To celebrate Easter Sunday, Jet X looks back on the finest eggs on the scoreboard in recent New York Jets history.
Unlike the backyards across the world on Easter Sunday, the modern NFL, one that worships offense, is a rare place to find Easter eggs. They’re most common on the scoreboard, but today’s eggs are more commonly preceded by a numeral in front of them, as scoring is at an all-time high. Last season, for example, saw only three shutouts across the league.
The New York Jets, however, have earned their share of eggs on defense throughout their history, enough to fill a basket of their own. In celebration of egg rolls across the world, Jet X looks back at the dozen shutouts in the Jets’ favor.
12/1/63: KC Masterpiece
- Jets 17, Chiefs 0
The future original AFL Super Bowl winners were far from championship form in 1963, but the Jets made Christy Mathewson proud with a 17-0 win over Kansas City at the Polo Grounds. Dainard Paulson had two interceptions for the Jets, one each from Len Dawson and Eddie Wilson. Don Maynard and Bill Mathis handled the scoring with a touchdown each through the air and ground respectively.
11/14/76: Lou York Groove
- Jets 34, Buccaneers 0
The Lou Holtz era was a nightmare for the Jets, but at least they won games—three, to be precise. Their final in Holtz’s shortened tenure came through adding misery to Tampa Bay’s infamous inaugural season, crushing them at Shea Stadium. Clark Gaines and Steve Davis (combined 179 rushing yards) had a score each while Lou Piccone took a punt back 60 yards for a score.
Three Tampa quarterbacks, including starter Steve Spurrier (who would succeed Holtz as the head coach at South Carolina in 2005), were sacked four times by Jets defenders. Holtz would last three more weeks as the Jets’ boss before resigning to take the top job at Arkansas.
11/29/81: Revenge Served Colt
- Jets 25, Colts 0
The Jets were just over three minutes away from securing the first (and what would’ve been, to date, the only) shutout in Super Bowl history during their legendary triumph over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl 3. It was more than likely long forgotten by the time they met in 1981, but the Jets nonetheless took delayed revenge in a dominant effort over the one-win Colts en route to a playoff appearance.
Freeman McNeil and Pat Leahy accounted for all scoring, with the former running it in twice. The defense limited Baltimore to 152 yards and 11 first downs, sacking Bert Jones five times.
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11/21/82: Deja Blue All Over Again
- Jets 37, Colts 0
Tom Seaver himself would probably struggle to earn the mastery the Jets had over Baltimore at Shea Stadium in the early 1980s. The woebegone Colts endured a winless season during the strike-shortened 1982 campaign (0-8-1). That included consecutive shutouts, including this one in Queens (the latter came in Buffalo the following weekend).
McNeil (155 total yards, two total touchdowns) and Leahy (13 total points) again too center stage, but they had some scoring assistance this time around. Mike Augustyniak punched it in from a yard out while Lam Jones caught a 32-yard score from Richard Todd.
11/28/93: Patriot Rains
- Jets 6, Patriots 0
The idea of the Jets shutting out the Patriots seems like a pipe dream today, but it was nonetheless the site of Gang Green’s first road shutout. New York got by through two short Cary Blanchard field goals, while Scott Sisson missed two on the New England side, booted amidst strong winds and rains. Of note on defense: Brian Washington stole an interception from a rookie Drew Bledsoe.
12/11/93: Capitol Defense
- Jets 3, Redskins 0
Two weeks after the defensive clinic in Foxboro, the Jets duplicated the shutout feat in the nation’s capital, once again relying only on Blanchard for scoring through a 45-yarder in the first quarter. Dealing with winds that reached 20 miles an hour, the Jets limited a Washington team just two years removed from a Super Bowl title to only 150 yards and seven first downs.
12/14/97: Tampa Bay Frightening
- Jets 31, Buccaneers 0
Between these shutouts, the Wayne Chrebet-Keyshawn Johnson showdown, and Geno Smith’s first win, the Jets and Buccaneers (who meet later this year) have quite the history. Their cold showdown in the penultimate week of the 1997-98 season was vital, as each sat on the cusp of playoff contention.
The Jets, looking to make a statement in Bill Parcells’ first year at the helm, did so in a 31-0 shellacking earned through only 234 yards of offense. Otis Smith broke the game open by taking back two Trent Dilfer interceptions for scores while Leon Johnson opened the second half on a 101-yard kickoff tally.
While Tampa Bay nonetheless reached the playoffs, the Jets missed out when they fell the following week in Detroit, whom Tampa Bay would top in the NFC Wild Card playoffs.
11/18/01: Miami Thrice
- Jets 24, Dolphins 0
The fledgling New England dynasty eventually made it null and void, but the Jets and Dolphins met for a November meeting that served as a battle for first place in the AFC East. New York tallied three passing scores, but Vinny Testaverde threw only one touchdown pass (a 17-yarder to Laveranues Coles).
Aaron Glenn and Victor Green each took back interceptions for scores, while Damien Robinson victimized Jay Fiedler a third time. It was part of a five-takeaway afternoon for the Jets defense, as Green and Ray Mickens each forced fumbles.
1/4/03: Brickyard 41
- Jets 41, Colts 0
The Jets’ lone postseason shutout happens to be their most recent playoff victory earned in East Rutherford. Shutting down an offense headlined by Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, and Marvin Harrison, the Jets crushed their former division rivals in the opening tilt of the 2002-03 playoffs.
Chad Pennington threw three touchdown passes, but it was the running backs who took center stage. Fullback Richie Anderson tallied the first score from Pennington, while LaMont Jordan (102 yards) visited the end zone twice. Robinson and James Darling each stole interceptions from Manning in the dominant victory.
12/14/03: Mr. Plow
- Jets 6, Steelers 0
In what could be seen as cruel, ironic foreshadowing, Doug Brien accumulated all of the Jets’ points in a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The kicker put up all of the Jets’ points through two field goals in their final win of the 2003 season.
Despite snowy conditions at Giants Stadium, Curtis Martin tallied 174 yards on the ground, his third-best tally in a Jets uniform.
- Jets 38, Raiders 0
Better known as the Mark Sanchez hot dog game, the Jets demolished the Raiders on the road. Sanchez earned his in-game snack with two scores (one to David Clowney, the other being a three-yard rush), but Calvin Pace took center stage with three sacks and two forced fumbles.
Extra mustard was provided through the rushing tandem of Shonn Greene and Thomas Jones, who united for 265 yards and three touchdowns.
1/3/10: Orange Crushed
- Jets 37, Bengals 0
In their most recent shutout, the Jets saved the best for literally last: their blowout win over Cincinnati not only came in Week 17 but also in the final football game at Giants Stadium. With wind chills dropping the game-day feeling to four degrees, the Jets clinched a playoff spot through a dominant effort, as the Bengals tallied only 72 yards.
All of those tallies came through the ground, as the Jets allowed zero net yards passing. Thomas Jones, Jerricho Cotchery, and Brad Smith each tallied rushing scores for New York, who enjoyed three takeaways from the defense as well. While many tried to downplay the blowout by mentioning that the Jets bullied the Bengals’ backups, they proved the destruction was no fluke almost immediately after.
Six days later, the Jets won 24-14 in the AFC wild card round in Cincinnati.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags