The New York Jets will face the Detroit Lions on MNF to kick off the 2018 NFL season. Can they reverse their history of frustrating Week 1 outcomes in primetime?
As the New York Jets prepare for their primetime season opener against the Detroit Lions in which they’ll showcase rookie QB Sam Darnold, history will not be on their side. For fans looking to forget the past of this franchise, such results don’t matter as they hope Darnold can begin a new era in Jets football.
This will be the fifth time that the Jets will open their season in prime time. The Jets will be looking for their first win in such games.
Here is a breakdown of the four previous games:
Browns 31, Jets 21 (Sept. 21, 1970)
The Jets foray into Monday Night Football started with the very first game back on Sept. 21, 1970. The NFL decided to add a primetime game every week which didn’t excite too many owners then. Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell decided to take a risk and offered to host the inaugural game. However, he wanted the New York market and Joe Namath to compete against.
The game was highlighted by a 94-yard kickoff return by Browns KR Homer Jones. The Jets and Namath had a final chance to pull out a victory, but were stymied by Browns LB Billy Andrews who returned an interception 25 yards to clinch the victory.
Packers 23, Jets 7 (Sept. 17, 1973)
The Jets opened the 1973 season in Milwaukee against the Green Bay Packers at Country Stadium. Although their regular home has always been Lambeau Field, the Packers played two to four games a season from 1970-94 at Milwaukee County Stadium.
Plagued by three turnovers, the Jets fell to the Packers 23-7 despite outgaining them 259-253. Joe Namath threw for 203 yards, but was unable to get the Jets into the end zone. The Jets avoided being shut out for the first time since 1966 in Namath starts, as backup Al Woodall found rookie WR David Knight for a 17-yard TD with 27 seconds remaining.
The Packers ran for 155 yards on 48 carries and were helped out by fumbles by John Riggins and Richard Caster, giving Green Bay the ball in Jets territory. Packers kicker Chester Marcol added three field goals in the win.
Redskins 16, Jets 13 (Sept. 4, 2003)
The Washington Redskins hosted the Jets in the first game of the 2003 season, which took place on a Thursday night.
Second-year Redskins coach Steve Spurrier benefited from Washington’s free agent frenzy that resulted in four Jets being signed from New York’s 2002 AFC East division winner. Laveranues Coles (five catches for 106 yards), Chad Morton (two returns for 43 yards) and Randy Thomas all contributed in the win.
John Hall played the biggest part in the Jets loss, converting two field goals, including the game winner from 33-yards out with five seconds left.
Jets fans were also frustrated by the absence of QB Chad Pennington, who injured his wrist in the preseason after leading the Jets to an 8-4 record in 2002. Thirty-nine–year old Vinny Testaverde received the start, but only threw for 105 yards in the loss, as the Jets offense never got on track.
Ravens 10, Jets 9 (Sept. 13, 2010)
After reaching the AFC Championship Game in 2009 behind a stout defense and rookie QB Mark Sanchez, the Jets entered 2010 with high expectations.
The team appeared on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” which centered around the drama of the Jets trying to sign holdout Darrelle Revis who had separated himself from the rest of corners in the NFL with a historic 2009 season.
The Jets opener was just the second regular season NFL game played at the New Meadowlands, as the Giants had opened their season on Sunday in the new home for both teams.
Although the Jets signed Revis before the opener, he did not dress. The defense still played wonderfully, holding the Ravens to just 282 yards and forcing three turnovers, despite losing defensive tackle Kris Jenkins for the season with a knee injury early on.
Behind second-year QB Sanchez, the Jets offense was not able to muster anything. The Ravens defense led by Hall of Famer Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, held the Jets to just 176 total yards. A frustrating night ended as Lewis tackled Dustin Keller one yard shy of a first down to nail down the Ravens victory.