Monday Night Miracle (American football)
The Monday Night Miracle was an NFL Monday night game between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins played at Giants Stadium on October 23, 2000. The Jets scored 30 points in the fourth quarter, twice tying the score, and sending the game into overtime, where they defeated the Dolphins, 40–37.
Like their 1994 showdown at Giants Stadium which was made famous by Dan Marino's "fake spike", this game was for first place in the AFC East as both teams entered the game with identical 5–1 records. But unlike the 1994 game which featured the Jets failing to hold a double-digit (18) lead in the second half, it was the Dolphins who failed to hold the lead.
The game is notable for having the second largest fourth-quarter comeback in NFL history and the largest comeback in Jets history. It was also voted the greatest game televised on ABC's Monday Night Football, along with being #5 on NFL Top Ten's Top Ten Comebacks.
At the end of the third quarter with the score 30–7 in Miami's favor, Jets broadcaster Howard David announced, "And with a whole quarter to go, this game is over."
The Jets proceeded to stage a furious rally in the fourth quarter, scoring 23 unanswered points to tie the game at 30. They scored three touchdowns and a field goal, but a two-point conversion attempt to Curtis Martin was stopped. On the Dolphins' first play from scrimmage after the game was tied, they took the lead on a long touchdown pass by Jay Fiedler to Leslie Shepherd. However, the Jets still managed to drive downfield and tie the game. One of the key plays was a 4th down catch at the Dolphins 2-yard line by Richie Anderson as he caught the ball despite a head-on hit by Zach Thomas and Dolphins defensive back Jerry Wilson. Improbably, the tying touchdown was caught by offensive tackle Jumbo Elliott, playing as a tackle-eligible. After Elliott caught the touchdown pass, Dennis Miller remarked how opposing defenses, "couldn't keep him down forever." In the overtime Fiedler was intercepted by Marcus Coleman but Coleman was hit by Thurman Thomas and fumbled the ball back to the Dolphins. Several plays later, Coleman intercepted Fiedler again and this time held on. An eventual Vinny Testaverde pass to Wayne Chrebet put the Jets in field goal range, and a pass that was nearly intercepted by Brock Marion hit the ground first, nullifying the turnover. Jets kicker John Hall then won the game with a field goal with 8:13 remaining in the extra session.
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, while visiting the ABC broadcast booth, said after halftime,
|“||Wayne Chrebet is going to pull it off. I think as usual the Jets are going to come from behind, you will see... I think the Dolphins have to be terminated.||”|
Chrebet would catch a pass in the fourth quarter for a touchdown to tie the game at 30–30, and the Jets would go on to complete the historic comeback.
The Monday night game for the Jets was in between Games 2 and 3 of the All New York (Yankees vs. Mets) 2000 World Series. The series overshadowed the game. In fact, the crowd broke out into "Lets Go Yankees" chants countered by "Lets Go Mets" chants during the third quarter.
- 1st Quarter
- 2nd Quarter
- 3rd Quarter
- MIA – L. Smith 3-yard run (Mare kick), 30–7 MIA
- 4th Quarter
- NYJ – Coles 30-yard pass from Testaverde (2pt conversion failed), 30–13 MIA
- NYJ – Wiggins 1-yard pass from Testaverde (Hall kick), 30–20 MIA
- NYJ – FG Hall 34-yards, 30–23 MIA
- NYJ – Chrebet 24-yard pass from Testaverde (Hall kick), 30–30 Tie
- MIA – Shepherd 46-yard pass from Fiedler (Mare kick), 37–30 MIA
- NYJ – Elliott 3-yard pass from Testaverde (Hall kick), 37–37 Tie
The Jets made 20 first downs in the 4th quarter, as opposed to the Dolphins, who only managed one (the Leslie Shepherd touchdown). Three of Testaverde's four 4th-quarter touchdown passes went to players who had never scored an NFL touchdown (Coles, Wiggins, Elliott). The 2-point conversion attempt (a pass to Curtis Martin stopped by Zach Thomas at the Dolphins 1-yard line) ironically made overtime possible, as a point-after kick may have resulted in a 38–37 regulation win (the attempt was criticized by Boomer Esiason on the Westwood One broadcast, who accused the Jets of "chasing ghosts").
- October 23, 2000 Miami Dolphins at New York Jets Boxscore from Pro Football Reference
- Diegnan, Mike (2002-12-04). "MNF's Greatest Games: Miami-New York Jets 2000". ABC Sports Online. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- "Top 10 greatest comebacks in NFL history". National Football League. 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
- Battista, Judy (October 24, 2000). "The Jets Are the Last Team Standing". The New York Times. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
- NFL Films Monday Night Miracle, Part 1
- NFL Films Monday Night Miracle, Part 2