The New York Jets are a professional American football team based in the New York metropolitan area. They are members of the Eastern Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team plays its home games in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at Giants Stadium. The team is scheduled to play at Meadowlands Stadium beginning in the 2010 NFL season. In a unique arrangement, the team will share the stadium with the New York Giants. The team's training facility and corporate headquarters, which opened in 2008, are located in Florham Park, New Jersey. Previously they had headquartered and trained at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on Long Island.
The team began in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League under the name New York Titans. It was renamed after a five-man syndicate bought the team in 1963. The Jets later joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger.
The Jets hold the distinction of being the first AFL team to defeat an NFL club in an AFL-NFL World Championship Game when they defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
Originally known as the New York Titans, the team played home games at the Polo Grounds. But they had trouble attracting crowds despite fielding respectable teams that finished .500 (77) during their first two seasons. After a 59 season in 1962, the team's future was in doubt. It was saved from bankruptcy by a five-man syndicate David A. "Sonny" Werblin, Townsend B. Martin, Leon Hess, Donald C. Lillis and Philip H. Iselin, who purchased the New York franchise for $1 million from Harry Wismer
on March 13, 1964. Leon Hess eventually bought out his partners with the
exception of Lillis' daughter Helen Dillon with whom he co-owned the team until
February 1984 when Dillon, a partner since 1968, sold her 25 percent interest in
the club. Hess retained sole ownership until his death, when his estate then
sold the team to Johnson & Johnson heir Robert Wood Johnson IV in 2000
After Werblin, Martin, Hess, Lillis, and Iselin took over, the team was renamed the New York Jets as they planned to relocate from the Polo Grounds to Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets, one year later. Shea Stadium was so close to LaGuardia Airport that the sound of jets roaring overhead was a common sound heard during games played there. The colors of the team were also changed from blue and gold to kelly green and white, which also were the colors of Hess' gasoline stations.
Exactly one month after the sale of the team, the Jets hired Weeb Ewbank as head coach. Ewbank had won back-to-back NFL championships in 1958 and 1959 with the Baltimore Colts, and was one of the most respected coaches in the game.
The Jets improved steadily on the field after Joe Namath's arrival. In 1967, the former Alabama quarterback led the Jets to an 851 record, their best record yet. Namath reached a milestone by passing for 4,007 yards in 1967, a 14-game season, making him the first-ever professional quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in a season. This was especially remarkable considering that at the time, 3,000 yards passing was considered an excellent year.
In 1968, the Jets would reach the pinnacle of their existence and provide the moment that would indicate the AFL's coming of age. Under Namath's guidance, the Jets rose to the top of the AFL, defeating the Oakland Raiders in a thrilling AFL Championship Game, 2723, on December 29. The win qualified them to represent their league in a game that was being referred to for the first time as the Super Bowl (and referred to retroactively as Super Bowl III) on January 12, 1969. They were pitted against the champions of the NFL, the Baltimore Colts. At the time, the AFL was considered to be inferior to the NFL, and most people considered the Jets to be considerable underdogs and treated the Jets as such. That would change three nights before the game while Namath was being honored by the Miami Touchdown Club as its Player of the Year. Namath took exception to a heckling Colts fan and used that moment to lament the lack of respect his team had gotten to that point. He then said "We're gonna win the game. I guarantee you." His audacious remark proved correct, as the Jets created one of the greatest upsets in football history by defeating the Colts 167. This victory showed that the AFL was capable of competing with the NFL. It also gave Shea Stadium the first of two World Championships teams in the 1969 calendar year , as the New York Mets won the World Series nine months later.
In the 1969 season, the Jets won a second consecutive Eastern Division title with a record of 10 wins and 4 losses. In the playoffs, they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 13-6, at Shea Stadium on December 20.
Namath's career mirrored the Jets after the AFL-NFL merger became final in 1970. He missed much of the 1970, 1971, and 1973 seasons due to injuries, most notably to his ravaged knees, which robbed him of his mobility and much of his effectiveness. He would not throw more touchdowns than interceptions in a season after the merger, and in fact only had two post-merger seasons (1972 and 1974) where his performance could have been classified as reasonably successful (the Jets also had relative success in those years as well, finishing 77 both years). After a terrible 1976 season in which Namath only threw 4 touchdown passes against 16 interceptions (six of them in a 3824 loss to the New England Patriots) in 11 games, Namath was waived by the Jets when a trade couldn't be worked out to facilitate his move to the Los Angeles Rams. He would play only four games for the Rams before announcing his retirement at the end of the season, at the relatively young age of 34. Although Namath would make the Hall of Fame, it was widely acknowledged that he made it on his performance through the 1969 season and his role in leading the Jets to a victory in Super Bowl III.
