EXIT 15W; I-95N, to Meadowlands Sports Complex, Met Life Stadium
Question... how is it that New England Patriots' Quarterback, Tom Brady has the rival New York Jets to thank for his career?
Since the inception of the American Football League in the 1960’s , the Jets have clashed in a marquee rivalry with the New England Patriots. But it was not always such a huge rivalry till the mid 1990’s. The rivalry began to receive increased media attention in 1997 when a disgruntled Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells quit his head coaching position with the Patriots to join the Jets. This left New England seeking vengeance on an annual basis. Fast Fact: Parcells was born in nearby Englewood, New Jersey and most famously turned the New York Giants into a Super Bowl winning franchise in the 1980's.
But I digress. Fast forward to 2001. The Patriots star quarterback was Drew Bledsoe. Then just 12 days after 9/11, on September 23, 2001 Jets linebacker Mo Lewis slammed Drew Bledsoe, leaving the New England star with internal bleeding. This provided an opportunity for a young unknown to take over. That unknown was a gangly hard working backup named Tom Brady.
Since that game against the Jets, Tom Brady led New England to four Super Bowl titles and arguably had become a dynasty of sorts. Meanwhile the Jets have struggled in the shadow of not just the Patriots but even their crosstown rivals, the Giants.
The New York Jets was founded in 1959 as the New York Titans, an original member of the American Football League. The current name was adopted in 1963 when the franchise moved to Shea Stadium in Queens.
Led by the quintessential playboy quarterback, “Broadway Joe” Namath, the Jets advanced to the playoffs for the first time in 1968 and went on to compete in Super Bowl 3.
There they faced the much favored Baltimore Colts under Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas. To great surprise, they defeated the Baltimore Colts, becoming the first AFL team to defeat an NFL club in an AFL-NFL World Championship Game.
Since 1968, the Jets have appeared in the playoffs 13 times, and in the AFC Championship Game four times, most recently losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. However, the Jets have never returned to the Super Bowl.
On your left is MetLife Stadium. If you are passing it on a Sunday evening in the autumn you can tell which team is playing. Back in the early aughts, the Jets agreed to enter a 50–50 partnership with their rival, the Giants, to build MetLife agreeing to a 99-year lease. MetLife Stadium became the first in the history of the NFL to be jointly built by two franchises. It opened in April 2010 and saw the Jets and Giants open the stadium together in a preseason game.
Except for such so-called “subway series” contests, the stadium is illuminated in different colors depending on which team is hosting a game: blue for the Giants; green for the Jets.
Will this season be the one in which the Jets win their next Super Bowl? If the lights glow green, just ask any nearby fan on the Interstate. The answer is always yes.
Go Gang Green!
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