Dolphins-Jets; A Review of Their 39-Year Rivalry

Roy DanielContributor IOctober 10, 2009

13 Dec 1998:  Dan Marino #13 of the Miami Dolphins turns after the snap during the game against the New York Jets at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 21-16. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons  /Allsport

The Dolphins face the Jets in prime time on Monday Night Football.  Miami will don their orange jerseys for only the fourth time in team history and the first time since 2004. 

The Jets hold the series lead at 46-40-1 and the Dolphins will look to narrow that lead on Monday night.

In their first meeting in 1966, the Jets defeated the Dolphins 19-14.  However, their rivalry officially began after the merger of the AFL and NFL in 1970. 

The Dolphins and the Jets were placed in the AFC East, guaranteeing that they would meet twice a year annually.

Regardless of their standings, this is always a competitive game.  The largest winning margin was by the Dolphins in 1975 with a final score of 43-0.  The smallest victory margin was in 1981 with the Jets defeating the Dolphins 16-15. 

During the 70’s, the Jets did not have a season above .500, but they were able to win 14 of their 20 meetings against the Dolphins. 

However, the Dolphins surged to NFL supremacy as they had the first and only NFL undefeated season in 1972 and won the Super Bowl in 1972 and 1973.

The Dolphins continued their solid play in the 80’s with Dan Marino at the helm, but their problems continued with the Jets as they lost the decade series 11-9-1.  In addition, they scored their only tie in the history of this rivalry. 

The key game in the 80’s came in the 1982 AFC Championship game on Jan. 23, 1983, more appropriately known as "The Mud Bowl."

After the Dolphins swept the Jets during the strike-shortened regular season by scores of 45-28 and 20-19, the two teams met again, this time with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

Due to the sloppy field conditions, it kept both teams scoreless in the first half. The game was a classic defensive battle that featured 10 turnovers, eight of them on quarterback interceptions.

The star of the game was Dolphins linebacker A. J. Duhe, who picked off Jets quarterback Richard Todd three times and returned one 35 yards for a touchdown to help seal the 14–0 win and send the Dolphins to Super Bowl XVII.

To this day, former Jets coach Walt Michaels believes that Miami coach Don Shula ordered to keep the tarp off the field to neutralize New York's superior team speed.

The Jets supremacy began to decline in the 90’s as they split their series 10-10.  The Jets looked to turn things around by bringing in Bill Parcells as their head coach in 1996, but the Dolphins still managed to split the remaining games 4-4.

Some people say that the Monday Night Football game on Oct. 23, 2000 was the best game in series history. 

The Dolphins led the game 23-7 at halftime that grew to 30-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.  Both quarterback Vinny Testaverde and running back Curtis Martin were shut down in the first half as they managed only two first downs.

Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler and defensive end Jason Taylor knew that the Jets would not come back form this large deficit, but they spoke too soon. 

Testaverde threw back-to-back touchdowns to cut the lead to 30-20.  After a field goal by John Hall which cut the lead to 30-23, Testaverde fired a touchdown pass to wide receiver Wayne Chrebet to tie the game 30-30 with 3:55 left in the fourth quarter.

On the next series, Fiedler marched the Dolphins down the field and the Dolphins took the lead once again as Fielder found Leslie Shepherd in the end zone for a touchdown. 

Testaverde took the Jets down field on the following series and with 42 seconds remaining, he found offensive tackle Jumbo Elliott for a three-yard touchdown.  Testaverde single-handedly sent this game into overtime as he completed 18-of-26 passes for 235 yards and four touchdowns. 

In overtime, Fiedler was intercepted for the third time which resulted in a field goal by Hall and the Jets won the game 40-37. 

Despite the hard fought win by the Jets, they missed the playoffs, while the Dolphins clinched the division.

The Dolphins have dominated the Jets during this decade as they lead the series 13-5.  The Dolphins look to continue their domination on Monday night, but they are playing a renewed Jets team. 

If the Dolphins expect to win this game, they are going to have to beat the Jets on the ground. 

With the running back duo of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams firing on all cylinders, the Dolphins have a chance to give the Jets their second loss on the season.