Post Joe Namath
After Namath's departure, Walt Michaels was hired for the 1977 season and stayed with the team for six years. In Michaels's first year, the Jets finished 311 for the third straight year. However, the Jets were rejuvenated for the 1978 season, with unheralded quarterback Matt Robinson replacing Richard Todd and throwing for 2,000 yards and the team finishing 88. The Jets were actually 86 after the first 14 games and had a chance at a playoff berth, but they lost their final two games. Richard Todd again took over under center for the 1979 season and did even better, but the Jets again finished 88.
Todd imploded with a 30-interception season in 1980, and the team went down with him, finishing 412, last place in the AFC East. The lowest point was a 2120 loss to the then 014 New Orleans Saints, who would eventually finish 115.
The 1981 season was the Jets' first winning season since the AFL-NFL merger. The Jets would finish 10-5-1 and make the playoffs for the first time since 1969 on Richard Todd's 3,231 yards passing and 25 touchdowns, most of them to Wesley Walker and Jerome Barkum. A late comeback in their first playoff game, against the Buffalo Bills, was stopped when Todd threw an interception deep in Bills territory in the final minute, and the Jets were eliminated. One of the Jets' bright spots for the 1981 season was their defensive line. All-Pros Mark Gastineau and Joe Klecko anchored the "New York Sack Exchange" and combined for more than 40 quarterback sacks. The line also featured Marty Lyons and Abdul Salaam.
In 1982, powered by the Sack Exchange and running back Freeman McNeil, the Jets went through Cincinnati and the Raiders in the playoffs for a meeting in the conference finals with the Miami Dolphins. Richard Todd almost single handedly ruined this game for them by throwing 5 interceptions -- 3 of them by A.J. Duhe. The Dolphins would wind up winning this controversial game in the mud of the Orange Bowl (game would be known as the Mud Bowl). The Dolphins ownership and coaches decided not to tarp the field during heavy rains the day before the game, slowing down the Jets pass rushing and their running game. Walt Michaels left the Jets to become head coach of the USFL's New Jersey Generals in the spring of 1984.
Joe Walton became the new coach for the 1983 season, and he led the team to a 79 season.
Move to the Meadowlands (19841989)
After the 1983 season, the Jets' lease with the city for the use of Shea Stadium expired, and the Jets would have needed to cut a new deal to remain at the stadium. Due to the complexity of switching Shea from baseball to football configuration, the Jets had faced onerous lease terms at the stadium until 1978 when they weren't able to play home games until the Mets completed their season. Often the Mets' status as the stadium's primary tenant would necessitate that the Jets go on long road trips early in the season.
Giants Stadium was home to the Jets from 1984 to 2010.The Jets failed to reach an agreement with the City of New York about improvements to Shea Stadium, and instead reached an agreement with the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority to play their home games at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey beginning in 1984. The Jets played their last game at Shea in 1983, a 347 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jets first game at Giants Stadium in 1984 was a loss to the Steelers as well, 23-17.
Despite the move to Giants Stadium, the Jets organization made the decision to remain the "New York" Jets, mirroring the decision made by the Giants in 1976 when they moved, thus staking a claim to fans throughout the Metropolitan New York Tri-State area. Furthermore, despite being in a different state, the Jets' new home was closer to Times Square and midtown Manhattan than Shea Stadium was, as the crow flies across the Hudson River; although considerably farther from the team's Long Island fans and Hofstra University offices and training facilities. In their first season at their new home, veteran quarterback Pat Ryan would start, 1983 first round draft pick Ken O'Brien would eventually take over at quarterback; but the team stumbled to a 79 record. It is worth noting that the Jets passed over Dan Marino in the draft, in favor of Ken O'Brien.
In 1985, O'Brien threw 25 touchdowns (including 7 to Mickey Shuler and 5 to Wesley Walker) with only 8 interceptions, and four different rushers combined for 18 touchdowns on the ground. The Jets made the playoffs with an 115 record, and hosted their first playoff game in 16 years; however they were defeated in the first round by the eventual AFC champion New England Patriots 2614.
