The Giants were defeated 37-14 by the New York Jets in front of 70,874 people at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut, during the 1969 preseason. As the game progressed, it became clear that neither team could match the physical strength of their opponent - the Jets used a strong defensive line and linebacker corps featuring Joe Klecko and Pete Mitchell to stuff the run and pressure the quarterback, while the Giants relied on the aerial attack led by Phil Simms and Jeff Hostetler.
This was the first meeting between these two teams. The Giants had won the pre-Super Bowl NFL Championship games in 1951 and 1952 but lost the final three games of the 1953 season to finish second to the Detroit Lions. The Jets joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1959 and have been consistently competitive ever since. They currently hold the sixth most wins in NFL history with 2106 victories over 21 seasons. This victory gave New York its first ever win over Chicago in any football game and also marked the only time the Giants have beaten the Jets in New York.
Simms started at quarterback for the Giants and completed 9 of 16 passes for 114 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Jim O'Brien, who had been the starter before Simms came into the game, left the game after taking a hard hit from Jets defensive end Ted Hendricks and did not return.
The first regular-season encounter between the two teams occurred in 1970, during the first full post-merger season, when the Giants defeated the Jets 22-10 at Shea Stadium. The game was notable for being one of only three games that year where either team scored more than 10 points.
The next year saw both teams enter the new World Football League (WFL). The Jets finished with a 7-5 record and made it to the league championship before losing to the Los Angeles Express 16-14 on wire service photos. The Giants also had a 7-5 record but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Miami Dolphins. This was the only postseason appearance by either team in WFL history until 2017 when they made it to the championship game of the NFL Europe Bowl.
In their first meeting after merging back into one organization, the Jets defeated the Giants 26-21 at Hofstra University. The victory gave head coach Walt Kowalski his first win as a Jet. He would go on to lead them to the AFC title game that year before getting fired. The Giants ended up finishing last with a 2-11 record.
Two years later, in 1972, the Jets returned to the playoffs as a wild card team. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-17 in the first round at Shea Stadium.
The naming of the stadium has influenced the rivalry, with the Giants overshadowing the Jets. Because the Giants and Jets had been based in nearby New Jersey since 1984, the change meant that neither team played in its home city. In 1988, the Jets faced the Giants in the last game of the regular season. The winner would claim the final playoff spot, but both teams were already assured of at least a share of the division title.
In addition to sharing a state and division, the two teams also shared many players during their years as neighbors. The Giants drafted twice as many players from New Jersey as they did from any other state. These players included Mark Bavaro, Kevin Dyson, Michael Strahan, Tony Boselli, Carl Banks, Ron Dixon, Matt Snell, Reggie White, Carl Banks, and Jim Leonard.
During this time, the Giants dominated the rivalry, winning 13 games to 3 for the Jets. However, after the move to New York, the balance began to shift in favor of the Jets, who have won 10 games while allowing just three touchdowns over the past two seasons. They will face off against each other again in 2014 when New York plays host to the first game of what is expected to be a doubleheader with the New England Patriots following the opening of MetLife Stadium.
New York has always had an affinity for playing in front of large crowds, and this new stadium was built with that fact in mind.