 advantage with 1:04 left on the clock, but the Jets had possession, marching downfield to get within striking distance.
Mickey Shular caught an O'Brien pass in bounds with 18 seconds remaining. The Jets had no timeouts left.
O'Brien wasted one out-of-bounds to stop the clock at five ticks. Then, he threw a laser beam over the middle to Walker in front of the endzone.
Touchdown. Game tied.
There would be no stopping the Jets after that.
O'Brien connected with Walker on a 43-yard streak pattern to put the Dolphins to bed in overtime. Marino never even had his chance as the Jets beat Miami 51-45.
3. Dolphins Demolish Jets as Namath Throws 6 Picks
The Dolphins were molded into a football powerhouse under the leadership of head coach Don Shula in the 1970s. Miami had become superior to New York as they put it on display in Week 5 of the 1975 season, pummeling the Jets 43-0.
The Dolphins’ rebuilt defense confused Joe Namath into committing the worst performance of his professional career. Namath threw a career-high six interceptions en route to a monstrous defeat.
Namath was sacked four times and nearly threw as many "completions" to Dolphins' defense backs as he did to Jets' receivers. He connected on eight passes with Jets' receivers on 24 attempts for 96 yards in a truly embarrassing effort against his most hated rival.
Broadway Joe was suffering the worst season of his pro football career, tossing a league-worst 28 interceptions while completing less than 50 percent of his pass attempts.
The Dolphins demolished the Jets on the ground by persistently pounding the ball between the tackles. Miami racked up 264 rushing yards on 51 carries, good enough for 5.2 yards per attempt.
The Jets never had a chance.
It was the most lopsided game ever played between the Dolphins and Jets and also signified legitimate "ownership" in the rivalry.
2. Monday Night Miracle: Jets Complete Historic Comeback
The Dolphins ventured to Giants Stadium in a showdown with the Jets on October 23, 2000. Miami entered the contest undefeated (5-0) and had their sights on seizing control of the AFC East.
It seemed like the outcome would never be in doubt.
The Dolphins dominated the Jets through three quarters, winning all three phases of the game while building an astounding 30-7 lead on the road against a one-loss New York team. Jets' fans started to head for the stadium exits, freeing themselves of cold air and bitter remorse.
Enter Vinny and the Jets.
Vinny Testaverde ignited a dormant Jets offense with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles to cut Miami's lead to 30-13 in the fourth quarter, and they would never let up.
Testaverde would then connect with Jermaine Wiggins to make the score 30-20 four minutes later. John Hall would tack on three more points for the Jets just minutes after that to bring the team within one touchdown of Miami.
Jets' fans began to reenter the stadium as havoc ensued.
Wayne Chrebet piled his way into the end zone for another Jets' touchdown with just 3:55 left in regulation.
But the Dolphins would answer, blasting the Jets' defense in blown coverage for a 46-yard TD.
Vinny and the Jets rebounded from there, cruising down-field with under a minute left in the fourth quarter and first place in the balance.
What happened next was entirely unpredictable.
Testaverade found Jumbo Elliott wide open in the end zone on fourth-and-one from the Dolphins' four-yard line.
Elliott bobbled the ball while falling to the turf before corralling it for game-tying touchdown. It was the first touchdown of Elliott's career and it tied the game at 37.
There would be no denying the Jets after one of the most improbable comebacks in pro football history.
Hall would boot a 40-yard field goal in overtime to complete what would become known as the "Monday Night Miracle."
1. The Mud Bowl: Dolphins Beat the Jets for AFC Title
The Jets entered the 1982 AFC Championship Game with a chance to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since the '67 season, and they would have to beat the Dolphins to do it.
This game is representative of the only time these two teams have ever met in the playoffs. The magnitude of pitting two divisional foes against each other is virtually undefined, and this game battled obscure controversy.
Jets' personnel complained that the Dolphins had made an ill-advised decision not to tarp the field in the days leading up to game-day.
The field at the Miami Orange Bowl had turned to sludge on January 23, 1983. The muddy conditions influenced the infamy that would become the "Mud Bowl."
Jets' quarterback Richard Todd endorsed the sloppy conditions by throwing five interceptions en route to a shutout defeat.
Dolphins' linebacker A.J. Duhe was responsible for three of Todd's five picks, including a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown that essentially iced the game for Miami.
Todd completed just 15 passes for 103 yards, storming off the field after Duhe picked him off for the third time.
The Dolphins won 14-0 in dominant fashion, advancing to Super Bowl XVII and ending the Jets' season.