Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Deeper Look into the Jets-Patriots Rivalry: The 1990s

The 1990s was a decade full of crazy story lines between the Jets and the Patriots. On December 15, 1991, the Pats would beat the Jets by a score of 6-3 in what was the lowest scoring game in the series, for another two years. The Jets would beat the Pats on November 28, 1993, 6-0. Oddly enough, the Jets would win their first matchup that season in a blowout, 45-7. On October 16, 1994, future Patriots coach Pete Carroll would lead the Jets to a victory over future Jets coach Bill Parcells’ Patriots in their first ever matchup against each other. Before their trip to the Super Bowl in 1997, rumors surfaced that head coach Bill Parcells was going to leave the Patriots in favor of a team that would allow him to have more front office power. After they lost the Super Bowl, Parcells resigned as head coach of the Patriots, leading Patriots owner Robert Kraft to believe that the Jets had been tampering with Parcells to bring him in and fill in their vacant head coach spot. After some back and forth and disagreement over league rules, commissioner Paul Tagliabue arranged an agreement between the two teams that would involve the Jets giving the Patriots a 3rd and a 4th round pick in the 1997 draft, a 2nd round pick in the 1998 draft, and a 1st round pick in the 1999 draft as compensation for the Jets being able to sign Bill Parcells as their head coach. The Patriots would finish the 1997 season with a 10-6 record to win the AFC East title, one game better than the 9-7 Jets. 

The next season, the Jets would sign running back Curtis Martin after he played his first three seasons with the Patriots. With Martin and new quarterback Vinny Testaverde, the Jets got off to a 2-3 start, but surged to finish the season at 12-4 earning themselves an AFC East title and a first round bye in the playoffs. The Jets would sweep the Patriots that season, but both teams would make the playoffs. The Patriots lost to the Jaguars in the AFC Wildcard round, while the Jets lost to John Elway and the Broncos in the AFC Championship game. The Jets and Pats would open the 1999 season against each other. Early in this game, Vinny Testaverde would tear his achilles and would be replaced by punter Tom Tupa, who threw 2 touchdown passes and was able to keep a 28-27 lead for the Jets until late in the 4th quarter. After two failed two-point conversions, Parcells put Jets’ emergency quarterback, Rick Mirer, into the game with about 3 minutes left to go. Mirer would then throw an interception to cornerback Ty Law, which would set up a game-winning 30-yard field goal by kicker Adam Vinatieri. The Jets would fall to 4-8 that season, but would win their last 4 games behind quarterback Ray Lucas, including the final game of the 20th century in Miami on Monday Night Football (December 27, 1999, my first football game**). The decade series finished with an 11-9 Jets victory.

After the 1999 season, Bill Parcells retired from coaching (for the time being) and announced assistant coach, Bill Belichick, as his predecessor. At a press conference the following day, Belichick wrote a resignation note on a napkin saying, “I resign as HC of NYJ,” and proceeded to announce his resignation instead of his hiring. Despite rumors that the Patriots had offered Belichick their vacant head coaching spot, he referred to the Jets uncertain ownership situation (owner Leon Hess had died in the last year) as his actual reason for leaving. After some controversy similar to when the Jets wanted to sign Parcells from the Pats, the two sides made an agreement and the Jets received a 1st round pick in the 2000 draft and 4th and 7th round picks in the 2001 draft from the Patriots, but had to give the Patriots their 5th round pick in the 2001 draft and a 7th round pick in the 2002 draft.

Come back tomorrow for part 3. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Deeper Look into the Jets-Patriots Rivalry: 1960-1989

With what seems to be the most highly anticipated Monday Night Football game of the season coming up this week, I thought I’d take a deep look into the Jets-Patriots rivalry through the decades. This is the first of 3 parts. First is the 1960s through 1980s. Saturday will be the 1990s. Sunday will be the 2000s. My preview for the game will be posted Monday afternoon. Check back each day for the next part.

