The newest chapter in the Jets – Dolphins rivalry began with another spectacular Monday Night Football game. The Miami Dolphins edged out the New York Jets 31-27, in a game that featured 2 ties and 6 lead changes. A disappointing end to an exciting game for Jets fans.
The loss got me to thinking about some of the great games I’ve seen these two teams play over the years and I decided to put together my list of the most memorable games played between these rival AFC teams.
January 23, 1983 – 1982 AFC Championship game – aka the ‘Mud Bowl’
During the strike- shortened 1982 season, the Dolphins swept the regular season series. The two teams would meet again in the 1982 AFC Championship game, a trip to Super Bowl XVII at stake. This game was marked by a rather strange incident. The tarp was left off the field of the Orange Bowl during a marathon rainstorm leading up to the game. This resulted in a mud covered field which helped keep both teams scoreless in the first half. This game would feature ten turnovers, eight of them on quarterback interceptions. Three of those interceptions came from the star of the game, Dolphins linebacker A.J. Duhe who would nab three of Jets quarterback Richard Todd’s five interceptions of the day. Duhe cemented the 14–0 win, sending the Dolphins to Super Bowl XVII, when he returned one 35 yards for a touchdown.
November 10, 1985 – The "Super" Duper Game
Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino was down to the Jets 17-14 with less than a minute to play when he fired a 50 yard touchdown pass to Mark "Super" Duper, winning the game, 21–17. Duper had been sidelined for seven weeks with a broken leg leading up to this game, coming back to have the game of his life against the Jets. He set a Dolphins club single game record with 217 receiving yards in helping Miami secure the win.
September 21st, 1986 – The Shootout
On this day Jets quarterback Ken O’Brien and Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino would each give legendary performances. The two quarterbacks would combine to set 2 NFL single game records. O’Brien and Marino would combine for a whopping 884 net passing yards and ten passing touchdowns. Records that still stand to this day. Dan Marino completed 30 of 50 for 448 yards and six touchdown passes. Ken O’Brien would throw for 479 yards and four touchdowns. Memorable moments include a Ken O’Brien td pass to wide receiver Wesley Walker with no time left on the clock to force overtime and his game clincher in overtime for the win, 51-45. To this day, this is the highest scoring game between the teams (96 total points).
November 27, 1994 – The Fake Spike Game
With first place in the division on the line, the Jets would outplay the Dolphins for three quarters and hold a 24-6 lead. The score cut to 24-21, Marino and the Dolphins would drive to within the Jets’ five-yard line. With thirty seconds left on a live clock, Marino took the snap from center, motioned as if he was going to spike the ball and instead fired the ball past Aaron Glenn and into the corner of the end zone where Mark Ingram waited. The touchdown gave the Dolphins a 28-24 victory and the division. The Jets went into a spiral after that play, losing all of their remaining games. This game marked the beginning of a dark down-ward spiral for the Jets that would last until the end of the 1996 season. The Jets would compile an embarrassing record of 4-33 during this period.
December 13, 1998 – Remember Chad Cascadden?
Both teams were 9-4 and the division lead, and possibly the division title, was the line. Going into the final minutes of the game, the Jets led 14-10 when a Marino fumble was picked up by Jets linebacker Chad Cascadden, who returned it for a touchdown putting the Jets ahead 21-10 with less than two minutes on the clock. The Jets would win 21-16, going on to win their first post-merger division title the following week at Buffalo.
October 23, 2000 – The Monday Night Miracle
Both teams started the 2000 season 5-1 when they met on Monday Night Football to determine control of the AFC East. What should have been an exciting match, turned into a three quarter drubbing by the Dolphins. The Dolphins held a leadthat grew to 30-7 at the end of the third quarter. Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde threw three picks and running back Curtis Martin was held to 30 yards rushing. In fact, the Jets would manage only two first downs in the entire first half. The game was so one-sided that Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler was heard on the sidelines telling defensive end Jason Taylor, "They ain’t coming back on us!" to which Taylor replied, "Hell no! You kidding? C’mon now." Those words would come back to haunt the Dolphins in short order. Testaverde would hit wide receivers Laveranues Coles and Jermaine Wiggins for td’s, cutting the lead to 30-20. A John Hall field goal later, Testaverde hits Wayne Chrebet in the end zone to tie the game 30-30 with 3:55 left. Almost crushing the revitalized hopes of the Jets, Fiedler would respond by tossing a long touchdown pass to Leslie Shepherd retaking the lead 37-30. The Jets would re-tie the game with 42 seconds left, when Testaverde hit offensive tackle Jumbo Elliott with a three yard touchdown strike, sending the contest into overtime. Elliott famously bobbled the ball as he fell in the endzone. The Jets would eventually win on a John Hall 40-yard field goal in overtime. The key to this game was the Jets fourth quarter performance. After managing only 5 first downs in the first three quarters, Testaverde completed 18 of 26 for 235 yards and four touchdowns, converting twenty first downs. This game came to be known as ‘The Monday Night Miracle’ and was selected by fans as the greatest game in the history of the Monday Night Football television series, when Monday Night Football celebrated its 500th telecast. The game also set the mark as the largest comeback from a fourth quarter deficit in NFL history.