The Jets won 9 straight games during the 1986 season en route to a 101 start. Wesley Walker caught 12 touchdowns, with second-year player Al Toon catching 8. The team slid through December, losing five straight to finish 106. Pat Ryan was named the starting quarterback for the playoffs, and they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs handily in the first round.
In their divisional playoff matchup in Cleveland against the Browns, the Jets lost in double-overtime on a field goal by Mark Moseley, denying them a berth in the AFC Championship game. In the fourth quarter of this game, the Jets held a 10-point lead when they inexplicably shifted to a prevent defense which enabled Browns' quarterback Bernie Kosar to lead his team downfield easily. The comeback effort was enhanced when Kosar threw an incomplete pass on 2nd down and 24, but Mark Gastineau was penalized for roughing the passer to give Cleveland a first down at their own 33. On that drive, the Browns would get a touchdown and, eventually, a game-tying field goal in the closing seconds of regulation.
In 1990, the Jets hired Dick Steinberg from the New England Patriots to be the franchise's General Manager. One of his first moves was to hire Bruce Coslet, offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals as head coach. Coslet's offensive schemes had helped lead the Bengals to the 1988 Super Bowl where they nearly defeated the San Francisco 49ers. Steinberg and Coslet let most of the key players from the 1980s go and built from scratch.
In 1991, with Brad Baxter tallying a career-high 11 rushing touchdowns, the Jets improved to 88, winning their season finale against the Miami Dolphins to earn a trip to the playoffs and deny one to the rival Dolphins. Despite their modest regular season record, the Jets played a close game against the Houston Oilers in their opening-round playoff game, losing 1710.
After their successful 1991 season, Jets fans expectations were high. Coslet chose second-year quarterback Browning Nagle as their starter over Ken O'Brien, which came as somewhat of a surprise at first, but Nagle had shown some promise and seemed to be ready to take the job. Unfortunately for the Jets, Nagle was not up for the job, and the Jets disappointed fans with a 412 finish. The year was marked by a near-tragedy in November when defensive lineman Dennis Byrd was temporarily paralyzed when he collided with teammate Scott Mersereau in a home game against Kansas City. Thanks to whatat the timewas a relatively untested steroid treatment, Byrd was able to walk again in a matter of months.
After the 1992 season, having again identified the quarterback position as a position of need, the Jets traded a third-round pick for longtime Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason. Coslet and Esiason had worked together successfully in Cincinnati, and the hope was that they could continue that success with the Jets. Although a mid-season winning streak gave Jets fans hope, they missed the playoffs at 88 with a loss to Houston in their final game. Coslet was fired as head coach and replaced by Pete Carroll.
Off the field, the Jets also enjoyed a boost in their local profile when WFAN-AM, one of the highest profile stations in the country, acquired the radio rights to the Jets. Although WFAN had contracts with other New York-area professional teams, they lacked a contract with a pro football franchise, and when WCBS-AM decided to not renew the sports rights packages they had acquired, WFAN took advantage of the opportunity to cover the Jets. The strength of the clear-channel WFAN signal (it should be noted that WCBS is itself clear-channel), as well as the fact that the Jets would be carried on a dedicated sports-radio station with a rabid and loyal following, gave the Jets a broader reach and visibility with their potential audience that they had not enjoyed previously. WFAN and WCBS are now sister stations.
The Jets started the 1994 season 65 and played Miami on November 27. In a game against the Dolphins, Dan Marino fooled Jet defender Aaron Glenn into thinking that he would spike the ball to stop the clock, then threw the winning touchdown to Mark Ingram with less than a minute left for the victory. The play came to be known as "The Fake Spike." The Jets would lose their last four games, finishing the season 610, last place in the AFC East. Carroll was fired after only one season and replaced by former Philadelphia Eagles coach Rich Kotite.
During Kotite's two-year term in New York, the Jets won only four games: a 313 record in 1995, and 115 in 1996, in both cases the worst in the NFL. Having lost his last seven games as the Eagles' coach, Kotite finished his NFL head coaching career with a 435 record in his final 39 gamesone of the worst prolonged stretches for an NFL head coach in history.
Kotite did set the stage for a franchise rebirth under Bill Parcells by drafting Keyshawn Johnson and signing Neil O'Donnell.
