The rivalry between the Dolphins and the Patriots may have eclipsed all others given the Patriots long running dominance over the AFC East. However, the Dolphins’ rivalry with the Jets is something seeded deeper in history. It’s something fans of both teams feel in their guts. Dolphins-Jets battles are rarely boring and often memorable. The following is a list of five of the best in history.
1. Fake Spike (1994) Dolphins 28 – Jets 24
This game is historical on multiple levels. It’s the game in which Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino pulled what has since come to be known as “The Clock Play” in order to knock off the rivals in the final seconds of the game. The play relies on the quarterback faking a spike to kill the clock in order to catch the defense off guard when he runs a play instead. Perhaps no other play is thought of more in conjunction with Marino’s legendary career. Anytime a quarterback pulls the play to this day, commentators and analysts will reference Dan Marino. Oh yeah, it was a come from behind thriller. It was also crucial because every team in the AFC East was within two games of the division lead. Oh yeah, it was also a high pressure away game for the Dolphins in a stadium filled with loud Jets fans.
2. Monday Night Miracle (2000) Jets 40 – Dolphins 37 in overtime
Most readers of any Dolphins writing outlet would seethe at this game being on this list, especially ranked number two, but I could not claim objectivity if I put it any lower. In some ways it makes a case for number one. Much like the Fake Spike game, the Monday Night Miracle was crucial in determining the AFC East division title. The Dolphins sporting a vicious defense led by Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas, pushed to a 30-7 lead with under two minutes left in the third quarter. Then the national primetime audience watched baffled as the Jets led by quarterback Vinny Testaverde and tight end Wayne Chrebet stormed back to win the game in overtime. At the time, and for 12 years after it was the biggest comeback in Monday Night Football history. In 2012 the Broncos returned from a 24 point halftime deficit against the Chargers.
3. Pennington’s Revenge (2008) Dolphins 24 – Jets 17
By the start of the 2008 season, former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington had signed with the Dolphins as the Jets moved on to former Packers quarterback Brett Favre. Hopes and euphoria ran high for the Jets. Comedian Frank Caliendo coined a popular nickname, Jet Favre of the New York Bretts, while impersonating John Madden. In contrast, hopes ran low for the rebuilding Dolphins coming off a 1-15 2007 season, the worst in franchise history. Pennington had an injured throwing shoulder and was expected to retire.
The first game between the teams (also the first game of the season) was reasonably competitive but the Jets took the match, sending things in the expected direction. Fast forward to the final game of the season and the teams had tied records at 10-6. The high stakes match would determine the only team to dethrone the Patriots as AFC East Division Champions in the span of 14 seasons. Pennington with 2 TDs and o INTs significantly outplayed Favre with 1 TDs and 3 INTs to beat his old team and win the crown.
4. AFC Championship Game (1983) Dolphins 14 – Jets 0
The only postseason match between the Dolphins and Jets had arguably the highest stakes in the history of the rivalry. It was for a trip to Super Bowl XVII. Both starting quarterbacks made a truly ugly game of it combining for no touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Dolphins leaned on the famous Killer Bs defense to win the game, shutting the jets out 14-0. A.J. Duhe notched 3 interceptions, one of them going for a touchdown. The Dolphins went on to lose the Super Bowl to John Riggins and the Washington Redskins.
5. Orange Jersey Monday Night (2009) Dolphins 31 – Jets 27
The Dolphins had never lost a game while donning their orange jerseys, and they donned them for a Monday Night Thriller against the Jets in 2009. Rex Ryan brought his highly touted defense to shut down the Dolphins Wildcat offense. The game was one of the last hurrahs for the famous Ronnie Brown led direct snap Wildcat offense. Brown went for 74 yards and two touchdowns. The embattled Chad Henne re-ignited fan hope that he could turn the corner and become the franchise quarterback the Dolphins had sought since Dan Marino’s retirement. The highlight play of the game was a deep ball from Henne to Ted Ginn jr. The Dolphins trailed late into the fourth quarter as Brown led a rhythmic drive. He scored the go ahead touchdown with six seconds left in the game.