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Jets’ matchup with Giants a reminder of how quickly things change

The last time the Jets and Giants met in the regular season was just four years ago.

That Nov. 10, 2019, meeting at MetLife Stadium does not seem that long ago until you actually look at the game and remember Jets fans left that 34-27 victory convinced they had a dynamic duo to build around with Jamal Adams on defense and Sam Darnold on offense.

Adams was the star of the game, making a leaping stop of Daniel Jones on a fourth-down sneak and later stripping Jones of the ball and returning it for a touchdown. Darnold threw a touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder and had no turnovers.

This feels like four lifetimes ago for Jets fans and a reminder of how long four years can be. In 2019, you had no idea what a Zoom call was, Taylor Swift was not a regular at NFL games and if someone said “tush push,” you would have called human resources.

Our two local teams generally play every four years, so the turnover between meetings is a good indication of how much the franchises have struggled.

The only starter on either offense or defense for the Jets in that 2019 game who is still on the team is Quinnen Williams. For the Giants, Jones, Saquon Barkley, Darius Slayton, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams remain.

Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets and Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants pose for a photo.
Paul J. Bereswill

Williams had a sack for the Jets against the Giants in 2015 and then was traded to the Giants just weeks before the 2019 game. Williams was one of many first-round picks the Jets ended up giving up on.

Adams followed Williams out the door in the summer of 2020 when the Jets traded him to Seattle. It is overstating it to say it would have been unthinkable after that 2019 game to see Adams traded. There had been trade talks at the 2019 deadline and Adams was vocal about his unhappiness with those talks, but it felt like the Jets would repair that rift, especially after seeing Adams star in that win over the Giants.

Jets defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson and Quinnen Williams (95) react during practice.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

As Jerry Glanville used to say, the NFL stands for “not for long.”

Since Weeb Ewbank’s Jets and Alex Webster’s Giants first met in the regular season in 1970 at Shea Stadium, there has been a parade of coaches and quarterbacks to play in this rivalry.

You have to go back to 1988 to find the last time both teams had the same coach and quarterback for two meetings. In 1987 and ’88, the teams played back-to-back with Bill Parcells and Phil Simms leading the Giants and Joe Walton and Ken O’Brien leading the Jets.

This meeting every four years is a good examination of franchise stability. Walton is actually the last Jets coach to face the Giants twice. Bruce Coslet, Rich Kotite, Parcells, Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini, Rex Ryan, Todd Bowles and Adam Gase each only played the Giants once. Chad Pennington is the last Jets quarterback to play the Giants twice.

The Giants, of course, have had more stability than their stadium co-tenants. Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning played the Jets three times. The last time was in 2015, near the end of Coughlin’s time with the Giants. Jim Fassel and Kerry Collins faced the Jets twice.

So, Jets and Giants fans hoping for franchise stability now and thrilled with their coaches and young cores may be dreaming. Will Robert Saleh and Brian Daboll still be leading the local teams in 2027, when these teams are scheduled to next play after Sunday? Are Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall and Quinnen Williams the young stars who can last with the Jets? Will Dexter Lawrence, Andrew Thomas, Deonte Banks and Kayvon Thibodeaux be the guys Joe Schoen can build a winner around?

Things can change quickly around here. All you have to do is take a look at the history of these Giants-Jets matchups.