It was 10 years ago when the New York Jets were heading into the 2003 season with Super Bowl contention expectations. They were coming off a season in which they lost to the eventual AFC Champion Oakland Raiders in the AFC Divisional Round of the 2002 NFL Playoffs.
Quarterback Chad Pennington had proven that he would be the franchise quarterback for the Jets going forward, signaling an end to quarterback Vinny Testaverde‘s days as a starter.
However, it was one play late in the second quarter that shattered the hopes and dreams of Jets’ fans. Pennington’s dislocated wrist in a preseason game against the New York Giants ruined the 2003 season for the Jets, one that ended in a 6-10 record.
Furthermore, Pennington was never really the same after the wrist injury. He would suffer shoulder ailments later in his career, and Pennington never turned out to be the guy the Jets hoped for when they made him the starting quarterback.
It was five years ago when the Giants were coming off of a thrilling Super Bowl XLII victory, winning their first championship in 17 years. Still, the Giants didn’t head into the 2008 season with championship expectations. The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East division in the 2007 season with an NFC best 13-3 record. It was still thought that the Cowboys were better than the Giants.
The Giants were on a mission to prove their championship wasn’t a fluke. However, in a preseason game against the rival Jets, defensive end Osi Umenyiora suffered what would be confirmed as a torn lateral meniscus, ending his 2008 campaign. It was thought that the absence of Umenyiora would be a devastating blow to the Giants.
Defensive end Michael Strahan retired after the championship, so Umenyiora and defensive end Justin Tuck were going to take over as the primary pass rushers. Umenyiora’s injury was a blow. However, it didn’t affect the Giants as they performed even better en route to a 12-4 record, which was good for first in the NFC.
The Giants did lose to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs, ending their title defense.
Now fast forward to 2013, and the preseason rivalry of the Jets and Giants has now seen yet another devastating season-ending injury. Safety Stevie Brown intercepted a pass from rookie quarterback Geno Smith. As Brown was making a cut and changing direction, he tore the ACL in his left knee, ending his season. It is not known how this injury will affect the Giants, but it is a devastating blow to their defense.
Brown intercepted eight passes last season, which tied for the league lead. The Giants were high on him coming into this season. His absence can probably reveal another rising star. Brown was unknown last season before safety Kenny Phillips hurt his knee early in the season. Brown was pressed into duty and flourished. Can the Giants find unexpected production from his replacement? It remains to be seen.
One thing is clear: this rivalry between the MetLife Stadium hosts has produced some devastating results.