Should you find yourself at the Thanksgiving table with relatives or in-laws who are New England fans tomorrow, here are a few bits of history with which to familiarize yourself about the Jets/Patriots rivalry this millennium. Note: should you have in-laws who are Jets fans, I’m sorry you married into that, and please refer to the Jets section of this website.
- In 2000 Coach Belichick resigned as head coach of the New York Jets after only one day at the job. His resignation came Warren Buffet-style on a napkin, and showed an early clue to Belichick’s penchant for verbosity: “I resign as HC from the NYJ.”
- A year later, in the second game of the 2001 season, Patriot’s quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured by Moe Lewis, forcing the Patriots to bring in their then-unheralded sixth round draft pick Tom Brady. While the Jets won the game, the Patriots went on to win their first Super Bowl with Tom at the helm.
- In a Reverse Belichick, defensive coordinator Eric Mangini leaves his mentor in New England to become the head coach of the Jets before the 2006 season. Much media brouhaha focuses on the subsequent post-game handshakes by the two men.
- Mangini improves the Jets to 10-6 in 2006 but gets smoked by the Patriots in the playoffs. Perhaps still bitter at the beginning of the 2007 season, Mangini bites the hand that fed him and tells the NFL that the Patriots were taping opponents’ practices (a no-no), causing the team to lose their first round draft pick in addition to being fined $250k. Belichick pays $500k for his role in the scandal known as “Spygate”. Karma never favors the rat, and Mangini gets fired by the Jets, then the Browns, before leaving the coaching ranks entirely. The Patriots go 16-0 in the 2007 regular season before losing a heartbreaking Super Bowl to the Giants.
- In 2009 the Jets hire the colorful Rex Ryan as their head coach, who tells the media “I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick’s, you know, rings.” Patriots fans rejoice at having a new villain at which to spit vitriol.
- The Jets give up and wave Danny Woodhead, a 5’8” running back, after mediocre performance in 2009. Woodhead joins the Patriots, who never fear little men, and becomes a reliable third down back in New England.
- The 2010 season tips in the Jets favor. Tom Brady tells a radio show that he “hates” the Jets before the 2010 season. The Jets use this as fodder for their victory over the Patriots in September, and continue to refer to the interview today.
- The Patriots 2010 season ends with a humiliating loss to the Jets in the playoffs. Prior to the game a personal video surfaces that reveals Coach Ryan has a foot fetish. Star Patriot Wes Welker gets himself benched for the start of the game (thus contributing to the loss) because he made 11 foot-oriented comments in a pre-game press conference (video here). The Jets sack Brady 5 times, leading to greater hatred by Tom.
Related: Patriots/Jets: 5 Things to Watch
The Patriots/Jets Rivalry is lopsided 18-7 in favor of the Patriots since Tom and Bill took over in 2001. This Thanksgiving matchup should be no different, as the Jets defense has been injured and Tom Brady is a far superior quarterback to Mark Sanchez. However, Tom’s favorite tight end Rob Gronkowski was injured during last week’s game, leaving a few questions about the Patriots offense to go along with a Patriots defense that made Mark Sanchez look good in their first matchup of the season (which the Patriots won in overtime). However, as long as Brady and the Patriots secondary avoid the turkey before the game, they should be able to avoid one on the field.