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Top Five Times Jets Started, Then Failed To Overtake Giants

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How often have we heard that this is about to become a Jets town? Too many to mention. And yet, somehow, whatever goes wrong for the Giants seems to abate, and the promise of the Jets is snuffed out in unexpected ways.

Will this time be different? Or is Mark Sanchez just another Ken O'Brien, and Rex Ryan just Rich Kotite plus a lot of food?

Here are the five best examples of a phenomena also experienced by the Mets at the hands of the Yankees:

1. 1970: Fresh off of the first of ... one Super Bowls, the Jets looked ready to take the town behind Joe Namath and a ton of young fans. The Giants, meanwhile, had struggled to a 6-8 season in 1969. But the tables were turned a year later, when the Giants rallied to 9-5 behind a resurgent Fran Tarkenton, and Namath led the Jets to a 1-4 record before losing his season to injury. I guarantee you he had something else in mind.

2. 1981: Late in the 1981 season, the Jets were rolling at 8-4-1. The Giants appeared destined to miss the playoffs at 6-7. But while the Jets did make it to the postseason, they fell in the Wild Card round to Buffalo, 31-27. Meanwhile, the Giants won their last three to finish 9-7, then beat Philadelphia to advance to the Divisional Playoffs before falling to San Francisco.

3. 1988: The luck seemed to be changing in the Meadowlands. Thanks to a late TD catch from Al Toon, the Jets beat the Giants, 27-21 on the last day of the season. The Jets finished 8-7-1, while the Giants checked in at 10-6. But two years from their Super Bowl XXI win, it seemed like the Giants were declining, the Jets on the upswing. Not so -- the Jets went 4-12 in 1989, the Giants 12-4. A year later, the Giants were champions again.

4. 1998: While the Giants struggled to an 8-8 mark with QB Danny Kanell, the Jets played their way to 12-4 and the AFC Championship game behind Vinny Testaverde and a man familiar to Giants fans: Bill Parcells. Another Super Bowl seemed around the corner in Jetsland. Alas, Vinny hurt himself in the very first game of the 1999 season, and the Jets never came close to fulfilling that early promise under Parcells. Meanwhile, the Giants made it to the Super Bowl just two seasons later.

5. 2009: The Giants in disarray, with Plaxico Burress heading to jail, Eli Manning failing to find consistency, and the owner extremely angry following an 8-8 finish that seemed to include some players who had given up on the season, and no defensive scheme. Meanwhile, the upstart Jets, behind young Mark Sanchez and coach Rex Ryan, actually led at halftime of the AFC Championship game. However ...

See what I mean? Maybe this will be different. But the smart money here seems to be that the Giants will play in the 2013 Super Bowl while Jets fans seethe.