We begin this journey through time on September 17, 1960. On this day, the Titans of New York hosted the Boston Patriots at the Polo Grounds in their first ever AFL matchup. The Titans took a 24-7 3rd quarter lead before giving up 21 unanswered points as the Patriots won the first matchup in the rivalry, 28-21. Boston would go on to win 7 of the first 12 games in the series. In their first matchup in 1966, The New York Jets and Boston Patriots would have their only tie in 50 years. In their second matchup of the 1966 season, which the Jets won 38-28 at Shea Stadium, the Jets knocked the Patriots out of playoff contention in the last game of the season. The Jets would close out the 60s on a 7 game winning streak against the Patriots, winning the decade series 12-7-1, which became 9 games after the 1970 season. As we all know, the 1968 season was a magical one for the New York Jets, who won the AFL Championship and then defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III for their first and only Super Bowl championship.

The 1970s would also belong to the Jets as they won the series 12-8. On November 21, 1976, the Jets would have one of their most horrendous games ever. Joe Namath threw 6 interceptions and backup Richard Todd threw a 7th. The Jets also lost 3 fumbles and lost the game 38-24. In a weird case of foreshadowing, on October 29, 1978, the Pats beat the Jets 55-21. Jets head coach Walt Michaels felt that the Patriots were somehow deciphering his coaching staff's signals and suspected that a rival team had told these signals to the Patriots (Spygate 1.0?). Later that season, the Houston Oilers came back against the Patriots, who at one point held a 23-0 lead, to beat them 26-23, and there was speculation that the Jets had told Oilers coaches about the Patriots signals. In what still stands as the largest margin of victory in the rivalry, the Patriots defeated the Jets 56-3 on September 9, 1979.

The 1980s would be the first decade that the Patriots would take over the Jets. In 1982, a player’s strike cut the season short, so the Jets and Patriots would only meet once, a 31-7 victory by the Jets. On December 28, 1985, the Patriots would visit Giants Stadium for the first ever postseason matchup between the two rivals. The Patriots would win 26-14 in what was their first playoff victory since defeating the Buffalo Bills in a 1963 elimination game to decide the Eastern Division championship. One of the more entertaining games of the rivalry occurred on October 12, 1986, when the Jets travelled to Sullivan Stadium. The Jets would explode to a 24-0 halftime lead, but would allow Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan to throw for 401 yards and 3 touchdowns which led a big Patriots comeback. With the score 31-24 in favor of the Jets, the Patriots were driving down the field late in the game when a 31-yard reception by Irving Fryar was fumbled and recovered by the Jets to secure the victory. 1987 would be a year of blowouts in this series, starting with a Jets home victory, 43-24, and ending with a Patriots home victory, 42-20. The decade ended with a 12-8 series win for the Pats.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Week 13 NFL Picks

Here are my picks for this week’s NFL Games (with spreads from’s Pigskin Pick ‘Em):

(5-6) Houston Texans at
(7-4) Philadelphia Eagles** -8.5
I fully expect Michael Vick to get the Eagles back on track against one of the league’s worst pass defenses. The Eagles' secondary is hurting though, so Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson can take huge advantage of it. The Eagles can win in a shootout.

(8-3) New Orleans Saints** at
The Saints are finally back in championship form while the Bengals are as bad as they’ve ever been. This should not be close.

(8-3) Chicago Bears** at
(2-9) Detroit Lions +3.5
Detroit is not the spoiler it once was this season. The Bears should easily have their way in this one.

9.5 is a big spread. The Packers should win, but the 49ers are capable of keeping it closer than that.

(5-6) Tennessee Titans -3.5
The Jaguars are playing better football right now. The Titans have way too many problems at the moment.

(3-8) Denver Broncos at
(7-4) Kansas City Chiefs** -8.5
The Chiefs are looking good again and put up big numbers last week. Don’t expect what happened in the last meeting to happen again.

(6-5) Miami Dolphins** -4.5
With Chad Henne playing well, the Dolphins are definitely capable of winning by at least a touchdown. With Jake Delhomme starting, the Browns chances of winning always seem to be lower.

(2-9) Buffalo Bills** at
Not only do I expect the Bills to cover the spread, I expect them to win this game. They’ve been playing very competitive football lately and the Vikings just aren’t good enough to keep up.

(7-4) New York Giants -7.5
Just like last week, I expect the ailing Giants to let this game be closer than it should be. Eli Manning still has enough weapons to win though.

