10 most heartbreaking losses suffered in NY Jets history

NY Jets, Mark Gastineau
NY Jets, Mark Gastineau / George Gojkovich/GettyImages
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NY Jets
NY Jets, Antonio Brown / Al Pereira/GettyImages

2. 2010 AFC Championship Loss 

Some could argue that the Jets' 2009 AFC Championship Game loss to the Colts a year before could have made this list. But when you look back at that season, New York was fortunate to sneak into the playoffs that year.

Their 2009 journey to the AFC Championship Game against Indy was an improbable run. The Jets got close and even had a lead against the Colts, but the disappointment level in that defeat couldn't match some of the franchise's other heartbreaking playoff losses over the years.

If anything, the 2009 Jets run, despite the end result, gave the franchise great hope moving forward.

A year later, the Jets were legitimate Super Bowl contenders because of a well-rounded offense with an elite offensive line and a fantastic and balanced defense spearheaded by Rex Ryan.

New York was the talk of the NFL, and their head coach did plenty of talking, but the team had the talent to defy the doubters and back it up. The Jets won 11 games in 2010. 

Part of the story of the 2010 Jets playoff run is how they ate a giant piece of humble pie late that year, when in a clash for first-place on Monday Night Football. The New England Patriots humiliated the Jets 45-3 on national television.

In one fell swoop, the Jets went from contenders to pretenders. Prognosticators and critics buried the Jets and their chances of competing for a championship after that game. Rex Ryan and the Jets, symbolically and figuratively, buried the football from that crushing lopsided defeat.

However, New York would take a while to recover from that humbling experience. They lost the next week to Miami, and if you include the humiliation by the Pats, the Jets lost three of their last five games to finish the season.

But when the playoffs rolled around, the Jets would exact revenge on not only the team that beat them in the AFC Championship the year before, but most importantly, a 14-2 New England Patriots team on their own home field.

It's remarkable to look back now and realize what the 2010 Jets accomplished. They went into Indianapolis and New England, and in successive weeks, they beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on the road, with a second-year QB in Mark Sanchez.

Getting to an AFC Championship is challenging enough, but doing it against all-time great players and a coach like Bill Belichick on their field tells you all you need to know about how good the Jets were in 2010.

There was still one hurdle left to climb after the Jets moved heaven and earth to get back to the AFC Championship Game. The Jets had to win a third straight game on the road, in a place where the franchise had struggled mightily over the years, Pittsburgh.

A month earlier, the Jets had gone into Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers 22-17 on the road for the first time in their history. So there was hope going in that the Jets could do it again. 

Just like their two previous playoff games against Indy and New England, the Jets fell behind early on the scoreboard against Pittsburgh. But unlike their victories against the Colts and Pats, the Jets weren't able to bounce back quickly.

The Steelers stormed out to a 24-0 lead late in the second quarter. Nearly all hope was lost, but then the Jets started to rally. They scored 19 unanswered points to get within five points of Pittsburgh. The Jets fought back valiantly to put themselves in a position to complete the improbable comeback.

But it wasn't meant to be.

The Jets defense needed to get one more big stop against a Pittsburgh offense they had shut down in the second half, but on a crucial third-down play, Ben Roethlisberger connected with Antonio Brown on a first down completion that iced the game.

Time had run out on the Jets, and little did the fan base know that it would mark the end of an exciting era of Jets football. One of the most magical two-year runs by the franchise came to a demoralizing halt that day in Pittsburgh.

The franchise has come nowhere near the glory they almost experienced at the turn of the last decade.