New York Jets: Top 10 Games by Jets' Quarterbacks

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New York Jets: Top 10 Games by Jets' Quarterbacks
Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Joe Namath at 2012 Pepsi NFL Honors and Rookie of the Year ceremony.

New York Jets' quarterbacks have enjoyed moments of dominance, when their arms carried the team to victory. It's time to celebrate these moments.

Let's look at highlights of Jets' quarterback play since 1960. I want lots of points, the air full of footballs and defenders trembling for their lives. Game management is out. Receivers running wild in the secondary is in.

The games we celebrate include those of sheer dominance, where the opposing offense was impotent while the Jets scored at will. There are games when the Jets came back from almost impossible odds. There are epic battles with Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Finally, there were performances of sheer beauty, where the Jets' quarterbacks were both prolific and efficient.

The criteria for inclusion is as follows:

  • The Jets won. This is not about valiant efforts that almost worked. This is about quarterback dominance that produced victories.
  • Net passing yardage was at least 300. 70 games between 1960 and 2012 met that standard. In those 70 games, the Jets were 32-35-3. That cut the candidates to 32.

I also tried to spread the wealth. I could have made these slides a tribute to Joe Namath and Ken O'Brien. However, that would have ignored huge chunks of Jets' history. Other quarterbacks had great moments too.

My source for game selection is pro-football-reference.com's Team Game Finder. You can view my query here. Additional information came from the Jets' media guide.

I anticipate some critiques:

  • Super Bowl III is missing. Super Bowl III was probably the most significant victory in Jets' history. Joe Namath's psychological leadership was a prime factor. However, Super Bowl III was a team effort. The defense forced five turnovers. Namath completed 17-of-28 passes for 206 yards. It was wonderful game management. It was not a virtuoso passing day. The rematch of Namath and Unitas in 1972 was.
  • You're not putting these games in context. In other words, I'm not measuring the game's impact on team goals like clinching a division title or playoff berth. Nor do I care if the games were during the regular season or playoffs. I'm writing this after the 2012 season when the Jets' offense at its best put many a fan to sleep. I will consider my mission accomplished if I bring back memories of better times. 

I look forward to hearing your proposed lists. That's why we're here.

We begin in 1960, when the Jets were the New York Titans.

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