New England Patriots vs. New York Jets: A Look Back


Oct 9, 2011; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick greets New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan after the game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Jets 30-21. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

The New England Patriots vs the New York Jets has become one of the best rivalries in all of sports. It has had close games, trash talk back and forth, big games, and all of the hatred that a great rivalry has. After all, it is Boston vs. New York, and that in and of itself makes for a great rivalry. It’s always an event when these two teams renew their relationship, at least twice per year.

For our younger readers, the rivalry goes back to the days of the AFL in the 1960s, when the Patriots were known as the Boston Patriots, and the Jets were known as the Titans. These two teams actually met for the first time on September 17, 1960, when the Boston Patriots beat the New York Titans 28-24 at the Polo Grounds. These two teams actually have a tie to their credit, 24-24 from a matchup at Fenway Park on October 2, 1966.

Everyone is aware how Rex wants a home playoff game against these guys. Well, the Jets have played a home game against this team one time in their history. Back in 1985, the Jets hosted the Patriots at Giants Stadium in a Wild Card game, December 28, 1985. The Jets lost the game 26-14.

But, in recent years, the rivalry has taken on a life of its own.  No, I am not talking about Rex Ryan and his urge to not “kiss Belichick’s rings”.  I am talking about going back to the 1990s, when the rivalry took flight.  Let’s take a brief trip down memory lane.

The whole story between these two teams started to blow out of proportion over this guy:

Bill Parcells. Remember the days right before he left New England? He was fighting with owner Robert Kraft about how much control he would have over player decisions, leading to his famous “cook the meal….buy the groceries” comment. After the Super Bowl, remember the crazy set up the Jets started? They hired Bill Parcells as a “consultant” for one year, made Belichick the coach, and after the one year Parcells would become the head coach. The Jets were pretty creative with that one, don’t you think? Poor Leon Hess, all he wanted was to see a championship before he passed away.

Well, obviously everyone, including the commissioner at the time, Paul Tagliabue, knew that the situation was a crock. Parcells would be “consulted”, about how to coach the team, so he brokered a deal between the two teams, that allowed Bill to coach in 1997, and New England received 4 draft picks. And a rivalry was born.

Don’t forget about the migration of Curtis Martin from New England to the Jets, which didn’t help. 1997, 1998, and 1999 go by with Parcells coaching the team, then he steps down. And then the heat got ramped up. Turn the page.

The very weird Bill Belichick situation. Remember how he spent one day as head coach? After one day, he resigned, writing on a napkin that he was resigning as the “HC of the NYJ”. Frankly, he almost looked drunk at the press conference. Citing the uncertainly of the Jets’ ownership in the wake of the death of Leon Hess, he was gone. Just a few days later, Bill was hired in New England, and the war went on. The Jets charged New England with tampering, and were awarded a first round pick to compensate.

Along the way, there have been some small brush fires in the relationship. When the Jets hired Eric Mangini as the coach in 2006, rumors surfaced that Mangini was talking to coaches about joining him in New York, even while the Patriots were still involved in the 2005 playoffs. This obviously was the beginning of the difficulties between Mangini and Belichick. There was the incident involving Deion Branch, when after New England sent him to Seattle, they accused the Jets of tampering with Branch while he was under contract. The Jets were cleared in the case, but it certainly didn’t help the relationship between the two franchises.

And then, the culmination. If there was ever going to be an opportunity for peace between these two teams, it was gone after this…..

Spygate was the straw that broke the camel’s back. When coach Eric Mangini reported the illegal videotaping of coaches signals to the league, the relationship between Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini was over. The fines and loss of draft picks not withstanding, Belichick considered the situation a breach of trust, as Mangini was a part of his team, that was it. The coaches liked each other even less, and therefore, the hatred between these two teams grew to great heights.

This all doesn’t even include Rex, and his tough talk. This is as intense a rivalry as it gets. No matter whose side you are on, it is always entertaining when these two teams go up against each other.