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Top 5 revenge games of all-time

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Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets logo prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not often the New York Jets dominate their opponents but when they lose and have an opportunity for revenge, they have risen to the occasion.

Being a historian for the New York Jets who has gone over countless games, plays and players, I saw on the NFL Network recently a list of Top 10 revenge games. That put a bug in my ear to think of what should be put on my list for the Jets.

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Whilst I was born in 1974, my memory kind of parallels with the return of the Jets to the postseason after a decade long absence from the merger after the 1969 season until their Wild Card appearance in the 1981 postseason.

One thing I always enjoy, despite the lack of Super Bowl titles or appearances in my lifetime, is remembering games where the Jets stood up and made us proud as fans. So without further delay, here are my picks as the top five revenge games in the history of the franchise.

Next: 5. Jets vs Dolphins, 1991

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

September 29, 1991 vs Miami at Meadowlands – Jets 41. Dolphins 23

A major thorn in the side of the Jets for many seasons during the 1980s and 1990s was Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. It started with the Jets passing on Marino in the 1983 NFL Draft and instead selecting little known quarterback from Cal-Davis, Ken O’Brien.

Throughout his career, Marino threw for more yards and touchdowns against the Jets than any other opponent. Heading into the match-up in September 1991, the Dolphins and Marino had won three straight against the Jets, including a pair in 1990 where Marino’s 4th quarter passing exploits buried them.

The Jets entered Week 5 of the 1991 season feeling incredibly frustrated as they had blown 4th quarter leads in each of the previous two games. Their last game was especially traumatic, as they blew a 10-point 4th quarter lead against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, with the tying score coming on the final play of regulation.

Perhaps feeling the mutual frustration of their fans, the Jets dominated this game from the start, highlighted by a blocked punt return for a touchdown by wide receiver Chris Burkett. Erik McMillan put the finishing touch on the Jets’ blowout win with a 83-yard interception touchdown return against Marino (his second career pick, six against Marino – he is the only player to have two against him), to put the Jets up 41-16.

Later in the season, the Jets continued their revenge on Marino and Miami when they defeated them 23-20 in the final game of the season in a winner-take-all game to clinch a playoff spot.

Next: Jets vs Patriots, 1979

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

December 9, 1979 vs New England at Shea Stadium – Jets 27 Patriots 26

Earlier in the season, the Patriots embarrassed the Jets, handing them their worst loss in franchise history, 56-3. After being out-gained by 463 yards in allowing 597 total yards – 245 of which came on the ground – and committing six turnovers earlier in the season, the Jets held New England to just 320 total yards (107 rushing) while this time not turning the ball over.

Quarterback Richard Todd’s eight-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave the Jets their first lead of the second half, as they beat the Patriots 27-26, knocking the Patriots out of playoff contention.

The game was also known for a tragedy in the stands, as an accident during a halftime exhibition killed a fan. The group’s model air show, a popular entertainment previously presented hundreds of times at halftimes and other events, featured radio-controlled airplanes that performed maneuvers around the stadium, engaged in aerial dogfights, and showcased flying model planes crafted in unusual shapes.

Shortly before the end of the 15-minute show, one of the performers lost control of the model aircraft he was guiding, a novel plane shaped like a lawnmower with a red reel and silver handle. The plane circled the stadium a few times, then abruptly nose-dived into the stands about five rows behind the Patriots’ bench on the third-base side of the stadium. As the lawnmower-shaped craft plummeted into the seats, it struck two spectators.

Both men suffered serious head injuries from the incident. One received emergency room treatment for a concussion and was released the next day, while the other whom one observer at the scene described as looking “like he had been attacked by an ax,” underwent emergency surgery and died of his injuries four days later.

Next: Jets vs Patriots, 2002

December 22, 2002 at New England – Jets 30 Patriots 17

After losing 44-7 to the Patriots in Week 2 at the Meadowlands, the Patriots hosted the Jets in Week 16. After starting the season 2-5, the Jets won five on their next seven games to put themselves in position to have a chance to win the AFC East if they could beat the Patriots.

After tight end Christian Fauria caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady to tie the game at 17 in the 3rd quarter, the Jets scored the final 13 points of the game, including a 15-yd touchdown pass from quarterback Chad Pennington to wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, to defeat the Patriots 30-17.

The next week after the Patriots defeated the Dolphins in the 1PM game, the Jets routed the Packers 42-17 in the 4PM game to clinch just their second and final AFC East title.

Next: Jets vs Colts, 2010

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

January 8, 2010 AFC Wild Card Playoff at Indianapolis – Jets 17 Colts 16

Heading into the 2010 postseason, the Jets knew they would have an extremely difficult road ahead if they wanted to advance to their first Super Bowl since the AFL-NFL merger.

Among the quarterback the Jets would need to potentially defeat would include previous Super Bowl winners Peyton Manning, Brady and Ben Roethlisberger – and they would have to defeat all three on the road.

First up among that trio was Manning, whom the Jets lost to in the 2009 AFC Championship game, and were looking to get revenge. After falling behind 7-0, the Jets rallied to take a 14-10 lead in the 4th quarter. The lead didn’t last however, as kicker Adam Vinatieri connected on two field goals, the last with :50 remaining, to give the Colts a 16-14 lead.

Needing a field goal to win, cornerback Antonio Cromartie’s kick return put the Jets in great position to start their game winning drive, which culminated in quarterback Mark Sanchez connecting with wide receiver Braylon Edwards at the 15-yard line to set up kicker Nick Folk for the game-winning 32-yd field goal as time expired.

Next: Jets vs Patriots, 2010

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

January 16, 2010 AFC Divisional Playoff at New England – Jets 28 Patriots 21

After defeating the Colts in the AFC Wild Card Game the week before, the Jets headed to New England to take on the AFC East champion Patriots in the Divisional Round.

Brady was the second Super Bowl winning quarterback the Jets were facing and needed to beat if they wanted to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLVI. During the regular season, the Jets defeated the Patriots 28-14 in Week 2 at the Meadowlands, but in a prime-time match-up on Monday Night Football in Week 13 at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots embarrassed the Jets, 45-3.

Very few people gave the Jets a chance. After linebacker David Harris ended the Patriots’ first drive with an interception return to set the Jets up at the New England 12-yard line, the Jets blew a chance to take an early lead when Folk missed a 30-yard field goal.

However, instead of deflating the Jets, it inspired them a bit, as their defense rebounded from their 45-3 embarrassment when they allowed over 400 total yards, by holding the Patriots to just 121 yards and taking a 14-3 lead into the half.

After cutting the Jets lead to 14-11 late in the 3rd quarter, Sanchez led the Jets right down the field helped by a 58-yard reception to Jerricho Cotchery. Three plays later, Sanchez connected with wide receiver Santonio Holmes to give the Jets a 21-11 lead early in the 4th quarter.

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The Patriots cut the Jets lead to 21-14 with 2 minutes left, but the Jets were able to recover 2 onside kickoffs to secure a 28-21 victory and one of the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history.

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