The Jets didn’t exactly have the best season in 2013. It was average, merely in the middle of the pack, as they finished 8-8 for the second time in three years. There have been better team’s in the franchise’s past. For this week’s Top 5, we take a look at them. Here are the five best teams in Jets franchise history:
5. 1985 Jets, 11-5, Lost in Wild Card Round
This was the prime of the Joe Walton Era. Walton, who coached the Jets from 1983 to 1989, took the Jets to the playoffs twice in what was a relatively mediocre period in Jets history. Actually, the following year, in 1986, he actually won a playoff game. But all that said, Walton’s ’85 team was the better one. It’s +129 point differential is third-best in Jets history. The great Joe Klecko had a career-high 7.5 sacks. Freeman McNeil also ran for a career-high 1,331 yards. But the real reason this 1985 team could’ve beaten the 1986 squad was because of Ken O’Brien, who put up the best year of his career in his age 25 season. O’Brien finished ’85 with 3,888 yards, a 60.9 percent completion percentage and 25 touchdowns, all career bests. He also led the NFL with a 96.9 quarterback rating.
4. 2009 Jets, 9-7, Lost in AFC Championship Game
This team had everything. Everything. It could play defense. It ran the ball. It would beat you up in the trenches. It just had no quarterback play. None. You could’ve blamed that on the rookie Mark Sanchez. The ’09 Jets almost became the first ever team to miss the playoffs after finishing the regular season with the No. 1 ranked defense and the No. 1 ranked running game. But the barely squeaked into the playoffs. Eventually, after upsets over the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Chargers, the Jets’ ride ended in Indianapolis, but there was still actual hope. The Jets were young and were led by a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. Things were only going to get better. And they did…for a year.
3. 2010 Jets, 11-5, Lost in AFC Championship Game
Everything seemed to get better in 2010. Even with Darrelle Revis hobbled with injuries after a holdout, the defense finished ranked No. 3 in the league. The offense got better. Mark Sanchez cut down on the turnovers and threw only 13 interceptions (and didn’t throw any in the first five games of the season). The Jets got off to a 9-2 start and looked like Super Bowl contenders. Eventually, though, the season ended relatively similarly to the way it did in 2009, this time in Pittsburgh. The Jets did, though, get their biggest win since Super Bowl III on the way to that second straight AFC Championship Game loss, a 28-21 road victory over the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round.
2. 1998 Jets, 12-4, Lost in AFC Championship Game
Isn’t this getting kind of sad that all of the best teams in Jets’ history had seasons that ended in losses? That’s not really what you like to see from your favorite franchise. But, oh well. I guess that’s life as a Jets fan. This team had it all. It could have won the Super Bowl. It could have. It had Bill Parcells in his second year with the Jets. It had Curtis Martin in his first. It had Vinny Testaverde in a career year. It had the best point differential in franchise history. It had a 10-0, second-half lead over the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game. It could’ve ended up facing off against the Atlanta Falcons. It could’ve. It just didn’t.
1. 1968 Jets, 11-3, Won Super Bowl
It’s one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, so how could the team that finished the 1968 season with a 16-7 win over the Baltimore Colts be anything other than the best squad in Jets history? That Super Bowl still reruns on NFL Network sometimes. It’s always fun to watch when it does. For now, though, we still have this: