The year 2000 in underratedly the single worst year in the history of New York Jets football. Bill Parcells left coaching to take up the Football Director job full-time and his star protege Bill Belichick bolted for New England and drafted Tom Brady - and the rest is history.
The Jets settled on Al Groh as their head coach and would go on to endure one of the worst late-season collapses in NFL history. But not before one of the most incredible comeback wins in NFL history.
Going into their Monday Night Football clash on October 23, 2000, the Jets were 5-1 thanks to a healthy Vinny Testaverde, superstar RB Curtis Martin and the always consistent Wayne Chrebet. The Dolphins were also 5-1 in their first year post-Dan Marino and had journeyman QB Jay "The Jewish Unitas" Fiedler under center along with RB Lamar Smith in the backfield.
Fielder and Smith quickly brought the Dolphins way out in front at Giants Stadium, going up 17-0 in the first quarter thanks to three straight scoring drives while the Jets offense could barely make any headway. Lamar Smith's 68-yard run on his first carry of the 3rd Dolphins drive led many Jets fans to believe it was going to be a LONG Monday night.
The Dolphins made it 20-0 early in the second quarter thanks to PK Olindo Mare's 2nd field goal. The Jets offense continued to stall until after the 2:00 warning, when they were handed superb field position and managed to drive the ball 53 yards, culminating in a TD pass from Testaverde to Chrebet to cut the deficit to 20-7 with 0:57 remaining.
Unfortunately, 0:57 was all Jay Fielder needed to drive the Dolphins down for Olindo Mare's 3rd FG of the first half to make the score 23-7.
The Jets and Dolphins exchanged turnovers in the 3rd quarter but could barely make any headway until the final minute of the 3rd, when Lamar Smith scored his 2nd TD of the day to make the score 30-7 Dolphins.
Going into the 4th quarter, many fans could be visibly seen leaving the building, but the Jets had more than a few surprises in store for the Dolphins.
With solid field position, Testaverde led the Jets to the Dolphins 30 yard line then launched a missle into the endzone that bounced around between Dolphins DB Sam Madison and Jets rookie WR Laveraneus Coles. The rookie wideout ripped the ball from Madison's hands for his first NFL TD and cut the deficit to 30-13. A 2-point conversion attempt failed, making the difference 17.
The Dolphins went 3-and-out on their next drive - but Testaverde and the Jets did not. A handful of completions to Wayne Chrebet and some penalties allowed the Jets to drive the ball 63 yards for Testaverde's 3rd TD of the day - this time a short pass to Jermaine Wiggins to make the game 30-20 Dolphins.
The Dolphins went 3-and-out yet again while Testaverde brought the Jets all the way back to the Red Zone once again, but stalled in the red zone and had to settle for a PK John Hall FG to make the score 30-23 Dolphins.
Fiedler and the Dolphins struggled for their third straight drive and were forced to punt from the 6-yard line, but Matt Turk's kick went a mere 33 yards, giving the Jets the ball inside the Dolphins' 40 to start the next drive.
It took Testaverde just three plays to drive the 39 yards for another TD pass to Wayne Chrebet, making the score even at 30-30 - erasing a 23-point deficit in just over 10 minutes.
Despite losing all of their momentum, Jay Fielder had one more big pass in him - and indeed it was his very next one. On the first play of their next drive, Fiedler found a wide-open Leslie Shepherd for a 46-yard TD to give the lead right back to the Dolphins - 37-30 with 3:41 left in the half.
Testaverde and Curtis Martin got hot on their next drive, devouring yards over the next two minutes and leading the Jets to the red zone. After Martin failed to get into the endzone on a run from the Dolphins 2 yard line, Testaverde faked it to Martin and lobbed it to eligible receiver and hamburger-eater extraordinaire OL Jumbo Elliott - whose first NFL catch was a game-tying TD with less than 80 seconds left on the clock to make the score 37-37.
The Dolphins took the game to OT and got the ball first. Fiedler managed to drive the Dolphins all the way to the Jets 43 yard line before an ill-fated pass attempt to Oronde Gadsden landed in the hands of Jets DB Marcus Coleman.
Thanks to a pair of completions from Testaverde to Curtis Martin and Wayne Chrebet, the Jets went deep into Dolphins territory. With the Jets at the Dolphins' 23 yard line, they set up John Hall for a 40-yard FG which went in perfectly to secure the Jets win in OT.
The win remains the biggest comeback win in New York Jets' history, and the only time they've overcome a deficit of over 17 points.
Testaverde finished the day with 5 TDs on a whopping 59 pass attempts while Curtis Martin had one of his more pedestrian days on the ground with just 65 yards on 14 carries - but he did add 72 yards through the air on 8 catches.
Two Jets had over 100 yards receiving: Chrebet: 12 catches, 109 yards, 2 TDs; and Richie Anderson: 6 catches, 104 yards.