Bill Parcells and the Jets 199799
After the 1996 season, the Jets would go on to enjoy a sort of resurgence in relatively short order. New England Patriots coach Bill Parcells, fresh off of leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl, left Foxboro to take the Jets' coaching job for the 1997 season. Parcells was attracted not only by a return to the New York area, where he had enjoyed his greatest success with the Giants, but also by the opportunity to both coach and have full control over personnel decisions. Parcells had craved this dual role in New England, and was quoted as saying that "if (he) cooks the meal, (he) should be able to buy the groceries."
The draft set the stage for a quick turnaround in the late 1990s, most notably Keyshawn Johnson, a wide receiver from USC who was picked #1 overall in the 1996 draft. The pick of Johnson not only gave the Jets a skill position player they desperately needed, but an on-field identity and swagger the team had lacked since the days of Joe Namath. The results of Parcells' takeover were immediate. Neil O'Donnell, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, threw for 17 touchdowns in his only full year as the Jets' starting quarterback, and Adrian Murrell ran for 1,000 yards. The Jets finished 97, but missed the playoffs, in part because of a somewhat curious call by Parcells against the Detroit Lions. Parcells had Leon Johnson throw a halfback option, which was intercepted. After that play, Barry Sanders took over the game and went over the 2,000-yard rushing mark on the year. Overall, the Jets enjoyed an eight-game turnaround and quickly won back the respect of the league and their fans.
Looking to build on his 1997 success, Parcells signed Patriots running back Curtis Martin and, which at the time, seemed like a move to secure the backup quarterback position, Vinny Testaverde as free agents in time for the 1998 season, which turned out to be the most successful for the team since the 1960s. At Parcells's urging, the Jets also reverted to their classic logo and uniform style, although with a darker shade of green. Parcells said that when he was a young coach, he would see the successful late-60's Jets practice in those uniforms, and Parcells associated that uniform and logo with those of a successful team.
Parcells's personnel moves paid immediate dividends. After starting Glenn Foley in the first couple of games, Parcells went to Testaverde, who ended up throwing 28 touchdowns, Martin ran for 1,287 yards and 8 touchdowns, while both Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet had 1,000 yards receiving. The Jets won 10 of their last 11 games and finished the season 124, setting a team record for wins in a season. After a first-round bye, the Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in their divisional home playoff game, winning 3424 with a game-ending interception by Keyshawn Johnson, who had previously scored on a pass and a run. The playoff game was the first home playoff game the Jets had since 1986, when they defeated Kansas City 3515 in a wild-card game. Although New York enjoyed a 100 lead in the third quarter of the AFC championship against the Denver Broncos, Testaverde threw two late interceptions and Denver running back Terrell Davis burned the Jets for 167 yards and a touchdown as the Broncos won 2310.
The Jets high hopes for the 1999 season were greatly compromised in their first game against the New England Patriots, when, on the first play of the second quarter, Testaverde ruptured his Achilles tendon. Backup QB Rick Mirer took over, quarterbacking the Jets to a 26 record, after which Ray Lucas became the starter. Lucas sparked the team by winning five of his eight starts, but it was not enough as the Jets finished 88 and outside of the playoffs.
Before the 1999 season, Leon Hess, longtime owner of the Jets, died at age 85. Hess had hired Parcells, and Parcells's role under the new ownership was unclear. As had happened when Parcells was in New England, the ownership that hired him soon was succeeded by new ownership. Despite new owner Woody Johnson's desire to keep Parcells as head coach, Parcells stepped down as head coach at the season's end. However, he remained the team's Chief of Football Operations.
