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5 greatest rivals in New York Jets franchise history

A charter member of the AFL, the New York Jets entered the Super Bowl era of the NFL with a chip on their shoulder, and since their sole championship, have fought back against mischaracterizations, mostly against their in-division foes and nearby franchises.

5. New York Giants

The only non-AFC on the list are Gang Green’s MetLife Stadium co-tenants, the New York Giants. The Giants and Jets’ rivalry is rather timid due to the infrequency of inter-conference play, coming mostly from the annual “Snoopy Bowl” in preseason and one regular-season matchup every four years.

The Jets have long maintained a “little brother” status in the greater New York area to the Giants due to a shorter history (established over 30 years after the G-Men) and fewer championships, with NYJ winning Super Bowl III and not a lot of postseason experience to boast about since then.

The Giants, whose stadium was named after them — and which the Jets played in prior to MetLife’s construction and after playing at Shea Stadium through the early 1980s — have rivaled the Jets mostly off the field in the attention and minds of New Yorkers.

The Jets own a 6-8 lifetime regular-season record against the Giants.

4. Indianapolis/Baltimore Colts

The only non-AFC East division rival of the Jets are the Indianapolis Colts, who matched up against Joe Namath and New York in Super Bowl III back when they were the Baltimore Colts and coached by Don Shula.

The Colts are also tied for the number of appearances as the Jets’ most frequent playoff opponent. The Midwest team has played Gang Green the most number of games outside of New York’s present division (going 41-29 against New York).

Besides Namath’s famous Super Bowl victory in January of 1969, the Jets have won two out of the franchises’ three meetings in this millennium, with NYJ quarterback Chad Pennington demolishing Peyton Manning 41-0 in the first round of the 2002-03 playoffs, and the No. 6 seed New York team beating an elder statesman Pennington in 2010-11.

The year before New York’s triumphant back-to-back wins over Manning and Tom Brady, the No. 1 seed Colts defeated the Jets in the conference title game, advancing to Super Bowl XLIV.

3. Buffalo Bills

Another in-state rivalry (if you count the “New York” Jets as New York residents), the Buffalo Bills have long existed as a foe. The most recent entries include Josh Allen and the Bills scoring 17 unanswered points to win in Week 1 in 2019 against Sam Darnold, along with ex-NYJ head coach Rex Ryan taking the Buffalo gig immediately following his dismissal from Gang Green.

The Jets own a 56-62 regular-season record against the Bills and both have shared the Patriots as a collective thorn in the side of the AFC East, alternating in years during Brady’s reign as potential challengers.

This rivalry could heat up soon if Darnold and Allen pan out as legit next-level quarterbacks in the league and in the same division.

2. Miami Dolphins

Plenty of this rivalry derives from the New York transplants living in south Florida. The Jets own a 55-52-1 regular-season record against their AFC East foe, and a few key moments in two franchises’ history occurred against one another.

The first, the “Fake Spike” came when Dan Marino led a Dolphins comeback over the Jets in November of 1994 as both teams sought contention in the AFC playoffs.

The second, the “Monday Night Miracle,” saw the Jets win an incredible comeback over Miami in October of 2000 after overcoming a 23-point deficit to start the fourth quarter.

1. New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have to be the Jets’ biggest rival. The Patriots own a 65-53-1 record in the regular season series, with many wins occurring while Brady was under center.

The Jets also beat the Patriots in 2010-11 on their AFC Championship Game run, squashing another prime Brady year chance at a Super Bowl. Before that, New York and New England met twice over 21 years in the playoffs, with the Pats winning in Jan. 2007 and Dec. 1985 (both wild card games).

The Patriots were also flagged for “SpyGate,” when the Foxborough franchise was taping Jets defensive coaches’ signals. New York head coach Bill Parcells joined the club right after leading New England. The greatest NYJ running back, Curtis Martin, won a title with the Pats (just like greatest New York cornerback Darrelle Revis).

These teams have a lot of history together, and just because Brady is gone (whose reign may have started when Gang Green took out Drew Bledsoe) doesn’t mean the rivalry will stop.