I'm back again with another installment of Return Flight, where we look back at some of the good times against each of the 31 other NFL franchises. This time, it's the Tennessee Titans, previously known as the Tennessee Oilers, and originally known as the Houston Oilers.
The Houston Oilers were the first AFL champions, and they pretty much owned the New York Titans and Jets in the early days. In fact, the NYT never won a game against their AFL Eastern Division rivals. Things changed, however, once the Jets began to be championship caliber when they swept the Oilers in their last two years in the AFL East.
The Jets lost all 4 games to the Oilers in the 1970s, was 3-1 against them in the '80s, and then 2-6 in the '90s. In the 200s, the Jets are 4-1 against this franchise.
Once again, Gang Green Gangsters, this is an open discussion, so please add your own memories of best moments. I'm only presenting my best moments according to my awareness and preference as a starting point. As you will see, my list is from recent games, so your stories are welcomed and appreciated.
1. November 23, 2008. The Titans were 10-0, and the Jets had momentum from a thrilling Thursday night overtime win at New England. Maybe it was a trap game or because the Jets had a few days more rest, but the Jets won 34-13. Gang Green dominated the line of scrimmage at both sides of the ball. It looked like New York was on a roll, and a dangerous team to face in the playoffs. Then they went 1-4 and missed the postseason.
2. September 10, 2006. Did you ever think Chad Pennington could lead the league in passing? Well, it did happen, Gang Green Gangsters, after the opening weekend of 2006. That statistic lead only lasted for one week, but still. This was the first win for Chad's comeback season, and he looked like he was in total command, going 24-33, 319 yards, and 2 TDs.
Jerricho Cotchery began to emerge as a starter, at the expense of former Titans WR Justin McCareins. Jeff Fisher insterted rookie QB Vince Young to replace the starter Kerry Collins in the 2nd quarter, where he was immediately picked off by former Titans CB Andre Dyson. Collins would return to the game later in the quarter, and Dyson would pick him off as well.
This was a terrific start to a winning season. Things looked great under Eric Mangini and Brian Schottenheimer. Much heap was praised upon them. With the solid Kevin Mawae now in Tennessee, this was the first start for iron man Nick Mangold, and he would not miss another game until last year.
3. December 1, 2003. It's crazy how things change. Both Titans OC Mike Heimerdinger and QB Steve McNair have passed away too soon. Both Heimerdinger and McCareins would end up with the Jets and back with Tennessee. And Titans WR Derrick Mason would also end up with the Jets briefly, even though that ever existed.
This was a classic trap game for Tennessee, who came to the Meadowlands with a 9-2 record. The Jets and their aging linebackers were 4-7, with Vinny Testaverde having to start the season for an injured Pennington. Before the game, HC Herm Edwards told owner Woody Johnson, "They're beatable."
The Titans took an early lead with a 59 yard touchdown from McNair to McCareins. Curtis Martin ran for a touchdown, and Chad threw two more to Kevin Swayne and Curtis Conway. Remember them? Anyways, I really like this game because we upset them on Monday night, and it was something to be happy about during that losing season.
We last met and defeated the Titans in 2009, in a game where rookie Mark Sanchez rushed for a touchdown. It was a great win, although I expected us to beat them as they were 0-2 with an inexperienced kick returner. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the AFL, the Tennessee Titans reverted back to their Oilers uniforms and the Jets wore their throwback New York Titans jerseys.