Top 5 New York Jets games are hard to find

In the third game of the 1961 season versus the Boston Patriots, Titans fullback Bill Mathis broke his collarbone and this jersey was cut and removed from his body as he was helped off the field. Despite the injury, Mathis went on to play all 14 games that season - a testament to the toughness exhibited by the players of the American Football League. He led the AFL that year with 202 attempts, was second in rushing yards with 846 and second in touchdowns with seven.

5. October 14, 1962 Houston 56 Titans 17

....Polo Grounds. Where people were disguised as seats on a regular basis

In the November 19, 1961 game in Houston, the Titans turned the ball over four times, including three interceptions. They were sacked four times as well. Houston QB George Blanda threw seven TD passes in 32 attempts, completing 20 for 259 yards. George had also kicked seven extra points. Bill Croman, Billy Cannon and Charlie Hennigan all had over 100 yards receiving on the afternoon for the Oilers.

Houston pushed the Titans around while committing 11 penalties, and resting their starters for the fourth quarter with a lead of 49-6.

The "get even" rematch by the Titans turned into another shellacking. The Titans committed six turnovers. New York was sacked nine times, mustered only 93 yards passing and 47 rushing.

The Oilers poured it on from the outset. Houston kept the starters in for almost all four quarters as QB George Blanda threw six TD passes. George completed 13 of 24 passes. Backup QB Jacky Lee tossed a 35 yard TD pass to WR Willard Dewveall for his only catch of the game. Blanda kicked his eighth extra point. Houston committed nine penalties, but still outgained the Titans by nearly 300 yards.

The two game total was Houston 105 - New York 30. The two games played at the Polo Grounds in New York during this time were not much better with Houston winning, 42-28 and 48-21.

4. November 2, 1963 San Diego 53 New York 7

In their final season at the Polo Grounds, the New York Jets had replaced the team name of Titans. The team would be moving into a new facility for 1964, Shea Stadium.

Attendance had improved following the 1962 campaign when crowds of no more than 7,400 were in the stands. The prospect of a new stadium with a new name and new uniforms brought an average of 14,000 fans to the games. 18, 336 were on hand to witness the San Diego Chargers in the next to last home game at the Polo Grounds.

The Jets were no match for the powerhouse San Diego Chargers. New York could only gain 39 yards on the ground. The Jets threw two interceptions, fumbled twice and were sacked four times. It was 45-0 in the fourth quarter when the Jets finally got on the board on a 4 yard TD pass from QB Dick Wood to Dick Guesman.

The Chargers were led by veteran QB Tobin Rote. Tobin was 21 for 29, passing for 369 yards and three TD's. WR Lance Alworth caught five passes for 180 yards. Excellent running backs, Paul Lowe and Keith Lincoln combined for 142 yards rushing and made seven catches for 84 yards. The backup QB, rookie John Hadl threw a late TD pass of 8 yards to WR Jerry Robinson. The two point conversion was Hadl to Robinson to cap the scoring, 53-7.

Tobin Rote is the only quarterback to lead his team to both an NFL and AFL championship

The final home game was a 19-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills in front of only 5, 826 fans. This was a rescheduled game that was postponed following the JFK assassination.

3. September 12, 1999 New England 30 New York 28

The opening season game at Giants Stadium brought great hope for the Jets. Following the 12-4 record from 1998, in addition to the playoff victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York looked for its second consecutive division title. The 1998 Jets are one of only two teams in NFL history to win seven games against teams that would go on to make the playoffs.

The Jets were coached by Bill Parcells. The defensive coordinator was Bill Belichick. The bad blood between the teams had boiled over when the Jets signed New England free agent RB Curtis Martin, just two years ago.

A torn achilles injury in the second quarter to New York QB Vinny Testaverde ended the season for the veteran signal caller. Vinny's replacement was the seldom used backup, Tom Tupa. Tom would finish the afternoon six for 10 passing for 165 yards and two TD's. One TD pass to WR Keyshawn Johnson went for 65 yards. Tom's QB rating was 143.8.