(5-6) Oakland Raiders at
(6-5) San Diego Chargers** -12.5
The Raiders are not the team we thought they were a few weeks ago. We can say the same about the Chargers. They’re ready to take over the division and prove a point this week.

(9-2) Atlanta Falcons** at
The Falcons are way too good for the Bucs to handle. Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, and Roddy White will have an easy time with Tampa.

(1-10) Carolina Panthers** at
(5-6) Seattle Seahawks -5.5
Carolina has the running game to beat the Seahawks. As tough as they are to beat at home, Seattle does not seem willing to win their division.

(5-6) St. Louis Rams** at
The Rams, on the other hand, are playing like they do want to win their division. Sam Bradford has done as outstanding job, while the Cards have had many issues at quarterback this season.

(3-8) Dallas Cowboys at
(6-5) Indianapolis Colts** -5.5
Peyton Manning cannot let the losing streak continue. He’ll step it up and get the Colts back on track this week.

(8-3) Baltimore Ravens -3.5
Each of their last 3 meetings has ended in a 3-point deficit. I cannot decide who I feel will win this game, but I do feel like it will end the same as the last few.

(9-2) New York Jets** at
Just going with my gut on this one.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My NFL Power Rankings: Week 13

The Falcons have proven they can stand up against some of the best teams in the league. They’re also unbeatable at home since drafting Matt Ryan.
Their offense continues to put up tons of points, but they have another matchup with the Jets this week, a team they only scored 14 points against in week 2.
Their man-to-man defense matches up extremely well with the Patriots offense. Monday night’s matchup will be a great one.
Sunday night’s game against the Steelers may decide the AFC North, especially if the Ravens sweep.
They wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Steve Johnson, but they remain tied with the Ravens going into this Sunday.
Reggie Bush’s return actually hurt the Saints, but Drew Brees keeps finding ways to win.
The Bears are looking like real contenders now. They intercepted Vick for the first time and stopped him from scrambling for many yards.
No shame in losing to Atlanta at home, but they’ll need to start winning if they want to pass the Bears.
Without Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs, the Eagles’ secondary is very vulnerable.
Missing 5 starters on offense, they managed to go a full game without a turnover.
The win over the Colts makes them look like a huge threat to the rest of the AFC.
Matt Cassel is playing like an elite QB this season. His 22 TDs and only 4 interceptions are going to take the Chiefs a long way.
They need to get some starters back quickly before their free fall becomes serious.
They still do not have a win against a team with a winning record, but they played the Ravens tough and showed they can compete with good teams.
Chad Henne’s early return from a knee injury gives the Dolphins a chance to make a run.
The offensive line let David Garrard down in the second half against the Giants.
Michael Vick is not Rusty Smith. Don’t expect another goose egg from this defense next week.
Sam Bradford became the first rookie QB to throw for over 300 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 picks. He definitely leads the Rookie of the Year voting.
Two straight embarrassing losses lead me to believe that their previous winning streak was just a fluke.
The free fall continues, but lucky for the Titans, everyone in the South keeps losing and they find themselves only 1 game out of first place.
The defense is letting them down big time after a good start to the season. Nevertheless, they still have a great shot to win the West.
The lack of a ground game will make it tough for the Redskins to win games down the stretch.
They were a Roy Williams fumble away from beating the Saints on Thanksgiving. That trade keeps looking worse and worse for them.
At 4-7, they are closer to first place than the 7-4 Buccaneers are.
They have become one of the most competitive teams in the NFL lately. At least their fans can see some fun games.
Peyton Hillis is one of the best backs in the league this season. Too bad he has no support around him.
Leslie Frazier is now 1-0 as head coach. How many wins can interim coaches rack up this season?
Things keep getting worse and worse for Josh McDaniels and the Broncos. How much longer will he keep his job?
The Bengals’ nightmare continues as their losing streak climbs to 8 straight.
It’s time to start planning for next season. Ken Whisenhunt is too good of a coach to lose this many games.
After leading the Patriots at the half, the Lions completely fell apart in the second half. Seems like they have given up again.
At least they are seeing great things out of backup backup backup running back Mike Goodson. He gives them a chance to win in Seattle this week.