2000-2007: Chad Pennington
Chad Pennington talks with teammates during a 2006 game against the Houston Texans.In the 2000 NFL Draft, the Jets had four first-round selections. They drafted defensive ends Shaun Ellis and John Abraham, tight end Anthony Becht and quarterback Chad Pennington. Parcells' handpicked successor, Bill Belichick, resigned after one day on the job (infamously writing on a napkin "I resign as HC of the NYJ") and ended up taking the head coaching job with the Patriots. The Jets would eventually receive a first-round draft pick for Belichick's rights. After Belichick's departure, Parcells promoted longtime assistant Al Groh from linebacker coach to head coach for the 2000 season. Once Al Groh became Jets head coach the first move was to trade Keyshawn Johnson to the Tampa Bay Bucs for a first-round pick. Rumors circulated in New York that Groh didn't want to handle a guy like Johnson who had such a strong persona. Keyshawn made a comment before the Jets traveled to Florida to face the Bucs that he was like a star in the sky and Wayne Chrebet, his former teammate, was like a flashlight. In the game down in Tampa, Chrebet went on to out-play Johnson, scoring a touchdown on an option pass from Martin to win the game for New York. For the rest of the year Chrebet was known as the Green Lantern. The Jets won 6 of their first 7 games, capped by the biggest comeback in Monday Night Football history against the Dolphins. Down 307 entering the fourth quarter, the Jets exploded for 30 points in the last 15 minutes, and John Hall kicked the winning field goal in overtime. It came to be known as "The Monday Night Miracle". It was the highlight of the season, but they only won three of their last 9 games, finishing at 97 and out of the playoffs. Behind the scenes, the Jets' players, because they felt overworked and fed up with Groh's militaristic style, staged a near-mutiny against their coach. Groh resigned after his first season to coach the team at his alma mater, the University of Virginia. Parcells also left the organization after the 2000 season, to be replaced by Kansas City Chiefs executive Terry Bradway.
Under new coach Herman Edwards, who had been the assistant head coach and defensive backs coach under Tony Dungy with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Jets were streaky through the 2001 season in a highly competitive AFC East. The team managed to salvage a wild card playoff berth with a 53-yard game-winning field goal against the Oakland Raiders in the final minute, forcing a rematch with the Raiders in the opening postseason game. The results were different, however, as Oakland running back Charlie Garner sealed the game with an 80-yard touchdown on third down to extend the Raiders' lead to 38-24 with 87 seconds left. During that play, many Jets fans felt that safety Victor Green was held to allow Garner to break through the line, but no penalty was called.
The AFC East proved to be even more competitive in 2002, with all four teams in the race well into December. Testaverde was benched early in the season with the team at 14, and replaced with Chad Pennington, who proved to be the spark the Jets needed. Pennington threw 22 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions, and a final-week win over the Green Bay Packers, coupled with a Patriots win over the Dolphins, gave them the AFC East title at 97. The Jets would cruise through their opening playoff game at home with a 410 blowout of the Indianapolis Colts, but collapsed in the second half and lost the to the eventual AFC champion Raiders in the divisional playoffs with the score of 3010.
The Jets lost several players to free agency before the 2003 season, many to the Washington Redskins; these players were known as the "Jetskins", including starting wide receiver Laveranues Coles (Coles would later return to the team through a trade with the Redskins for another young Jet WR, Santana Moss.) Additionally, a pre-season injury to Pennington, a broken wrist during a game against the Giants, would adversely affect the Jets throughout 2003. It would be Testaverde (whose injury in the 1999 season opener similarly set the tone for the year) who was called upon to take over. Though Testaverde gave his best effort, and Pennington came back midway through the season, it was not enough. The Jets finished 610.
Pennington and the Jets started the 2004 season 50 before losing 2 of their next 3. Despite struggling down the stretch and having Pennington miss three games (later revealed to be an injured rotator cuff), the Jets finished with a 106 record and earned a wild-card berth. Herman Edwards' team then faced the AFC West champion San Diego Chargers in the wild-card round, a team that featured Pro Bowlers Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Antonio Gates. The Jets took advantage of San Diego miscues and what some felt was an overly conservative strategy by the Chargers. But with the Jets leading, 17-10, with less than 20 seconds left in regulation, Jets linebacker Eric Barton was penalized for roughing the passer, nullifying Brees' fourth down incompletion and giving San Diego a first down from the one-yard line. Brees threw a touchdown to tight end Gates on the following play, setting up overtime. Chargers rookie kicker Nate Kaeding missed a 40-yard field goal late in the extra period, allowing the Jets to come back down the field. Kicker Doug Brien won the game for the Jets with a 28-yard field goal with five seconds remaining in overtime to beat the Chargers 2017.
The game sent the Jets to the divisional round against the 151 Pittsburgh Steelers. While the offense struggled producing only a field goal, a punt return by Santana Moss and interception return by Reggie Tongue kept the Jets in the game. With the score tied at 1717 late in the fourth quarter, Doug Brien lined up for a 47-yard field goal attempt that would have put the Jets up. However it hit the crossbar of the goal post just short of being successful.
