Turf War: Jets and Giants have had some memorable meetings
NEW YORK (AP) Gang Green vs. Big Blue in the Battle of New York. And, New Jersey.
The Jets and Giants are preparing for their first regular-season showdown since 2011, with bragging rights – and keeping pace in their playoff races – at stake.
''This is the next game and an important one, not just because it's Giants versus Jets and both teams share a stadium in the same city and everything,'' Giants quarterback Eli Manning said. ''But it's important because of what it means for our playoff hunt.''
The New Jersey-based teams play every preseason at MetLife Stadium in what has been dubbed ''The Snoopy Bowl,'' in honor of the winner's bronzed statue of the popular Peanuts character. Ex-Jets coach Rex Ryan was particularly fond of it, approaching the third exhibition game as if it was a downright turf war.
The stadium co-tenants go at it Sunday for just the 13th time in the regular season, with the Giants having won eight of the meetings, including the last five. After the last two wins, they eventually went on to win the Super Bowl.
This time around, both teams are in tight spots in the postseason picture. The visiting Jets (6-5) are coming off a win last Sunday against Miami that has them on the edge of the AFC wild-card race. Meanwhile, the host Giants (5-6) lost to Washington, with whom they're tied atop the NFC East standings.
''There's already plenty of chatter around the community with different people that I know that are either Jets or Giants fans,'' Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ''It's going to be a great atmosphere that I'm looking forward to.''
Some infamous injuries have marked preseason meetings, including Giants defensive back Jason Sehorn's torn-up knee in 1998; Jets quarterback Chad Pennington's broken hand in 2003; Manning's bloody head in 2010; and Jets QB Mark Sanchez's banged-up shoulder in 2013. But here are some other memorable moments from previous Jets-Giants showdowns:
THE FIRST ONE: It was a preseason game, but it was a big one between the teams – who both still played in New York back then – on Aug. 17, 1969, at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut. The Joe Namath-led Jets, coming off their Super Bowl victory, squared off against the Giants and treated it like a playoff game. Namath went 14 of 16 for 188 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-14 rout, resulting in the firing of Giants coach Allie Sherman. The teams have played every summer since.
THIS ONE'S FOR REAL: The Giants, led by Jim Files' safety, won the first regular-season meeting at Shea Stadium, the Jets' home at the time, 22-10 on Nov. 1, 1970. The Jets, with Al Woodall starting for the injured Namath, were leading 10-3 before Files tackled ex-Giants running back Chuck Mercein in the end zone. That sparked a 19-0 run for the Giants.
EXTRA TIME: In the second regular-season overtime game in NFL history on Nov. 10, 1974, Namath tied it with a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter at the Yale Bowl. He won it with a 5-yard pass to Emerson Boozer, giving the Jets a 26-20 victory. It was the only regular-season game Namath played for the Jets against the Giants.
SPOILERS: The Jets ruined the Giants' playoff hopes on Dec. 18, 1988, when Ken O'Brien hit Al Toon for a 5-yard touchdown with 37 seconds left to give them a 27-21 victory. Phil Simms threw three TD passes for the Giants, who were eliminated with the loss and wins elsewhere by the Eagles and Rams.
BIG BLUE BLOWOUT: Kerry Collins connected with Amani Toomer for three TDs and the Giants built a 34-7 lead after three quarters before closing out a 41-28 romp on Dec. 5, 1999. The Giants racked up the most points (41), yards (490) and biggest lead (27 points) in the regular-season matchups.
MEADOWLANDS SLUGFEST: Pennington, fully recovered from his preseason hand injury, threw four touchdown passes – three to Santana Moss and another to Anthony Becht with 29 seconds left on Nov. 2, 2003, to send it to overtime. The Jets' Doug Brien and Giants' Brett Conway missed field goals, but Conway made up for his with a 29-yarder with 4 seconds left to give the Giants a 31-28 victory.
MANNING'S THE MAN: The Giants trailed 17-7 in the third quarter and Leon Washington's 98-yard kickoff return gave the Jets a 24-14 lead on Oct. 7, 2007. But Manning stormed back and connected with Jeremy Shockey for 13 yards and Plaxico Burress for 53 to put the Giants up 28-24. Aaron Ross' 43-yard interception return of a pass from Pennington in the fourth quarter sealed it. The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl that season.
VICTOR VICTORIOUS: The Jets appeared headed to a 7-3 halftime lead on Dec. 24, 2011, when Victor Cruz turned a short pass from Manning into a 99-yard touchdown that put the Giants ahead – and turned around both teams' seasons. The Jets lost at Miami the following week and missed the playoffs, while the Giants beat Dallas to end the regular season and rolled through the playoffs before again beating New England for a Super Bowl victory.
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