Sunday night's Jets-Bengals game not only closes the 2009 regular season but also is likely to be the last NFL game ever played in the current Meadowlands stadium before the Jets and Giants move two football fields over and begin play at New Meadowlands Stadium in 2010. Here are several of the most memorable moments experienced by the Jets and their fans in the 26 seasons the Green & White have called this stadium home.
Sept. 6, 1984 —In a nationally televised Thursday night game, the Jets fell to the Steelers, 23-17, in their first official game as the home team at the Meadowlands for which the end zones, for the first time, displayed the Jets' logos.
Sept. 21, 1986 — The Jets downed the Dolphins, 51-45 in overtime, in a game that generated the most net passing yards in NFL history. Quarterbacks Ken O'Brien and Dan Marino combined to throw for 884 net yards passing, still an NFL record. Wesley Walker's four TD catches are still a Jets record. Marino threw six TD passes, a mark he never again matched in his Hall of Fame career. O'Brien (43-29-479 yards-4 TDs-1 INT) culminated his career day with a pair of scoring drives. First, he led the Jets 80 yards in the last 1:04 of regulation, hitting Walker on a 21-yard TD pass as time expired to send the game to OT. Three plays after the Jets won the toss, O'Brien hooked up with Walker again on a 43-yard bomb to cap the victory. Marino on the day: 50-30-448-6-2. Check out these receiving numbers: Walker 6-194-4 TDs, Al Toon 7-111, Mark Clayton 8-174-1; Mark Duper 7-154-2.
Dec. 28, 1986 — The Jets recorded their first postseason victory at the Meadowlands, a 35-15 blowout over Kansas City. Backup quarterback Pat Ryan got the starting nod over Ken O'Brien and responded with three touchdown passes. The Jets were led by Freeman McNeil's 135 yards rushing and two TDs, one rushing and one receiving. The Green & White defense allowed a season-low 241 yards of offense and recorded two sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.
Dec. 18, 1988 — The Jets, as the home team, defeated the Giants, 27-21, in the final game of the regular season on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ken O'Brien to Al Toon with 37 seconds left. The Jets defense sacked Phil Simms eight times, including three by Ken Rose and two by Marty Lyons. The Green & White finished the season 8-7-1 and knocked Big Blue out of playoff contention.
Nov. 27, 1994 — The Jets, who led the Dolphins by as much as 24-6 in the third quarter, fell, 28-24. The game became known as the Fake Spike Game because Dan Marino, after faking a clock-stopping spike, hit WR Mark Ingram for the winning 8-yard TD pass with 22 seconds to play.
Jan. 10, 1999 — The Jets hosted and win their AFC Divisional Playoff Game over Jacksonville, 34-24, to advance to the AFC Championship Game. Curtis Martin ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns and Keyshawn Johnson produced a rare football feat, scoring touchdowns on a reception and a run, recovering a fumble and finally intercepting a pass on a Jaguars Hail Mary pass at the end of the game. Johnson had a club-postseason-record-tying nine catches for 121 yards on the day.
Oct. 23, 2000 — With both teams 5-1 and battling for AFC East position, the Monday Night showdown between the Jets and Dolphins was set up to be another classic New York-Miami showdown. What began as a nightmare ended as a miracle. After one quarter the Jets were outscored, 17-0, and outgained, 207 yards to 9. At the half the score was 23-7 and the Jets' heralded defense had surrendered 299 yards. The Green & White's three third-quarter drives included a three-and-out, an INT and a loss on downs. When Miami's Lamar Smith scored with 12 seconds left in the third quarter to give the Dolphins a 30-7 lead, the Meadowlands' crowd headed for the parking lots.
As the fourth quarter began, Vinny Testaverde completed a four play, 75-yard drive with a 30-yard strike to Laveranues Coles — the then-rookie wideout's first career TD reception. The Jets' two-point conversion attempt failed, and with 13:49 remaining, it was 30-13. Four minutes later, Testaverde hit TE Jermaine Wiggins on a 1-yard TD and it was 30-20 with 9:51 remaining. Next, John Hall's field goal with 5:43 to go cut Miami's lead to a touchdown, 30-23, the fans were coming back from the parking lots and the national television audience was re-engaged. When Testaverde found Wayne Chrebet for a 24-yard TD, the score was tied with 3:55 left. But the Dolphins' Brock Marion returned the ensuing kickoff into Jets territory, and on the next play Jay Fiedler found Leslie Shepherd for a 46-yard touchdown and the Jets again trailed, 37-30.
Testaverde drove the Jets back to the Miami 4, from where he faced a fourth-and-1 at the two-minute warning. A 2-yarder to Richie Anderson kept hope alive and after a loss of 1 yard, the QB capped the nine-play, 57-yard drive with a 3-yard flip to Jumbo Elliott, who had reported as a tackle-eligible. Elliott bobbled the ball twice before bringing it in safely for the only TD of his career. Hall's PAT tied the score at 37 and the game headed into overtime.
CB Marcus Coleman thwarted Miami's first possession by picking off Fiedler, only to be stripped of the ball, which was recovered by Dolphins WR Oronde Gadsden. Five plays later, Coleman picked off Fiedler again. Testaverde topped off the night by driving the Jets into field goal range and Hall drove it home from 40 yards to complete the Monday Night Miracle.
In the fourth quarter, the Jets scored 30 points and had 20 first downs. Testaverde had 235 passing yards and four TD passes in the fourth quarter after just 102 yards and three INTs in the first three quarters. He finished the game 36-of-59 for 378 yards with five TDs and three INTs.
Dec. 29, 2002 — The Jets clinched the AFC East title with a 42-17 victory over Green Bay. The late game started with the Patriots-Dolphins game in overtime, and when news spread that the Patriots had won early in the first quarter, clearing the way for the Jets to clinch the division with a victory, the stadium erupted, fueling the Jets' winning effort. Chad Pennington threw four touchdown passes, two to WR Wayne Chrebet, as the Green & White scored two touchdowns each in the second, third and fourth quarters.
Jan. 4, 2003 — The week after clinching the AFC East title and playoff berth, the Jets shut out Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis, 41-0, in the AFC Wild Card Game for the largest shutout margin in any game in franchise history. LaMont Jordan ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns and Manning threw for just 137 yards and added two interceptions.
Sept. 28, 2008 —After a scoreless first quarter against Super Bowl participant-to-be Arizona, the Jets put up 34 points in the second quarter for a 34-0 halftime lead in defeating the Cardinals, 56-35, and setting or tying many franchise records. The Jets' 56 points was the second-most scored in a single game in franchise history, The teams' 91 combined points tied for the third-most points in a game in franchise history. The 34 points scored by the Jets in the second quarter set the franchise record for points in a quarter. Brett Favre's six touchdown passes were a career high and tied Joe Namath's Jets record set in 1972. Laveranues Coles caught three touchdown passes, all in the second quarter, and Jerricho Cotchery hauled in two.