‘There was no blunder!’ — An oral history of the


Seven years ago, the New England Patriots and New York Jets played an overtime classic that inspired tears of joy and a bizarre controversy. The tears dried quickly, but the controversy lived on.

The Jets, kicked around by their AFC East rival for 15 years, celebrated their 26-20 win over the reigning Super Bowl champions in a raucous and emotional home locker room. The victory, punctuated by Eric Decker’s Lambeau-style leap after his game-winning touchdown catch, put the Jets on the verge of their first playoff berth since 2010.

In the moment, it was a breakthrough for the franchise and first-year coach Todd Bowles. Reflecting on Dec. 27, 2015, cornerback Darrelle Revis said, “That was the stamp that said, ‘We’re here in this AFC conference, we’re not going to be pushovers, we’re ready to compete and contend.'”

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall called it “the greatest feeling I ever had playing ball,” saying he got choked up amid the euphoria. He wasn’t alone.

“You had defensive guys hugging offensive guys,” he recalled. “I was hugging one of our linebacker coaches. He had tears in his eyes, I had tears in my eyes.”

The great irony is they were helped by former Jets assistant and longtime tormentor Bill Belichick (36-11 versus Jets as Patriots head coach), who made one of the worst tactical decisions of his illustrious coaching career. The Patriots won the coin toss to start overtime but elected to kick off to the Jets, who scored on the first possession to end it.

Belichick’s strategy was so unconventional…

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