The Patriots were led by QB Drew Bledsoe who passed for 340 yards with 21 completions in 30 attempts. Drew had a fourth quarter interception returned for a TD by Jets LB Bryan Cox of 27 yards. New York grabbed the lead at 28-27. Following the score, New York attempted its second straight two point conversion. Neither one was successful.

Tupa scored the first two-point conversion in NFL history, running in a faked extra point attempt for the Browns in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first week of the 1994 season. He scored a total of three such conversions that season, earning him the nickname "Two Point Tupa."

The Jets were forced to use emergency QB Rick Mirer. Rick struggled in relief of Tupa throwing two interceptions on 4 of 11 passing. His QB rating was 5.3. His second interception by CB Ty Law allowed the Patriots to get in range for a short field goal attempt.

New England K Adam Vinatieri delivered a 23 yard field goal as time expired.

The rivalry would reach new heights following the 1999 season when Bill Belichick resigned at the press conference while being named the new Jets' head coach. Belichick cited the Jets' uncertain ownership situation following the death of owner Leon Hess earlier that year as the reason for his resignation.

2. December 16, 1973 Buffalo 34 New York 14

The Bills were coming off a 4-9-1 campaign in 1972. Buffalo was attempting to become the first NFL team to rush for over 3, 000 yards in a season. The Jets were 4-9 and in last place in the AFC East. Weeb Ewbank was coaching his last game after 11 years as the Jets' head coach and general manager. Weeb's defensive line coach was Buddy Ryan who was the father of twin boys, Rob and Rex.

Joe Namath started only five games on the season. In the season finale, Joe was sacked three times and completed only 13 of 30 passes. He did throw for 206 yards with 2 TD passes, but was under constant pressure all day from the Buffalo pass rush. The New York offensive line was inept in protecting their franchise QB. This was the fourth consecutive losing season for the Jets.

Buffalo featured the best rushing attack in NFL history. RB O.J. Simpson had rushed for 1803 in 13 games. In Week 14, the Bills carried the ball 62 times for 304 yards. FB Jim Braxton rushed 24 times for 98 yards and two TD's. RB Larry Watkins carried twice for six yards. QB Joe Ferguson threw only five times, completing three for 70 yards.

The day belonged to Bills' RB O.J. Simpson. The explosive offense which centered around O.J. Simpson was nicknamed the "Electric Company" for its ability to turn on "The Juice." O.J. carried 34 times for 200 yards and a TD. A six yard run around the left end midway through the fourth quarter put Simpson into the record books with 2,003 yards rushing in 14 games. Buffalo led 34-7 when O.J. left the game to a standing ovation from 47,740 New York fans. O.J. had averaged six yards per carry, and 143 yards per game for the entire season.

1. January 23, 1983 Miami 14 New York 0

T.J. Rosenthal, turnonthejets:
How could something like this happen? How could the Orange Bowl’s field have not been attended to during a monsoon in the days leading up to the big game?
It had rained for 72 straight hours. Yet, curiously, the field at the Orange Bowl had not been covered by a tarp, as was league policy. The blame has to go to Dolphins head coach Don Shula.

The result was a game played in a bog, neutralizing the Jets’ superior team speed. Neither offense could move the ball. It was 0-0 at halftime.

The Jets' anemic offense produced only 10 first downs. New York rushed for 62 yards and passed for only 77. The Dolphins didn't fare much better with 138 yards rushing and 60 yards passing. The teams combined for nine turnovers and 19 punts. New York QB Richard Todd threw five interceptions, three to Miami LB AJ Duhe who returned one of those for a touchdown in the fourth to seal the win, 14-0. Richard finished with a QB rating of 13.5.

Miami QB David Woodley tossed three interceptions. David completed only 9 of 21 passes for 60 yards and a QB rating of 14.2 in a winning effort.

Brad Parks, NYPost:
A life sentence - "That’s what being a fan is all about. It’s about that irrational fervor you know is shared by so many others. It’s about seeing a guy in the grocery store with a Jets hat on and giving him a nod because he understands you."

The Jets have the distinction of being the last NFL team to play a team from another league. During the 1972 preseason, a squad composed of the Jets' rookies defeated the Long Island Chiefs of the Seaboard Football League, 29–3.

I can't make this stuff up.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

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