The New York Jets' fanbase is one of the most tortured in the NFL, due to the lack of its side's success since their solitary Super Bowl triumph in the 1968 season. In recent years, the frustration has become more palpable, with the franchise failing to reach the playoffs in the last eight seasons. The team has gone through several head coaches and quarterbacks in an attempt to find an answer, but no one has been able to end the Jets' drought without a title.
Adam Gase is the latest man to be charged with bringing success to the team, along with second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. New York is backed at +600 to win the AFC East for the first time since 2002, although the presence of the New England Patriots will make life difficult once again - as has been the case for the last 20 years. There have been brief moments of joy for the Jets and we’ll now look back at five of their top touchdowns.
5. Darrelle Revis: 100-Yard Pick Six
The performances of Darrelle Revis were a bright spot for the Jets over the last decade. Revis won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2009 and established a reputation as one of the best cornerbacks ever to play the game. Becoming a franchise player as a cornerback was perhaps a feat only matched by Deion Sanders during his days with the Atlanta Falcons. Revis reached a similar level of lore among New York fans due to his level of excellence on the field. He had many moments of brilliance during his time at the Meadowlands, including shutting down the leading wideouts of the game, notably Randy Moss, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall.
Arguably his best moment came against the Miami Dolphins in the 2011 season. Revis was embroiled in a battle against Marshall on the outside and was winning the duel comfortably. The Jets’ offensive struggles had allowed Miami to hold a 3-0 lead and Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore led his team downfield into scoring position. He tried to connect with Marshall in the endzone, but Revis had other ideas, making the pick on the goalline. He then proceeded to run the ball all the way back 100 yards for a touchdown to put New York ahead. The Jets would go on to record a comfortable 24-6 victory on the night.
4. Wesley Walker: Overtime Touchdown vs Miami
The Jets enjoyed another fine moment against the Dolphins in 1986. Three years prior in the 1983 NFL Draft, New York had the opportunity to select an elite quarterback in the first round. John Elway and Jim Kelly went off the board before the Jets had the opportunity to pick, but one Dan Marino was still available when they were on deck with the 24th overall selection.
Unfortunately for New York fans, as has often been the case, the franchise made the wrong decision, opting for Ken O’Brien rather than the future Hall of Famer. It’s not to say that O’Brien didn’t have his moments in a good career in the NFL, but he was not Marino – who established a reputation as one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game. However, on one Sunday in the 1986 season, O’Brien and the Jets did get the best of Marino and the Dolphins.
The two sides played out a thriller at Giants Stadium. Both quarterbacks were on point, throwing downfield with ease to put up points. The Jets held a 31-21 lead at half-time, but Marino led an onslaught in the third quarter. O’Brien responded in turn in the fourth to send the game into overtime. For one shining moment, O’Brien outduelled Marino when it mattered the most, connecting with Wesley Walker for a 45-yard touchdown to secure a 51-45 triumph for the Jets.
3. Shonn Greene: Killing Off The Chargers
The Jets had underwhelmed in the 2008 season after making a bold move for Brett Favre. Eric Mangini’s men failed to capitalize on Tom Brady’s season-ending injury in week one, allowing the Miami Dolphins to win the AFC East. Mangini was fired due to their failure and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan was hired to replace him.
Ryan was known for his brash personality and insisted that he would not kiss the Patriots’ rings. He carried that attitude into his first campaign at the Meadowlands, taking the scalp of Bill Belichick and Brady in week two of the term. The Jets were a smash-mouth team that charged their way through to the playoffs in the second half of the term with a 9-7 record as a sixth seed. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez made decent throws, while the running game and defense carried the load.
They brushed aside the Cincinnati Bengals with ease in the Wildcard Round on the road before being faced with a team on the rise in the San Diego Chargers. The Jets were shut out in the first half and heading towards a defeat. However, they found life in the fourth quarter as Sanchez connected with Dustin Keller in the endzone before Shonn Greene surged his way through the Chargers defense to score a 53-yard score that effectively ended the game. The Jets lost the AFC Championship Game to the Indianapolis Colts, but hope was kindled with Ryan’s fledgling unit.
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2. Shonn Greene: Stunning The Patriots At Gillette Stadium
The Jets enjoyed another fine campaign one year removed from their run to the AFC Championship Game. They were a better side than the previous campaign, matching the Patriots at the top of the AFC East for the majority of the term. However, they suffered a trouncing at the hands of Brady and Belichick in the regular season, losing 45-3 to hand the Patriots control of the AFC. New York was forced on the road in the post-season, but earned immediate revenge for its defeat in the AFC title game in 2009, beating the Indianapolis Colts in the Wildcard Round. It set up a revenge match against the Patriots in the Divisional Round. On this occasion, Ryan and his defense had a plan to bamboozle Brady and his offense.
The future Hall of Famer was frustrated by the Jets’ approach of leaving eight men in coverage and could not find his rhythm. On the other side, Sanchez enjoyed the best game of his career, throwing three touchdowns to put New York in command. The Jets required one final drive to put the game beyond doubt. Greene rose to the occasion as he did against the Chargers in 2009, powering through New England’s line for a 16-yard touchdown, cueing huge celebrations from the Jets’ sideline. Although the triumph was a huge result for the Jets, it did not culminate a trip to the Super Bowl, as they lost once again in the AFC Championship Game. New York has not returned to the post-season since.
1. Joe Namath: Guaranteeing Victory In Super Bowl III
The Jets’ only Super Bowl triumph came in the 1968 season, with Broadway Joe Namath at the quarterback position. Namath remains the most successful player in franchise history – the one correct decision New York made in regards to selecting a quarterback in the NFL Draft. He projected confidence in every aura of his play and he led the Jets to the AFL title in only his third season. New York enjoyed an 11-3 campaign to reach the title game against the Oakland Raiders at Shea Stadium they edged out their opponents to earn a Super Bowl berth against the NFL’s Baltimore Colts.
Baltimore were overwhelming favorites for the contest due to the superior strength of the NFL compared with the AFL. However, Namath guaranteed a victory for the underdogs and he lived up to his promise. Weeb Ewbank's men set the tone in the contest in the second quarter when Namath led a drive downfield and punched the ball in the endzone courtesy of Matt Snell’s four-yard run. The Jets would maintain their stranglehold on the contest from that point onwards. Baltimore had no answer as Jim Turner sent through three field goals through the posts to take the Jets beyond their reach. The Colts got on the board late, but it was too little too late as New York claimed their first and only Super Bowl crown.