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Jets, Patriots, Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick

Most savage Patriots-Jets rivalry moments

There are certain rivalries that carry more weight than others. The New England Patriots and New York Jets have a long history of drama that stems back for decades.

In recent years, the rivalry has been one-sided. The Patriots have won 16 of the last 18 regular season matchups dating back to 2011. The Jets have won just one AFC East title since 2002 while the Patriots have totaled 16. We all know what New England has done in the Super Bowl, winning six under Bill Belichick. while the Jets have not been back since their win in 1969.

Despite the lack of competition from New York, this rivalry has some of the best stories on and off the field. Here are the wildest moments in Patriots-Jets history.

5. Antonio Cromartie trash talk

When Rex Ryan was hired as head coach of the Jets, he brought a certain attitude and confidence to the locker room. Cromartie already had that cockiness in his game, but it never came out like it did before the team was preparing to take on the Patriots in the 2010 Divisional round of the playoffs.

In the days leading up to the game, Cromartie would trash talk Tom Brady in interviews using profanity and making harsh statements. This seemed to be a bold move at the time given New England had won their previous matchup, 45-3. Cromartie put a lot of pressure on the Jets to perform and they did just that.

The Jets earned an AFC Championship game berth with a 28-21 win in Foxborough. To this day, this victory is still the most satisfying win in franchise history, perhaps even more than their Super Bowl III title.

4. Mo Lewis knocks out Drew Bledsoe

The Patriots drafted a quarterback out of Michigan with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. That quarterback was Tom Brady and it was their best pick in franchise history, despite him being a sixth-rounder.

Brady’s legendary story began on September 23, 2001. Then-starting Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe took a snap with 5:03 left in the fourth quarter, trailing the Jets 10-3. He scrambled to his right and began down the sideline. Bledsoe was quickly floored by Jets’ linebacker Mo Lewis. When he was forced to leave the game, Brady came in to close it out. He went 5-10 for 46 yards in the loss. Brady would go onto be the starter for the rest of the 2001 season.

Bledsoe would see time in the AFC Championship game but Brady manned the Super Bowl and picked up his first ring. New England would go onto trade Bledsoe to the Buffalo Bills in April 2002. The history of the Patriots, this rivalry, and the entire league changed with this one hit in Week 2 of the 2001 season.

3. Parcells-Belichick Saga

Bill Parcells began a legendary career with the New York Giants in 1983. After eight years in New York, Parcells took some time off. In 1993, the Patriots lured Parcells out of retirement and he saw great success over four years. The Parcells era, however, fell apart in 1997.

There were issues regarding who to select in the 1997 NFL Draft. This led to Parcells resigning as the head coach of the team. It did not take long for the Jets to offer Parcells the same position. He would return to New York, but this time, it was in the AFC. However, there was a contractual restriction and Parcells could not accept the job right away. It ended with the Jets sending the Patriots four draft picks and in return, Patriots owner Robert Kraft would release Parcells from his contract.

When Parcells was putting together a staff in New York, he brought on Belichick to be an assistant coach. This would cause drama later on.

2. Spygate

The “spygate” scandal in this rivalry began in 1978. The Patriots dominated the Jets 55-21 and the loss did not sit well with New York. Head coach Walt Michaels accused the Patriots of stealing signs that led to the lopsided victory. Nearly 30 years later, history repeated itself.

It all began when former Patriots’ defensive coordinator Eric Mangini accepted the Jets’ head coaching position in 2006. One year later, Mangini told the NFL that the Patriots were illegally filming practices to steal signals. This came after a 38-14 Jets loss in Week 1 of the 2007 season. There were more accusations, much more serious, that have never been proven.

It ended with the Patriots forfeiting a first-round draft pick in 2008 after Belichick said that the team interpreted the memo differently than the NFL. New England ended up completing a perfect 16-0 season in 2007 that would end in a Super Bowl loss.

1. The Belichick Napkin

When talking about savage individuals in sports, Belichick is near the top of the list. He certainly pulled off the most savage moment in the history of the Jets-Patriots rivalry.

Parcells spent three years as head coach of the Jets and stepped down in 1999. He had hand-picked his successor, then-assistant Belichick. The deal was completed and Belichick was going to take the job and announce it during a news conference on January 4, 2000. It turns out that Belichick had other plans.

Belichick was fired as head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 1995 after going 36-44 in five years. He was ready for another chance but not with New York. During the news conference, where he was supposed to announce that he was taking the job, Belichick resigned as head coach of the Jets. In a savage move, Belichick made the announcement on a table napkin. He wrote, “I resign as HC of the NYJ.”

The combination of using a table napkin and not even taking the time to fully spell out his decision makes this the most savage moment in the Patriots and Jets’ combined histories. To make things worse for the Jets, Belichick is still coaching the Patriots, has won six Super Bowls and has completely dominated this rivalry in the win-loss column.