Despite this the Jets came through yet again, with an interception by cornerback David Barrett on the next play. Rather than try to drive for a touchdown or otherwise get closer for a game-winning field goal, the Jets seemed content to settle for a 43-yard field goal attempt that would have given the Jets the winironically, the same unsuccessful strategy the Chargers had employed the previous week. Brien's kick missed, wide left, forcing the game into overtime. The Jets would lose on a 33-yard field goal by Pittsburgh kicker Jeff Reed, as the Jets fell just short yet again. In the days following the loss, many people and pundits opined that the Jets lost this game by not being aggressive and being too willing to settle for a risky field goal attempt, ignoring the fact that Brien had been 10-11 in field goal attempts between 40-49 yards on the season. Others, however, contend that none of those field goals had been in the notoriously unpredictable winds of Heinz Field, voted by the league's special teamers as the worst field to kick in every year since 2000.
Laveranues Coles, Jets Wide receiver 2000-2002, 2005-2008The Jets entered the season with high hopes of contending for the Super Bowl, but their hopes were dismantled in week three against the Jaguars when Chad Pennington reinjured his shoulder. Even worse, their backup quarterback Jay Fiedler was injured six plays after Pennington. They were both placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. The injuries caused previous third-string quarterback Brooks Bollinger to take the role as the team's starter and Vinny Testaverde was brought back out of retirement as Bollinger's backup. After a poor showing by the Jets' offense in a loss, Testaverde would start the Week 5 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His steady hand led the offense, and Curtis Martin scored two touchdowns, giving the Jets just enough to earn a 1412 victory over the previously undefeated Buccaneers.
But the season got very sour after the victory over Tampa Bay. They would lose their next 7 games before finally beating the Oakland Raiders in Week 14. The injuries of several key players, including running back Derrick Blaylock and cornerback David Barrett, and season-ending injuries of wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, tight end Chris Baker, right tackle Jason Fabini, and Pro bowl starting center Kevin Mawae, among others, severely hampered their ability to play competitively.
Even in the victory against the Raiders, the Jets suffered another morale-sagging injury. Running back Curtis Martin did not play in the game due to a season-ending knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery. The Jets' only noteworthy accomplishment of the remainder of the season would be their participation in the final Monday Night Football game aired on ABC, a 31-21 home loss to the Patriots. They ended the year with a 412 record and "earned" the fourth pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, which they used to select D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
On January 8, 2006, Herm Edwards ended his time as head coach of the Jets and he signed a 4-year, $12,000,000 contract to become the new head of the Kansas City Chiefs and succeed his original mentor Dick Vermeil, who was Edwards' head coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jets received a 4th round draft pick from the Chiefs as compensation for Edwards, who was still under contract with the Jets at the time. That pick, ended up being used to select the dynamic running back from Florida State, Leon Washington.
On January 17, the Jets-Patriots coaching pipeline reared itself yet again, as New England defensive coordinator Eric Mangini was hired by the Jets.
The Jets finished the regular season with a record of 106, having defeated the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, and the Oakland Raiders in their last three games. The Jets earned an AFC Wild Card spot in the playoffs, the number 5 seed and surprised most pundits who predicted a rebuilding year. Players celebrated afterwards by saying the word "playoffs", a word Mangini banished during the regular season to focus players on the regular season.
On January 7, 2007, the Jets played rival AFC East champion New England Patriots. The Jets had both beaten and lost to the Patriots in the regular season. While the Jets took an early 107 lead after a field goal and a 77-yard touchdown catch and run by Jerricho Cotchery, which was the second longest pass play in Wild Card history, the Jets were not able to score another touchdown, and the Patriots closed out the game after two turnovers by the Jets offense. The Jets postseason ended with a 3716 loss. One notable aspect of the game was the rivalry between Patriot head coach Bill Belichick and Jet head coach Eric Mangini. The two were not on good terms, and their relationship was widely publicized before the game. Regardless, at games end, the two embraced.
On September 10, Bill Belichick was accused by the Jets of authorizing his staff to film the Jets' defensive signals from an on-field location, a violation of league rules. The Jets confiscated the video camera used by video assistant Matt Estrella to film the signals during the game and filed a complaint to the league office, detailing the accusations.
