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, Kenbrell Thompkins / Al Pereira/GettyImages

10. Rex's Revenge

Most modern-day Jets fans will point to the team's season-ending 22-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills in 2015 as one of the lowest moments of their fandom.

Longtime Jets fans might look back at this demoralizing defeat as just a walk in the park in comparison to the franchise's other moments of disappointment over the years. But recency bias wins out here. 

The 2015 season is the last time the Jets were in contention, and the fan base had hope. The Jets in 2015 was a fun ride while it lasted. However, fleeting it turned out to be.

Todd Bowles looked like a potential savior as the team's new head coach. Mike Maccagnan, believe it or not, was NFL Executive of the Year. He brought the band back together, reuniting the Jets fan base with one of its greatest players ever, Darrelle Revis.

The wide receiver tandem of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker brought back memories of other great receiving duos of Jets past like Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet in the late '90s.

Ryan Fitzpatrick hit lightning in a bottle and had one of the greatest single seasons of any quarterback in Jets' history. The team appeared to be on the brink of something special. 

Let's reset the scene back to January 3rd, 2016. The Jets were 10-5 heading into Orchard Park with a chance to make the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. New York was red hot, riding a five-game winning streak, which included two exhilarating overtime victories at home over the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.

Standing in the Jets' way of making the playoffs was the individual who previously led New York to the brink of football heaven twice, Rex Ryan.

The boisterous former head coach of the Jets and his Bills team were 7-8, eliminated from playoff contention, but in a prime position to spoil their division rivals' playoff hopes. And that's exactly what transpired. 

Rex Ryan's defense flustered Fitzpatrick into throwing three interceptions, one that he threw into the end zone with the Jets in scoring territory. The Bills' offense controlled the clock for nearly 40 minutes of possession and, by doing so, limited the Jets' opportunities to score.

The Jets did get one last shot to score, and it's a moment that fans still haven't forgotten. Down five on their final drive of the game, with under 20 seconds left, Ryan Fitzpatrick would find a streaking Kenbrell Thompkins deep down the sideline.

Bills defensive back Mario Butler would separate the football from Thompkins' grasp at the last second. But surprisingly enough, Thompkins still had an opportunity to corral the football, and had he done so, would have been in the clear to score the game-winning touchdown.

Like the Jets' hopes on that fateful day in Buffalo, the ball and the playoffs fell tantalizingly out of Thompkins' reach.

Rex's revenge is eerily similar to Chad Pennington's seven seasons earlier. Two beloved and sometimes underappreciated figures in Jets lore came back to haunt their former team.

Pennington led the Dolphins to a division title after being discarded by the Jets and replaced with Brett Favre. He accomplished this by beating Favre and his former team in the season's final week.

Ironically enough, it was Pennington's revenge against the Jets that precipitated the arrival of Rex Ryan to New York.