Maybe it doesn’t quite match the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry in ferocity, but at times it comes close. No matter what season, no matter the teams’ records; the New England Patriots and New York Jets rivalry is one of the fiercest in the NFL.


And yes, it’s still relevant.

The Early Years

The Jets might be 0-8 and the Patriots just 2-5, but this rivalry goes back to the 1960s. Both the Jets, then known as the Titans, and the Boston Patriots were charter members of the old American Football League.

The New York franchise, which became the Jets in 1963, owned the series in its first two decades. The Jets won 24 of 40 games in the 1960s and ‘70s. That domination was due in no small part to legendary quarterback Joe Namath who led the Jets to 10 wins in 12 tries from 1970 to 1975.


The New York Jets were originally known as the Titans of New York

Changing Tide

The Patriots experienced some success in the 1980s but didn’t really take control of the rivalry until the 2000s and the arrival of a new head coach. The Jets and Patriots are forever linked by one man – Bill Belichick – who actually had a chance to lead the Jets but instead opted to take the Patriots top job in 2000.

Belichick experienced one losing season – his first – in New England and has not had one since. His Patriots teams have won 10 or more games in all but one (2002) season.

Through the 2000s and 2010s, New England has a 31-11 record against the Jets, including wins in each of the last eight games.

Belichick & the Jets

Belichick was a long-time assistant under Bill Parcells. And when Parcells finally worked out an agreement with New York to become the team’s head coach, Belichick naturally became the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

When Parcells stepped down in 1999, the Jets had already arranged for Belichick to replace him. And on January 4th, 2000, Belichick was indeed named the Jets head coach. But the following day, he announced his resignation and would instead take up the position as head coach of the Patriots.

This incident still fuels the continuing intensity of the Patriots-Jets rivalry.

The Present

Monday night’s game will be a different Jets-Patriots matchup since New England will no longer have Tom Brady under center. Brady went an astounding 27-9 against the Jets. Since his departure, Cam Newton has taken over and the Patriots are clearly still trying to adjust.

The current version of the Patriots are averaging just 19.4 points per game.


Jets fans have not had much reason to cheer this season

Speaking of offensive struggles, the Jets are scraping the barrel with an NFL-low 11.8 points per game thus far in 2020. They haven’t managed to score more than 10 points in a game since hitting the 28 point mark in a loss to Denver in a Thursday night game. Something needs to change drastically.

So while it may not look like it on paper, Monday night’s Jets-Patriots matchup is still significant. The Jets are looking for a way to salvage the 2020 season. A win over a big rival could supply a glimmer of hope in dark times.

Must Win

As for the Patriots, they are still not out of the playoff picture but they’ll need a win to keep their postseason hopes alive.

And regardless of records, as long as Bill Belichick holds the reins in New England you can still expect plenty of bite in this game.