In the days following Valentine’s Day, I figured it would make some sense to talk about the things we hate as Dolphin fans. And my list definitely starts with the New York Jets. The Jets and Dolphins have shared one of the best rivalries in all of football. Once every schedule is released, I know I circle the two games these two AFC East team go at it.
What makes this rivalry so great? As we look into the characteristics of some of other NFL rivalries, we see that the Dolphins/ Jets are one of the best the league has to offer.
The journey analyzing rivalries begins with one that started before either team had played in a single game. And, like you would think, this rivalry lost its fire in no time. Let’s set the stage in 1994. The NFL was expanding its league. One expansions team would go to the AFC, the other to the NFC. The NFC got Carolina to host the new team, and Jacksonville became home to the AFC expansion. Since these teams started off together, it instantly drew attention to one another and how each team will progress. But, what really classifies these two teams in a rivalry is within the logo.
You didn’t really think Jaguars had teal tongues did you? According to rumor, the Jaguars tongue is to represent the Carolina Panther after being devoured by Jacksonville. This is a great start to a rivalry… if only these teams played each other more often. Either way, I look forward to seeing these teams play because of this.
Let’s face it: right now, the Dolphins/ Jets rivalry isn’t the best in the game. After this past season with Brett Favre going to the Vikings, Green Bay / Minnesota had been given an entire new reason to hate each other. Both are playoff teams who are very solid defensively and exciting on offense. Next year, depending of Favre, this rivalry won’t have the same flare as this year.
As of 1996, Baltimore and Pittsburgh have shared a defensive rivalry. Both teams are known for their intense and fierce defenses, and if you like low scoring rivalry games, and then this is for you. The Patriots and Colts have developed a recent rivalry with Manning and Brady going head to head, although the two teams were both in the same division until 2002.
But let’s get to the Dolphins and the Jets. What makes this such a great rivalry?
- Close Records: NYJ leads the series 46-42-1, and the past decade (13-7). Miami has won three straight despite that. The 1990’s was a deadlock of 10 wins for each team. Any rivalries with Oakland just don’t have the same meaning anymore.
- Common Characteristics: If Rex Ryan is good for anything, he’s definitely good at keeping his enemies close by. By no means has Rex strayed away from this rivalry, as he got into some trash talk with Channing Crowder earlier this year. But, Ryan, like Coach Tony Sparano, is new to the head coaching position in the NFL. Both have enjoyed success thus far in their 3 years combined, and this coaching battle is something that adds to a great rivalry. Quarterbacks Chad Henne and Mark Sanchez are both young in this league as well, and can very easily be the highlight match ups of this rivalry (see Manning vs. Brady, Favre vs. Elway) in the future. Both teams have young stars in the making, something we should be looking forward to in a long rivalry. Youth has already highlighted Miami’s late success against the Jets as Henne and Ted Ginn have been Jet killers this past season.
- Very Close Games: Since 2005, every Jets/ Miami games has been decided by less than a touchdown (9 out of 10). And four of these games were within a field goal. No wonder why we hate them… if that’s not great football then I don’t know what is. A rivalry should be close and crazy every time each team is playing—and this clearly is.
- Great Future Ahead: As I mentioned in Common Characteristics, both Miami and New York are lead by younger players and coaches in this league. The Jets played in the AFC Championship game this past season and Miami reached the playoffs a year ago. These teams are looking to break the Patriot Wall that has put New England atop the AFC East in seven of the past ten years. The next decade looks to be full of great defense (Jets have advantage right now) for both sides, but also rising offenses (Miami has advantage right now).
We have every right to be in the discussion of best NFL rivalries, especially as of late. The rivalry traces all the way back to Bob Griese and Joe Namath in the late 60’s to early 70’s, and continued through the eighties when Marino throws six touchdowns and over four hundred and forty yards in an overtime loss. Or when Marino surpasses 500 yards, but still lost, or when Marino (again) does a fake spike for the win.
At the end of the day, we let Channing Crowder talk:
^War Of Words Between Ryan And Crowder (via Lakernation024)