The 10 Best Moments of the Jets-Pats Rivalry

Kevin W. Ryan@@kevry88Contributor IIISeptember 10, 2013

The 10 Best Moments of the Jets-Pats Rivalry

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    It was no more than five years ago when the Jets and Patriots were regular foes in the AFC playoffs—numerous grueling contests that only continued to fuel this intense, longstanding rivalry. 

    Here are the 10 best moments of the Patriots-Jets rivalry...enjoy. 

10. Passing on Marino

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    The 1983 NFL draft featured two of the game's greatest quarterbacks: John Elway and Dan Marino. This draft was so monumental that ESPN recently released a 30 for 30 documentary breaking down the struggles that NFL executives faced during the draft weekend.

    At the time, Elway was the Golden Boy—the obvious No. 1 overall selection, pending he didn't take George Steinbrenner's offer to play for the New York Yankees. 

    Behind Elway, however, lay a pool of equally talented quarterbacks. With the 15th overall pick in the draft, the New England Patriots selected Fighting Illini signal-caller Tony Eason. Later in the first round, the Jets selected UC-Davis quarterback Ken O'Brien at No. 24 overall. 

    Future Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly was selected by the Bills at No. 14; however, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Dan Marino, was passed on by both the Pats and Jets. 

    In the early 1990s, O'Brien and Eason ended up in a position battle for the Jets. 

9. Brady's Choice Words

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    HBO's annual series Hard Knocks is a must-watch for any NFL fan. 

    In 2010, however, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told WEEI that he "refused" to watch the series while it followed Rex Ryan's Jets during training camp. 

    "Honestly, I haven't turned it on. I hate the Jets, so I refuse to support that show. ... I'm sure it's great TV. I'm glad people are liking it. But that's just something that I have no interest in watching. I'd love to say a lot of mean things, but I'd rather not do that, either."

    Personally, I like that Brady took the high road and let the fine citizens of the New England area speak ill of the Jets. 

8. You're Fired

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    After losing an October matchup against the eventual AFC Champion Miami Dolphins, Patriots head coach Ron Meyer fired his assistant coach Rod Rust without the approval of the general manager. 

    Meyer's actions resulted in himself being fired by the organization one week before their game against the Jets. The Patriots named assistant Raymond Berry the head coach, who helped lead the Pats to a second-half comeback where they outscored the Jets 24-0. 

    Apparently, dismantling a 20-6 Jets lead in one half of a football game was an easy way for Berry to earn the respect of the Patriots locker room. 

7. Foreshadowing Spygate

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    In 1978, Jets coach Walt Michaels publicly accused the Patriots of stealing their coach signals and cited that as the reason for getting crushed 55-21 in a late October matchup. 

    Later that season, the Houston Oilers overcame a 23-point deficit and beat the Patriots 26-23—allowing more speculation to rise about the Patriots having their coach signals stolen.  

    The Patriots were subject to a massive investigation known as "Spygate" nearly 30 years later in 2007. Stay tuned. 

6. Trash Talk

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    On January 11, 2011, Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie called out Tom Brady just days leading up to their AFC divisional playoff game. 

    On gameday, Rex Ryan's Jets backed up their trash talk and upset the top-seeded Patriots on the road 28-21 en route to an AFC Championship berth.  

5. Monday Night Madness

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    The Patriots hosted the Jets during week six of the 1976 NFL season on Monday Night—and the Joe Namath-led Jets were poised to put on a show for the game of the week. 

    Instead, the Patriots flat-out destroyed Namath's Jets 41-7 and it was the Patriots' fans that took the headlines. 

    Before, during and after the game, drunken and disorderly Patriots fans "disgraced" the organization following dozens of arrests.

    The worst individual of the evening was arrested for allegedly urinating on an EMT who was busy trying to save another fan from a heart attack. 

4. Belichick's Napkin

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    On January 4, 2000, current New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick used a table napkin to write "I resign as HC of the NYJ" at a news conference where he was supposed to announce that he accepts the job as "HC of the NYJ".

    Since that turn-of-the-century day, Belichick has won three Super Bowls and helped Tom Brady become the most dominant quarterback of the decade.

    The most ironic part of Brady's dominance over the Jets came in September of 2001 when Jets linebacker Mo Lewis knocked Pats quarterback Drew Bledsoe out of the game—inadvertently ushering in the Tom Brady era. 

3. Mangini Returns the Favor

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    Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini, both graduates of Wesleyan University, first met in 1995 with the Cleveland Browns. 

    Belichick was the head coach of the Browns at the time and was fired following the season. Mangini, who was promoted to a coach's assistant by Belichick during training camp, stayed with the Browns for 1996—only to return to Belichick's side with the New York Jets in 1997. 

    Once Belichick resigned as "HC of the NYJ" and assumed the role of Patriots head coach in 2000, Mangini again stuck with Belichick and followed him, yet again, to New England. 

    After serving on Belichick's personal coaching staff until 2005, Mangini was named the team's defensive coordinator.

    Just one season after running the Patriots defense, Eric Mangini left for a head coaching job with, you guessed it, the New York Jets.

    Urban legend holds that once Mangini left to interview for the Jets head coaching position, someone in the Patriots organization locked Mangini out of gathering his personal belongings inside Gillette Stadium.    

2. Spygate 2.0

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    After Jets head coach Walt Michaels vowed that the organization would "never be subject" to having their signals stolen, a Patriots employee was caught taping Jets defensive signals during week one of the 2007 NFL season. 

    The Patriots were victorious 38-14 that week, however the team was fined $250,000 and a first-round draft pick on top of head coach Bill Belichick's $500,000 fine for the illegal video taping. 

1. The Parcells-Belichick-Carroll Controversy

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    New England head coach Bill Parcells returned from the Patriots' 1996 Super Bowl loss with no certain future. 

    Following a dispute over who to select in the 1997 NFL draft, Parcells resigned as head coach of the Patriots and accepted a job with the Jets.

    However, Parcells could not take on the head coaching title of the Jets due to a contractual restriction, so the Jets hired Parcells as a consultant and offered the vacant coaching position to Parcells' understudy, Bill Belichick, until they could transition Parcells to the head position through a later agreement. 

    Belichick wound up accepting a position as an assistant coach for the Jets, while the Patriots used San Francisco's defensive coordinator to assume the responsibilities of Patriots head coach. That man was current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.