The 2007 season opened with high expectations from fans, as the lackluster 2006 running game was boosted by the addition of former Chicago Bears running back Thomas Jones. Chad Pennington, who a year earlier had been named NFL Comeback Player of the Year, having overcome what many thought was a career ending rotator cuff injury, began to be hampered by a high ankle sprain that he suffered week 1 against the New England Patriots & also made him miss week 2 verse the Baltimore Ravens. After the team struggled to a 17 start, second year quarterback Kellen Clemens replaced Pennington as the starting quarterback. Though Clemens showed himself to be a strong, athletic quarterback, he was unable to turn the ailing team around due to an offensive line that could not keep him safe long enough to throw effective passes. Clemens earned his first professional win on November 18, as the Jets defeated the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers, 1916, in overtime. The Jets would go on to finish the season 412 and obtained the sixth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, which they used to select Vernon Gholston. During the offseason, the Jets made former Pittsburgh Steelers left guard Alan Faneca the highest paid offensive lineman in the National Football League. The Jets then signed former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Calvin Pace, former Detroit Lions right tackle Damien Woody, fullback Tony Richardson, cornerback Andre Woolfolk, tight end Bubba Franks, and running back Jesse Chatman.
2008: Brett Favre
Brett Favre playing against the Washington Redskins in the 2008 preseason.On August 6, 2008, the Jets acquired quarterback Brett Favre from the Green Bay Packers for a conditional 4th round draft pick. The Jets had originally intended to pick Favre in the 1991 NFL Draft, but the Atlanta Falcons, who were one spot ahead of the Jets, chose him instead. On August 7, 2008, the day that Brett Favre had been traded to the Jets, they decided to part ways with former starting quarterback Chad Pennington. He was released from the team later on in the day, and eventually went on to sign with the Miami Dolphins. The Jets finished the regular season with a 97 record, eliminated from playoff contention while Pennington won his second Comeback Player of the Year Award and led Miami to win the division.
The Jets had a league high and franchise record 7 Pro-bowlers (Favre, Faneca, Mangold, Jones, Revis, Jenkins, Washington).
On December 29, 2008, Eric Mangini was fired as head coach of the New York Jets after 3 seasons, with a regular season record of 23 wins and 25 losses.
2009: Mark Sanchez & Rex Ryan
On January 19, 2009, following Baltimore's loss in the AFC Championship, the New York Jets offered Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan a four-year deal worth 11.6 million dollars to become their head coach. Ryan accepted the offer and he was introduced as head coach of the Jets on Wednesday January 21, 2009.
On February 11, 2009, Quarterback Brett Favre announced he was retiring from the NFL after 18 seasons. However, Favre came out of retirement for the second time and signed with the Minnesota Vikings on August 18, 2009.
On February 27, 2009, the Jets signed linebacker Bart Scott to a 6 year, $48 million dollar contract. He was one of three former Ravens (Jim Leonhard and Marques Douglas) to follow Ryan to the Jets that year.
In the 2009 NFL Draft, the Jets traded with newly hired Browns coach Eric Mangini to acquire the 5th overall pick and selected quarterback Mark Sanchez from USC. In the exchange, the Jets had traded its original first round pick (#17 overall) and four players. The Jets also traded up in the third round to acquire Iowa running back Shonn Greene. On June 9, 2009 the Jets and Mark Sanchez agreed to a 5-year/$50 million deal with $28 million guaranteed, becoming the highest-paid New York Jet in the history of the franchise.
The Jets started the 2009 season 3-0, then lost 6 of their next 7 games to find themselves at 4-6 and left for dead. After winning 3 straight games to get back over .500 at 7-6, the Jets lost in the final seconds against the Falcons, which seemingly eliminated them from the playoffs (which rookie head coach Rex Ryan needed to be corrected on). However with a win over the Colts and 37-0 victory in the final game at Giants Stadium and the regular season finale over the Bengals they earned the #5 seed in the playoffs. Thomas Jones also broke his own record from last season, scoring 14 touchdowns in the regular season. The Jets then defeated the #4 seeded Bengals, for a second straight week, this time in Cincinnati, 24-14, to move past the Wild Card round and on to the Divisional Round against the #2 seeded San Diego Chargers in San Diego. In their Divisional Round game against the Chargers, the Jets won 17-14 and moved on to the AFC Championship Game against the #1 seeded Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis.