Wayne Chrebet rewatches and remembers the Monday Night Miracle, a New York Jets’ 40-37 overtime win over the Miami Dolphins in 2000.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger calls your name out while everybody else is thinking about leaving the building, you have to suspect something funny is on the horizon.
The action star appropriately took a look into the future when visiting the Monday Night Football booth on Oct. 23, 2000, witnessing the New York Jets‘ prime time meeting with the Miami Dolphins. With the Jets down by multiple possessions at halftime, Schwarzenegger believed that Wayne Chrebet would come up huge before the night was over.
“Wayne Chrebet is going to pull it off. I think, as usual, the Jets are going to come from behind, you will see. (Chrebet) is going to give some serious trouble now,” the future Governor of California and self-proclaimed Jets fan told Al Michaels, Dennis Miller, and Dan Fouts in the ABC booth. Channeling his most famous movie role, Schwarzenegger declared that the Dolphins “had to be terminated.”
To this date, perhaps no Terminator sequel (post-Judgement Day) has topped what Schwarzenegger’s prophecy did to the Dolphins. Chrebet would play a major role in what became the “Monday Night Miracle,” as the Jets erased a 30-7 fourth-quarter deficit en route to a 40-37 overtime victory.
That epic evening was the subject of the third episode of the “Underdog Jets Podcast“, co-hosted by Chrebet and Jets X-Factor editor Robby Sabo. The episode featured a “watch-along,” as the receiver and founder looked back on that historic October evening. Chrebet could only laugh when Schwarzenegger made its prophecy.
“I didn’t know (about it) that night, but I heard the next day about it and made sure I got the clip of it. It was great,” Chrebet said. “He mispronounced my name, but it’s hysterical. He’s in there, predicting I’m going to come back. He said the dolphins need to be terminated, that’s classic, classic stuff. This guy’s a megastar … he knows my name, or who I am, so [it] definitely makes the night even more fitting that Arnold’s out there.”
Chrebet scored the Jets’ only touchdown in the original deficit, a 10-yard grab from Vinny Testaverde in the late stages of the first half after Miami the first 20 points. Miami nonetheless built their lead back up 23 in the battle of AFC East leaders. Both teams entered with 5-1 records and the winner would have sole possession of first place by the end of the night.
Despite Miami’s onslaught, Chrebet did what he could to help the Jets get back in the game. His 104 yards became tied for the second-best career tally against Miami and it was the only time in his 11-year career that he scored multiple touchdowns against the Dolphins.
The latter score temporarily completed the Jets’ comeback, as he helped tie the game at 30 apiece on a 24-yard toss from Testaverde. Alas, it was a tie that lasted a mere 22 seconds, as the Dolphins struck back with a 46-yard hook-up between Jay Fiedler and Leslie Shepherd shifted the lead back to South Beach. Overtime, however, was made necessary when Testaverde found Jumbo Elliott on a three-yard tackle-eligible play.
“He’s got some Hamburger Helper gloves on,” Chrebet notes with a laugh as he rewatches Elliott’s catch, which was reviewed by the replay booth. “We ran it in practice too. I’m not sure if we were very successful in your practice, but that’s a tremendous call. … He was one of the toughest, most massive guys I ever played with. He was a tremendous left tackle.”
Miami won the coin toss to get the ball first in the extra session, but Marcus Coleman came up big for the Jets, indirectly setting the stage for Chrebet to have one more big moment through an interception in Jets territory. Faced with a third down on the ensuing possession, Chrebet did what he did best: earned a reception that became a first down.
Working against Jerry Wilson, Chrebet overcomes some hand play from the defender and earns the reception from Testaverde before breaking loose for about 20 extra yards before he’s tackled from behind by Zach Thomas. With Chrebet’s 28-yard gain putting the Jets in Miami territory, John Hall would kick a 40-yard field goal to win it three players later.
“I’m cramping up at this point. … If I wasn’t cramped, I probably could have got further but at that point, you know, we got into a field goal position off of that play,” Chrebet said. Hall’s triple ended what he and his early aughts teammates agreed was one of the top three contests they ever partook in.
“We’re over the hill now all we can do is reminisce about when we were good and young and stuff like that,” Chrebet says. “So that’s what we talk about. We talked about the Monday night miracle.”
For more on the Underdog Jets podcast, click here.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags