I remember in my North Jersey childhood, many decades ago now, being captivated by the Mayor's Trophy Game between the Yankees and Mets. It was a young boy's chance to see his two favorite baseball teams go at each other in the only meeting they would have outside of spring training, a kind of a New York mini-all-star game, lower-case on the "a" and the "s".
Jets-Giants in the summertime is a similar affair. Usually staged in that all-important third week of the preseason schedule, the game provides plenty of time for first-stringers and roster hopefuls alike to make plays and create memories for fans of both teams, wherever they reside.
Many of the 45 previous summer meetings were forgettable, yet many are worth recalling at least once more. Here, the day before the renewal of the rivalry on Friday night at MetLife Stadium, are 11 memorable Jets-Giants preseason games, in chronological order. Let me know your memories of any of these games, or others that I left out.
1. Aug. 17, 1969 — Jets 37, Giants 14, Yale Bowl
You never forget the first. The Jets may have been kings of the football world after Super Bowl III, but they still had what they considered to be unfinished business — Preseason Game 3 the following summer. The starters played most of the way in this one. In fact, Joe Namath, who had already thrown touchdown strikes to George Sauer and Bill Mathis, flipped a 2-yarder to TE Pete Lammons for TD pass No. 3 with 7½ minutes to play for the victory's final points.
2. Aug. 11, 1976 — Giants 16, Jets 14, Yankee Stadium
Namath's last Jets-Giants game, the only one played at old Yankee Stadium, and the first to be postponed by a hurricane (Belle). Joe threw TD passes to Jerome Barkum and rookie Louie Giammona, the latter putting the Green & White up late, 14-10, before George Hunt's field goal won it.
3. Aug. 12, 1978 — Jets 27, Giants 23, Meadowlands Stadium
Our first fourth-quarter come-from-behind win in the series. Pat Leahy's field goal and Richard Todd's 18-yard pass to Wesley Walker with 1:24 to go pulled it out.
4. Aug. 30, 1980 — Jets 32, Giants 7, Meadowlands Stadium
Todd fired four scoring strikes, beginning with a 90-yarder to first-round WR Johnny "Lam" Jones, 7:28 in, and following with a pair of second-quarter connections with RB Bruce Harper.
5. Aug. 29, 1987 — Jets 30, Giants 23, Meadowlands Stadium
One of the most well-attended games in the rivalry (75,841 turnstile) in which the Green & White overcame a 16-3 second-period deficit with 24 unanswered midgame points to snap a five-game losing streak in the series.
6. Aug. 22, 1992 — Jets 20, Giants 14, Meadowlands Stadium
It was our first home game in this stadium in the rivalry and we celebrated by opening a 20-0 lead through three quarters, with touchdowns from Brad Baxter and Terance Mathis.
7. Aug. 19, 1995 — Giants 32, Jets 31, Meadowlands Stadium
Three fourth-quarter lead changes. Next-to-last was Adrian Murrell's TD run with 44 seconds to go for a 31-24 Jets lead. Last was Kent Graham-to-Omar Douglas for 80 yards plus a Keith Elias two-point run with 22 seconds left.
8. Aug. 16, 1997 — Jets 27, Giants 17, Meadowlands Stadium
Bill Parcells' first Jets-Giants game from the green sideline. Glenn Foley to Dedric Ward for 40 yards and two John Hall field goals led our fourth-quarter comeback from a 17-14 deficit.
9. Aug. 24, 2002 — Jets 28, Giants 7, Meadowlands Stadium
Perhaps signaling the QB change to come in Game 5 of the regular season, Chad Pennington took the reins from Vinny Testaverde and threw two second-half TD passes for a 28-0 lead — the Green & White's largest lead in the entire series.
10. Aug. 16, 2010 — Giants 31, Jets 16, New Meadowlands Stadium
This was the first football game to be played in the teams' new home, on Monday night at the end of the first full week of the preseason. The Jets held a 16-14 lead until late in the third quarter, when then-rookie Giants WR Victor Cruz first went off for the first of his three touchdown catches.
11. Aug. 24, 2013 — Jets 24, Giants 21 (OT), MetLife Stadium
Last year's rematch was only the second of the series to go into overtime. Former Jets preseason K Josh Brown sent it to the fifth quarter with his field goal with 37 seconds left in regulation, then Billy Cundiff won it from 32 yards out 8:04 into OT. MetLife Bowl standings: Jets 2, Giants 1.
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