What are the best moments for each NFL franchise? Yahoo Sports provides our opinion, which you are free to disagree with (and we’re sure you will).
5. Jets-Pats 2010 AFC Playoffs
Before he was known for the “Butt Fumble,” quarterback Mark Sanchez was responsible for leading the Jets to back-to-back AFC championship games – including a playoff victory over Tom Brady and the No. 1-seed New England Patriots. During the 2010 season, head coach Rex Ryan and his team didn’t lack confidence and when you factor that with the long-standing rivalry and history with Bill Belichick and the Pats, emotions ran high before, during and after the 28-21 victory in the divisional playoffs. Wes Welker took a dig at Ryan’s foot fetish (sadly, this didn’t make the worst list) during a news conference prior to the game, Jets running back Shonn Greene sealed the game with a late touchdown and celebrated in the end zone by faux napping with the football, and linebacker Bart Scott became a meme before memes were really a thing with his “Can’t wait!” line to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.
4. Signing Curtis Martin
Emmitt. Walter. Barry. Curtis. The first three names on the list of NFL all-time career rushing leaders wouldn’t surprise football fans. But if you ask non-Jets fans who’s fourth, they might struggle to name Curtis Martin, who was actually drafted by the archrival Patriots. But after three 1,000-plus-yard seasons in New England, Martin followed Bill Parcells down to New York and signed with the Jets, where he cemented his Hall of Fame career as a member of Gang Green. In eight seasons with the Jets, the five-time Pro Bowler rushed for 10,302 yards thanks to seven-straight seasons of at least 1,000 yards rushing. Martin was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012, along with the retirement of his No. 28 jersey by the Jets.
3. Monday Night Miracle
On Oct. 23, 2000, six years after the Jets lost in humiliating fashion to the Dolphins in the Fake Spike Game, New York would get revenge against its AFC East rival on “Monday Night Football.” Trailing 30-7 after three quarters, the Jets’ win probability according to Pro-Football-Reference.com was 0.10 percent heading into the final 15 minutes. Barely a minute into the fourth quarter, Laveranues Coles caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Vinny Testaverde – the first of four touchdowns that quarter from the veteran quarterback. New York scored 23 unanswered points to tie the game at 30 with 3:55 left. Miami countered, scoring on its first play the following possession, but the Jets would force overtime thanks to a 3-yard TD catch from offensive tackle Jumbo Elliott. A comedy of errors in overtime (a Jay Fielder interception, a fumble by the Jets’ Marcus Coleman, another Fielder interception by Coleman) led to a game-winning field goal by John Hall to give the Jets a 40-37 victory.
2. Joe Namath’s Guarantee
Joe Namath was “Broadway Joe” long before his first snap in the pros, long before the Jets advanced to Super Bowl III against the Baltimore Colts in 1968. But despite the great collegiate career at Alabama and early success in New York, Namath had a lot to prove coming from what was viewed as the inferior American Football League. The Colts were 18-point favorites in Super Bowl III, but that didn’t discourage Namath. Three nights before the Super Bowl at the Miami Touchdown Club while receiving the AFL Most Valuable Player award, Namath said about his Jets, “We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.” If Twitter was around in 1969, Namath’s guarantee would have generated hot takes for 72 straight hours leading up to kickoff. As for the game …
1. Super Bowl III
… Namath was right. The New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts, 16-7, and won Super Bowl III, the first and only championship for a franchise that was established nearly 60 years ago. Despite not accounting for a touchdown or completing a pass in the fourth quarter, Namath (17-of-28 for 206 yards) outplayed starter Earl Morrall (6-of-17 for 71 yards and three INTs) and future Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas (11-of-24 for 110 yards and one INT), en route to Super Bowl Most Valuable Player honors. Following the win, Namath ran off the field at the Orange Bowl holding up his index finger, serving as just one last reminder that the brash quarterback wasn’t afraid of the big stage and truly lived up to the nickname, “Broadway Joe.”